Olivia255

Charleston, SC

138 posts in this topic

Where to eat?  Any ideas?

82 Queen

Anson

Drinks on the roof of The Library

Charleston in August. Don't forget your towel.

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I go to Charleston at least once a year and was there last month.

I agree with the Anson's recommendation above. I would add the Hominy Grill for breakfast or lunch. Also, Magnolia's for dinner.

Another great rooftop bar is at the Meeting Street Inn. It has great views of the city.

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Best wine bar city in America. Pretty much any place that mentions "wine" in the name has an eclectic selection, decent prices, and pretty good stems.

(Disclosure: the wines I import are featured in several of said bars).

Edit: to clarify.

Edited by jparrott

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As it happens, we're in the vicinity right now (Isle of Palms). Had a really great dinner the other night at McCrady's downtown. Great value tasting menu at $65 and an excellent wine list. Definitely try the frog leg risotto.

Charleston Grill also comes highly recommended at the higher end. For more casual stuff, we enjoyed Jack's Cosmic Dogs in Mount Pleasant and Hyman's on Meeting St. for seafood. Up Hwy. 17, Gullah Cuisine is supposed to have the best dirty rice anywhere. Sticky Fingers and Melvin's are both OK for BBQ if you get the craving. And yes, it is f*cking steamy down here right now.

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The Palmetto Grill, also in the Omni Hotel was theeee best she crab soup eva! I tried about 4 different places too! We also went to Shem creek, to the Shem Creek bar and grill. Good shreeeump theya.

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Magnolia's, as mentioned earlier, is another one that I've been to once and enjoyed. I recall having a bottle of MacRostie Chardonnay there which I liked and have bought around here from time to time.

From the current issue of Budget Travel magazine as mentioned in another thread: Suggestions from Frank Stitt, author/chef/owner of a few restaurants in the SE.

"An out of the way place for an oyster roast in the winter is Bowens Island, on James Island, outside of town. It's a cinder block shack overlooking the water on a bend in the river on the way to Folley Beach. They'll roast the oysterd, then shovel them onto these big wooden tables. If you're at all cool you know to bring your own oyster knife. 1870 Bowens Island Rd. 843-795-2757. In Mount Pleasant, on Shem Creek right across the river from Charleston, where the shrimp boats come in, there the Wreck, a hole in the wall. It's a reeeal dive. It's a little big sleazy and a little bit shady, and cheap, but you get shrimp that are right off the boat,either boiled or fried. 106 Haddrell St. 843-884-0052.

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Two can't-miss options: for casual, Hominy Grill; for fancy, McCrady's.

Really, I've only had excellent meals in Charleston, although my dining companion was a little disappointed in his meal at Fleet Landing. (I had a fried green tomato BLT there and wasn't disappointed in the least.)

I've also enjoyed meals at Anson, SNOB (Slightly North of Broad), Charleston Grill, Sermat's Corner, and Blossom.

When we were there in May, our Big Fancy Meals were at Charleston Grill and McCrady's. The food was excellent at both, but CG is more stuffy/French, and McCrady's is more friendly/American. Had some kind of sea bass there with Asian vegetables and it was utterly delicious without being heavy at all.

If you're on foot, Hominy Grill is a little off the beaten path, but at brunch there I had the largest plate of French toast I'd ever seen, with a pecan butter to die for. Dee-lish, and I think it set me back $7.

Jael

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Two can't-miss options: for casual, Hominy Grill; for fancy, McCrady's.

Really, I've only had excellent meals in Charleston, although my dining companion was a little disappointed in his meal at Fleet Landing. (I had a fried green tomato BLT there and wasn't disappointed in the least.)

I've also enjoyed meals at Anson, SNOB (Slightly North of Broad), Charleston Grill, Sermat's Corner, and Blossom.

When we were there in May, our Big Fancy Meals were at Charleston Grill and McCrady's. The food was excellent at both, but CG is more stuffy/French, and McCrady's is more friendly/American. Had some kind of sea bass there with Asian vegetables and it was utterly delicious without being heavy at all.

