My wife and I had heard some positive remarks from friends who had dined at The Lantern, so we opted for a visit on a Friday night.
This is a small venue, appended to the Charleston Inn, so reservations are a good idea. Parking was a problem, unless there was another option aside from the lot to the right of the B&B, but we did squeeze into the one remaining spot.
With options of indoor vs. outdoor seating, we decided to dine indoors...we were promptly seated by a woman whom we presume was one of the owners, menus, water, and two small pieces of fresh banana bread provided promptly.
Our waitress, unfortunately, seemed a bit overwhelmed. After my wife placed her order for the house Pinot Grigio (Ca'donini, $7), after approximately ten minutes the owner came over again to our table and asked if our drink and meal orders had been taken...which they had not. Shortly thereafter, the wine did appear, as did the waitress who took our order.
My wife and I both love Charleston She-Crab soup, I chose the bowl ($10), my wife the smaller cup ($6), it ranked up there with the best versions we had ever had...thick with crab meat, nice and spicy.
A gentleman who is presumably one of the owners asked if we wanted bread with the soup, by the time it was delivered to the table, we were already well finished with the soup. However, the small pieces of grilled garlic focaccio bread were good once they arrived.
For the main course, my wife chose the Crab Cake, served with mild grits and a mixed vegetable medley ($18), was more than enough for one person, and she truly enjoyed it. I ordered the Shrimp Etoufee ($16), a major taste bud stimulus, was fabulous.
Water is provided in bottles, two problems here being the facts that the table water glasses are barely larger than shot glasses...and being Americans, on a warm night, we had to request ice. The ice was delivered in a separate glass. When later during the meal we asked our waitress for additional ice, her body language made it clear that the request was a major imposition, but that she would bring it...which she never did. Again, eventually one of the owners passed by, we again requested ice, and it arrived.
The indoor dining area is a nice room, but it is noisy...and the tables are placed quite close to one another. The tables are large, so with my wife directly across from me, we had some difficulty communicating, but we made do.
The desserts are probably good, but we were out of room...we nevertheless asked what sort of options were available, they included a coconut cake (which the waitress said was terrific), a cheesecake, a chocolate tart, among others. Next time, guess we will skip the appetizer so we can try out the desserts.
Bottom line, this restaurant is a great addition to the options available in Hendersonville for nice evening dining, great food, very reasonable prices, would have given it five stars had the service been better. We have every reason to believe our future visits WILL be at five star level!
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