Tristan restaurant: revamped and re-opened (updated with photos)

Tristan's new dining area

Update August 30:

I was lucky enough to be invited to experience the restaurant late last week and brought back some photographs from my outstanding meal. The service, the atmosphere, and above all else, the food was above and beyond my expectations.

The photographs above show the standouts during the meal which included the marinated heirloom tomatoes with a la minute mozzarella, basil vinegar, tomato oil, tiny croutons, the beef tartare seasoned with spicy thai aioli, capers, pickled garlic, sweet corn and haricot vert succotash, chimichurri sauce and lastly, Canadian duck breast with baked peach, brittle bread, foie gras-almond salad, lavender honey vinaigrette.

First reporting:

Tristan has officially re-opened its doors with a refreshed look, updated menu and overall lighter, contemporary atmosphere.

Tristan's re-launch stems from the restaurant’s decision to provide locals with a different option for fine dining in Charleston — one that offers a modern setting and unexpected culinary surprises in a city largely known for its historic ambiance and traditional southern feel.

“We wanted to give Charleston foodies a new way to experience this city’s fabulous culinary scene, and felt that providing them with a contemporary atmosphere in the midst of historic downtown would be a great way to offer that,” said General Manager Steven Harris.

The restaurant’s current features and décor, which includes lighter tones and an open setting, reflect its new branding as a fine dining experience that’s simple, modern and unexpected.

Tristan worked with local agency LaBarge + Partners to create the positioning, which was inspired largely by Chef Nate Whiting’s ability to put unusual twists on traditional ingredients.

“Simple purity is what I’m all about,” Whiting said. “I like to surprise with different flavor combinations you might not expect, but there’s always one star of the show and maybe three or four other ingredients to enhance the flavor. Take our Lowcountry Carbonara: the star is quail that I get from South Carolina, which is paired with Tennessee bacon and Sumter quail eggs that I combine in an Italian dish with a Southern twist.”

Whiting began to gradually transform the brunch and dinner menus after taking over the kitchen in the fall of 2009. Both now consist entirely of his signature dishes, including creations such as the 64° egg with chimichurri broth, raw and roasted beets with pistachio pistou and a poached shrimp “cocktail” of spicy Kanzuri paste and house-made hummus.

Also new to the restaurant is an enhanced loyalty rewards program, a redesigned website and plans for a series of special events for locals beginning later this year.

Follow Tristan on Twitter and Facebook.

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