If you're on foot, Hominy Grill is a little off the beaten path, but at brunch there I had the largest plate of French toast I'd ever seen, with a pecan butter to die for. Dee-lish, and I think it set me back $7.

Jael

I would second the McCrady's recommendation. Here's my report from last November:

I had one terrific and one very good meal in Charleston last month.

McCrady's--On a sleepy Sunday evening in mid November, just off an airplane, I ventured to McCrady's, hoping to check out its wine bar. The wine bar is closed on Sunday evenings, so I ended up eating at the bar in the main restaurant. The octopus salad ($12) was terrific, prepared with marinated mushrooms, fennel and a truffle vinagrette. I washed it down a glass of Steele Pinot Blanc 2002 ($10.75). I also had the Rack of Lamb ($34), herb marinated, with roast potatoes, cippolini onions, asparagus, and thyme jus. Lean, delicious, perfect. I enjoyed a glass of the Cotes du Rhone-Villages, Jaboulet 2001 ($9.50) with it. I was also offered a taste of the Judson Valley Foie Gras while there. Fantastic. The bartender also was nice enough to turn on the lights and let me see the wine bar side. She said that sometime this month they would be redecorating it.

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I am going for the first time next month but based on research on eG and elsewhere I recommended Slightly North of Braod and McCready's to my boss earlier this year and he can't stop raving about the restaurants and my ability to find restaurants good restaurants anywhere.

We have reservations for McCready's and Peninsula Grill for our two dinners in September.

We are also going to be spending two nights at the Sactuary at Kiawah Island. Does any one have any experience there?

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McCrady's is yummy. And there list was awesome way before they bought a bunch of our stuff. The sommelier/GM gets it something fierce.

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Well, my trip was indeed steamy, but we visited Charleston Grill where my friend, Andrea bartends. She had the "quintet" of chocolate for dessert, but only after a glorified crabcake, tuna tartare, and yellow tomato gazpacho. All delicious. We hit Penninsula Inn as well - had DELISHLISHLISHous beef tartare and oyster stew. We then hit Cyprus (owned by same people as Blossom and Magnolia) for duck gumbo. Yummmmm. We also visited Red Drum in Mount Pleasant where my other friend and Andrea's fiance, John works. Delicous Ceviche. I will say, the dining was outstanding. I would add to the "do not miss" list - Poe's on Sullivan's Island for burgers and beers. An excellent after-beach stop!

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Just one lunch in Charleston tomorrow! Where to go??? Help! I've been to Hominy Grill and Charleston Grille so I wanna try something new. Thanks!

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I had a great dinner at Magnolia's last week, if you're looking for something Southern / Low-Country. And I regret not having the chance to have dinner at McCrady's.

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As a matter of fact, I forgot to post this when I returned from the trip.

Warning - this post does contain some criticism.

I just returned from my too short trip to Charleston and had some awfully good food, with one strange element. We started with reservations at Peninsula Grill and McCrady's but ended up swapping McCrady's for Magnolia's, after deciding that Peninsula and McCrady's together might be a little too "haute".

The food and room at Peninsula were great - it's been a few days and my memory is failing me, but everything we had was as excellent as I had expected. And the food at Magnolias - luscious shellfish and grits, one of the best fried chicken dinners I've ever had - is everything I fantasized that low-country cooking would be about.

But aside from the food, a memory that lingers from both is the fact that we were in and out in 90 minutes at both places. And we had appetizers, entrees and desserts at both with an extra course thrown in at Magnolia's. At both Peninsula, where the waiters were doing their best not to run through the dining room, and Magnolia's where the waiter with our entrees was standing behind the person clearing our appetizer plates we felt rushed, like they were trying to turn tables for restaurant week.

I don't want this to sound like a rant, because it isn't. The food at both was everything we'd hoped it would be and even the service was pleasant and efficient. But we tourists come for leisure and at places like this, our dinner is often our entertainment for the night. We don't come to Charleston for New York pre-theater service.

Beyond that - we did go to Jestine's for a properly leisurely lunch. The sweet tea, Mac and Cheese and fried green tomatoes are all out of this world Southern treats, even if the rest of the food was standard diner-grub.

And the surprise of the trip was our dinner at the Ocean Room at the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island. Dinner was part of our package and I was dreading it a little, with its jacket-required formality and expecting played-out country club cooking. But the cooking was more forward thinking than I had expected and, as this was the last night of our trip, the service and pacing was perfect. Although, after two days at this resort that was to be expected. This place did everything right from the second you pull up to the portico to the second you leave. Beautiful, luxurious, thoughtful.

Edited by bilrus

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Just one lunch in Charleston tomorrow! Where to go??? Help! I've been to Hominy Grill and Charleston Grille so I wanna try something new. Thanks!

Schmancy or regular? Nice casual meals can be had at Sermet's (Sermat's?) Corner, on King. For fancier I seem to recall a lovely lunch at Blossom, with a delicious shrimp & grits and their signature Southern egg rolls.

Have a great lunch, and definitely report back!

Jael

[Note: I just consulted with my dining companion and neither of us is sure whether it was Blossom or Magnolia that was the scene of the lovely lunch. Well, you can't go wrong with either.]

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I have to second the fried chicken dinner at Magnolia's. Definitely the sleeper hit of the menu.

Sorry to hear you were a bit rushed during your meals, Bill. My experience at Magnolia's in July was pretty leisurely.

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Ended up going to Jestine's. The fried chicken was dry and severely underseasoned. A friend who lives in Charleston says they've gone downhill. Quite a disappointment : (

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Ended up going to Jestine's.  The fried chicken was dry and severely underseasoned.  A friend who lives in Charleston says they've gone downhill.  Quite a disappointment : (

Sorry about the tip. But then again, my meal was a mixed bag - some very good and some pretty average.

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We were in SC in August and enjoyed Magnolia's in Charleston - very tasty shrimp with tasso gravy and grits. The other place we really enjoyed out by Kiawah was Rosebank Farms Cafe...definitely the best option in the area for mid-range dining. The fried chicken was awesome - boneless breasts that managed to stay very juicy, with a light and crispy crust. They don't take reservations for smaller groups, and filled up pretty quickly.

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I am headed to the Charleston area (specifically Danie's Island) in a couple of weeks. Where can I eat good for cheap?

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I just had a amazing dinner at The Mustard Seed on James Island (they have 2 other locations in the area). We started with a Fried green tomato and crabcake napoleon with a corn chutney on top-- a great mix of flavors and textures. My entree was pork tenderloin encrusted with walnuts with a raspberry cola reduction, served with sweet potatoes and a slaw made with cucumbers, greens, and a vinegar base. I wish I had room for dessert, I know it would have been amazing there. If you are visiting Charleston, definitely stop in for a visit.

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Going to Charleston for my first trip in July. Read the posts and there seems to be some favorites. Any new favorites over the past year?

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Poogan's Porch and Hominy Grill: good food, tons of character

The Library: drinks only, for the view

82 Queen: drinks outside

Carolinas: good service, wine

St. John's Island Cafe for lunch

McCrady's: good food, plenty of locals, albeit this was a couple of years ago. On the same visit to McCrady's, someone shoved rice in my hand to throw in a receiving line at a bride and groom. Then, a second group of USC people asked me back to their house in town for gumbo. People were really nice. And I'm not even southern.

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McCrady's has a new chef--Sean Brock, ex-Capital Grille (not the steak place) in Nashville and a real rising star. All my other praises of the place upthread apply (and they have a nice wine lounge as well). And summer shrimp are in season, so you HAVE to go to The Wreck of the Richard and Charlene in Mount Pleasant.

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Going to Charleston for my first trip in July. Read the posts and there seems to be some favorites. Any new favorites over the past year?

I went in early May and had two great meals at Blossom and Poogan's Porch. Blossom has a nice outdoor patio (it was nice in May, but could be too hot in July) and I had a very good shrimp dish. I also enjoyed their sugar encrusted salmon. Poogan's atmosphere was a bit more staid, but I had what I thought was a very good grouper dish with steamed clams, apple, and i forget what else. There were tons of other places I would have loved to try (SNOB, Magnolia, etc.) but my fiancee and I were both quite happy with the two dinners we had.

Also, it's been said before, but I'll say it again. Hominy Grill for breakfast is a must. It's a little off the beaten path, but we walked there from the market area and it wasn't too bad of a walk.

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McCrady's has a new chef--Sean Brock, ex-Capital Grille (not the steak place) in Nashville and a real rising star. All my other praises of the place upthread apply (and they have a nice wine lounge as well).

If I remember correctly from reading his posts on other sites Brock had been doing some pretty forward type cooking in Nashville. Is he doing that at McCrady's? It doesn't seem like it would fit there.

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Spring dinner menu is here (PDF). It looks like he's ramped up the inventiveness a little from the previous chef, but it's still a good balance between creativity and good ingredients.

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I hit the Peninsula Grill and FIG during my last visit, about 9 months ago, and would recommend both.

Peninsula Grill had an old-school clubby atmosphere, and the service was commensurately formal but not cold or stiff. The cuisine matched the vibe of the room -- killer martinis, large steaks and chops, and lots of chilled shellfish appetizers.

FIG was cozier, with a more adventureous yet still restrained menu. A good DC analogy is Cashion's (whereas the Peninsula Grill is more like the Capital Grille or Palm), with similarly styled adaptations of low-country comfort food.

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Had a great trip to Charleston and wanted to give feedback about where we ended up eating. We ate lunch one day at Magnolia's, which was excellent, and one day at Jim and Nick's (BBQ). One dinner was at McGrady's and one was at Pennisula Grill. McGrady's was a truly excellent experience. While the food at Pennisula Grill was better, the service did not match the prices. Overall, great eats!

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Spent the last several days in South Carolina, first at Kiawah Island and then in Charleston.

Kiawah Island

We stayed at The Sanctuary a truly lovely resort (attended a conference and then stayed a couple of days). Neither my husband nor I are golfers, but we really enjoyed the place. We ate at Jasmine Porch a couple of times. The setting was really beautiful and the servers exuded southern hospitality. The menu looked good (many low country specialties), but we found that the food (almost without exception) was underseasoned. Was this because of an inexperienced chef or a corporate kitchen that is trying to cater to a certain crowd, I don't know. Didn't try the "fine dining" restaurant, The Ocean Room.

Charleston

Read this thread before we headed down and on that basis, made reservations for dinner at Magnolia's and FIG. We heartily recommend Magnolia's. Had a great, leisurely mean with a terrific waiter who gave us the right amount of attention. He seemed to know the menu/ingredients backwards and forwards. Would go there again in a minute. FIG was only okay. Someone on this thread compared it to Cashion's. While the food was fairly good (and way better than Kiawah's Jasmine Porch), I'm just not sure they have their act together. It started with a fairly dim hostess and continued with only adequate servers. If only they were as good and knowledgeable as the serving staff at Cashion's (where whe often let them decide on our dishes). Instead we were taken care of by a couple of servers who could barely recite the specials (though they did mention the prices (always a good thing)). They were both quite pretty and maybe that is why they were hired (lord knows that it wasn't their attentiveness or knowledge of the menu). The jazz trio was quite good and the space very attractive - industrial retro, very different from anything else that I saw.

Breakfast at Hominy Grill is a must. Should have tried dinner there, as well. Reminded me a bit of Colorado Kitchen but without the attitude and with better management.

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Spent the last several days in South Carolina, first at Kiawah Island and then in Charleston.

Kiawah Island

We stayed at The Sanctuary a truly lovely resort (attended a conference and then stayed a couple of days). Neither my husband nor I are golfers, but we really enjoyed the place. We ate at Jasmine Porch a couple of times. The setting was really beautiful and the servers exuded southern hospitality. The menu looked good (many low country specialties), but we found that the food (almost without exception) was underseasoned. Was this because of an inexperienced chef or a corporate kitchen that is trying to cater to a certain crowd, I don't know. Didn't try the "fine dining" restaurant, The Ocean Room.

Charleston

Read this thread before we headed down and on that basis, made reservations for dinner at Magnolia's and FIG. We heartily recommend Magnolia's. Had a great, leisurely mean with a terrific waiter who gave us the right amount of attention. He seemed to know the menu/ingredients backwards and forwards. Would go there again in a minute. FIG was only okay. Someone on this thread compared it to Cashion's. While the food was fairly good (and way better than Kiawah's Jasmine Porch), I'm just not sure they have their act together. It started with a fairly dim hostess and continued with only adequate servers. If only they were as good and knowledgeable as the serving staff at Cashion's (where whe often let them decide on our dishes). Instead we were taken care of by a couple of servers who could barely recite the specials (though they did mention the prices (always a good thing)). They were both quite pretty and maybe that is why they were hired (lord knows that it wasn't their attentiveness or knowledge of the menu). The jazz trio was quite good and the space very attractive - industrial retro, very different from anything else that I saw.

Breakfast at Hominy Grill is a must. Should have tried dinner there, as well. Reminded me a bit of Colorado Kitchen but without the attitude and with better management.

I had dinner at FIG a couple of weeks ago and found it to be very good. Service was adequate, but the steak tartare and sweetbreads were enough to get me to return.

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Does anyone know of any great places to stay in Charleston? I am thinking more along the lines of Inns and Boutique Hotels rather than a chain. Thanks!

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Does anyone know of any great places to stay in Charleston? I am thinking more along the lines of Inns and Boutique Hotels rather than a chain. Thanks!

We stayed at the Harbourview Inn last yeart and were very happy with it. It is in a great location, directly across the street from the Harbour. The Wentworth Inn looked like it would be very nice.

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Does anyone know of any great places to stay in Charleston? I am thinking more along the lines of Inns and Boutique Hotels rather than a chain. Thanks!

Try some of the B&Bs in the Battery area, all within walking distance of great restaurants. We have enjoyed:

Palmer House

Battery Carriage House

Also, a bit farther north: Phoebe Pember House

We have lusted over, but not yet tried, Two Meeting Street Inn

Most of these places have websites you can check out.

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Any recent recommendations, especially for good value? I'll be in Folly Beach for a week--certainly going to check out Hominy Grill and probably Poogan's; Magnolia's etc are probably a little out of our price range. Thanks!

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I get to Charleston about 6x per year, and here are my favorites...

For a solo dinner in the historic district: sit at the bar at Blossom. The fried oysters over grits with peppers & tomato (there's usually a variation on the theme on the menu) are excellent. This has developed into a ritual for me.

For shrimp & grits: Fleet Landing, half block from Vendue St. pier. Its a lively scene, especially in season. I have also had their BLT -- fried green tomato, lettuce & bacon. They have a bar that's half inside & half out. The shrimp & grits are one of the stated inspirations for Indigo Landing's dish, although I've had both and they're quite different. (I like Fleet Landing's much better. Its got a kick to it.)

On Sullivan's Island: Poe's is a staple. I especially enjoy it during the off season. Sit by the fire. The food's decent, the beer's cold. They too have a bar that's half inside & half out.

McCrady's: Its mentioned a number of times here and rightfully so. For a high end meal, its the place to go in the historic area.

For breakfast on Isle of Palms: Sea Bisquit. Get there early.

For an authentic low country experience in Shem Creek (in Mt Pleasant): The Wreck. But you've gotta know where it is, 'cause there's no sign. I believe they're closed Monday lunch. While you're there, stop into Magwood's next door for some right-off-the-boat shrimp.

For sushi: Patriot's Point has a place in the first floor of a office bldg. It looks out at the bridge & across to Charleston. I can't recall the name. For sushi in Historic District: Tsunami is always crowded, but I've never been.

For rooftop views: head to the roof of the hotel across the street from the Customs House, on the corner opposite the market.

I've got Red Drum in Mt. Pleasant on my list of places to try. Have heard good things.

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It has been a little more than a year since anyone has chimed in about Charleston. I am heading down in a couple of weeks and am wondering about a place for dinner. We are already planning on going to the Wreck one night, and depending on the weather we may head out to some of the seedier seafood places closer to the coast.

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It has been a little more than a year since anyone has chimed in about Charleston. I am heading down in a couple of weeks and am wondering about a place for dinner. We are already planning on going to the Wreck one night, and depending on the weather we may head out to some of the seedier seafood places closer to the coast.
Steve,

Plotnicki has posted several times about McCrady's.

If you want to go upscale, it may be worth a look.

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Steve,

Plotnicki has posted several times about McCrady's.

If you want to go upscale, it may be worth a look.

Holy crap, they have Krug Rose listed on their wine list for $230, that can't be right, it retails for $350+.

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Holy crap, they have Krug Rose listed on their wine list for $230, that can't be right, it retails for $350+.
I think that you misread, I didn't see Krug Rose

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I think that you misread, I didn't see Krug Rose

That is interesting, because since I first looked at it the Rose selections have completely changed, they only had two offerings when I looked at it, and #11 was definately Krug Rose at the price I mentioned. Maybe someone else saw this mistake.

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Whether or not you eat here (it is good), the lounge area is an excellent place to slurb riesling and eat cheese.

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I am staying in a beach condo outside of Georgetown, SC...does anyone have any recommendations? Price really isn't an issue. Seafood and local fare are preferred.

Thanks

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I am staying in a beach condo outside of Georgetown, SC...does anyone have any recommendations? Price really isn't an issue. Seafood and local fare are preferred.

Thanks

Look here

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I am staying in a beach condo outside of Georgetown, SC...does anyone have any recommendations? Price really isn't an issue. Seafood and local fare are preferred.

Thanks

I used to work in Georgetown, but it's been several years since I spent any significant time there. But one very solid recommendation that I've posted on this board in the past is Kudzu Bakery, located on King St. in Georgetown, just off Front Street. They make the best pecan pie I've tasted, as well as great cakes and other fruit pies. They even have a small--but very nice--wine selection, better than the average wine store in that part of the country. I understand they've opened a second bakery in Litchfield Beach.

I understand that there are some pretty good restaurants in Pawley's Island. Frank's used to be quite good, but it's been awhile. The link provided by JPW will provide some pretty good recommendations, but you really can't go wrong with Kudzu. Whenever I'm down that way, I make a special trip to Georgetown, just for the pecan pie.

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We'll be in Charleston for only a couple days next weekend. Sunday it will be my wife and me, so I alreay booked McCrady's. Saturday, though, will be with my sister, brother-in-law, and their squirmy 3 year old. Is there a casual and more moderately priced place that people would recommend? I've only been to Charleston once before and enjoyed Sticky Fingers. We could do that again or something else of the like. The noise of that place would help drown out some of lil' Jack's fussiness. I'd appreciate any and all recommendations.

Pax,

Brian

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Brian,
I can tell you two places to avoid. Meritage, a strange wine bar/Tapas place on Bay, actually the Steak Tartar was quite good and cheap to boot, and nothing else was memorable. The other is A.W. Shucks, we just wanted a cold beer on a hot summer day and a little food to nosh on. The beer was cold and refreshing, but the food not so great.

On the other hand (and not in the least bit casual), Peninsula Grill is home of what is now my favorite lobster dish. On the Champagne Bar menu - available in the dining room as well - is a dish called "Lobster 3 Ways". I was expecting a plate with three different items, but what came out was more like a shallow bowl of soup. The 3 ways are; poached, a large ravioli, and a tempura claw. The poached meat was infused with the flavor of fresh basil, and cooked to the point of perfection. The ravioli was filled with a generous amount of lobster meat, and the tempura was light and crispy with little oil. The buttery and basil laden sauce brought this dish together and made it an absolute masterpiece.

I wish I could be as gushing about the entree of bourbon roasted shrimp, however, that dish was just plain boring. Even the lobster hushpuppies were boring. The shrimp were well cooked, but they did not have any real flavor, the accompanying hoppin' john added nothing to the dish, and its whites were not even visually appealing. On the other hand, my wife's rib eye was unbelievably good. Cooked perfectly, and served with delicious mashed potatoes that came with a huge Vidalia onion ring stuck in them (she would not let me try the ring but said that it was one of the best she has ever had). Wanting to avoid having two Bobby Flay Throw Down items on one trip (we knew we were going to Buz and Neds on the way home - but wish we hadn't), we tried to avoid the coconut cake, however, seeing a slice in person changed our minds. This made up for my boring shrimp.

We had planned to head to Hominy Grill for breakfast, but our room at the Planter's Inn came with breakfast at the Peninsula Grill. So we made the unfortunate decision to eat at the hotel. I had figured that a restaurant with such a reputation would be able to put out a decent breakfast, I was wrong. The meal was not all bad, the grits, sausage, and bacon were fantastic, but my over-easy eggs came with hard yolk, the biscuit was right out of a package, and the corned beef hash had my wife wanting the canned stuff. On the upside the staff was incredibly charming, and the coffee was first rate. Next time we will opt to skip the hotel breakfast.

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Dude! I am so jealous you are going to McCrady's. Have you seen the chef's blog? Its the best advertisement for any restaurant I've ever seen online. Look at it for two seconds and you'll get worked up about your meal. http://seanbrock.wordpress.com/ The meal he prepared for the chuckeats.com guy looks great.

I may go for my birthday if I can book an affordable flight.

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Also, can I throw out a query on Folly Beach? The New York Times had a recent article calledCharleston on the Cheap that recommends Folly's Lost Dog Cafe, which sounds right up our alley. Any other ideas for fun, cheap eats and drinks would be much obliged!

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After a couple days in Charleston, here are our experiences:

1) East Bay Crab Shack--as I mentioned, we needed a casual place for my fidgety 3 year old nephew, so in the words of Jack's parents, "this place was perfect." Food-wise, nothing to get excited about. Some decent low-country boils but that's it.

2) McCrady's--very good food with a great atmosphere and great service. After learning we were from DC, our waiter said that one of the sous chefs from Minibar was down this past weekend to share ideas and techniques. The cooking did have several infusions of molecular gastronomy with much tastier success than our experience at WD-50 (and without the intense sense of novelty as our one Minibar experience). The shining successes were a bacon and scallop appetizer, the best lamb ribs I've ever eaten, and an awesome soft chocolate dessert that was further enlivened by some liquid-nitrogen frozen strawberries that the waiter brought out as a surprise. He also shared some liquid-nitrogen popcorn that was giggle-inducing since it turned your dining companions into Puff the Magic Dragon. The meal wasn't without fault, though. I was really excited for my short rib appetizer over grits but neither the very fatty meat nor the very creamy grits had much flavor; it did come with a concentrated beef sauce that I think was to add the required seasoning, but it showed a potential fault of deconstructing dishes. My wife also got grouper poached in olive oil that was overcooked and surprisingly dry. I told her to tell the waiter but she thought she was being too picky. When I tried it later on, it was too dry. She regretted not letting them know.

3) Hominy Grill--Very neat place totally off the beaten path. We missed breakfast so we had to settle for lunch, which was still very good even if I wasn't psychologically prepared. The highlight was definitely the coconut cake, which was crazy moist and very sweet. Probably my favorite white cake that I've ever had.

Pax,

Brian

ETA: We actually spent one day at Folly Beach and ate lunch at Taco Boy. Fine for a beach break. Very large servings of decent and fresh guacamole and not bad tacos. My wife did get a disgustingly large salad though, about half of which went to waste.

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In Charleston last week, and went to McCrady's. It was pretty quiet, but then again, it was a Monday night, and apparently that's the way things are there. Dinner was great...my pork dish consisted of pork belly, pork loin, and with a nice, freshly fried piece of pork rind right on top. I chuckled a bit when the waiter referred to the pork rind as "quite lovely". I'm used to eating those things straight out of fryer, from a brown paper bag that's turned translucent from the grease (go to San Antonio if you want to experience that). We headed over to Social wine bar across the street afterwards--also quiet, but the wine selection was good, and they had plenty of flights to chose from. The bartenders were young, and quite friendly, but were also enthusiastic and knowledgable about the wine.

Also ate at Jestine's kitchen, which really hit the spot for good southern food. My husband had the fried chicken, but I totally went one step further and had the fried chicken livers. It was my first time eating livers, and being presented with a giant plate of them was a little overwhelming, but delicious nonetheless, although, maybe I wouldn't order a whole plate of them next time.

On a whim, we went over to Henry's on the Market. Very good seafood, and we sat at the community table, so the conversation was flowing.

One thing--the prices of wine bottles at nicer places were much higher than we expected. It was quite difficult, both in Charleston and in Savannah, to find a nice bottle of wine for under $50, and at Henry's it was easier just to go by the glass.

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My time in the Charleston area didn't end up including many meals out, as we were perfectly satisfied by five straight days of Tostitos and sangria on our oceanfront deck. However, the wedding reception at Tristan in the city offered the best food I've ever had at this type of event.

I knew we were in for something special just seeing the cheese and fruit table overflowing with excellent quality products and what I'll call the "whipped fish" section offering two or three different types of seafood mousse with all the accoutrements. The passed hors d'oevres were solid, including a fine crab cake, #^$%&@ incredible shots of she-crab soup, a thin goat cheese and artichoke pastry, and something with preserved lemon that I am disappointed that I can't remember because it was the bite of the night. The buffet offerings included made-to-order crepes (scallop, shrimp, chicken and rice, spinach and goat cheese, and cinnamon), a prime rib carving station, and a gorgeous pile of roasted vegetables. The crepes were very nice, though the station made the food line pretty slow. The prime rib was tender, moist, and flavorful, with horseradish mustard and horseradish cream served alongside. And the veg--heck, I really wouldn't expect to be so effusive about veg, but damn they were good. Served with a lemon aioli on the side, they were wonderfully smoky and crisp without being at all flabby or oily. This is the type of station that can be easily overlooked, but the care they put into even this modest side, and the quality of their ingredients, was evident.

The bartenders were wonderfully indulgent, polite, and knowledgeable, with one taking more time than he needed to talk to me about the local Firefly sweet tea vodka, which is just awesome (but a shot of it is probably not the best idea when inserted in the middle of a night of copious wine and champagne).

I don't know how the place is when it's not closed for a special event, but if Tristan can pull off this level of quality and graciousness for a hundred rowdy aid workers, I'd imagine they can make a pretty excellent cozy dinner as well.

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We were at Kiawah for a few days and had a chance to go back to McCrady's. It was good to see that they were fairly busy for a Tuesday night--not mobbed, by any means, but most of the tables were filled. The dinner was top notch--the charcuterie plate was a great start, with substantial portions of 5 different cuts and a lardo-topped piece of toast that was out of this world. The rack of lamb was a beautiful piece of meat, but was outshone by the side dish of pine nuts cooked with raisins--this was just unbelievably flavorful, with an almost french-toast flavor. Wow. I finished with a cheese plate, 5 big portions (a theme in the Charleston area, apparently--big portions).

We ate twice at Rosebank Farms, enjoying the fried chicken so much the first night that we went back two nights later. The fried chicken livers appetizer, served with a red pepper jelly and grits, I believe, were great and while I expect they were not difficult to prepare the whole dish came across as a real production and was very impressive.

Breakfasts at Jasmine Porch at the Sanctuary were as good as remembered, although there was no buffet due to the low hotel occupancy, unfortunately.

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Just back from a long weekend in Kiawah with my wife and have some dining comments to share:

We stayed at The Sanctuary on Kiawah, which is a top quality resort. Great facilities, location, service, etc. Worth the money. They have two main dining options on the premises: Jasmine Porch and The Ocean Room.

Jasmine Porch serves a great breakfast. You can get the buffet option, if you want to try a wide variety of dishes and eat alot. Omelets, waffles, pancakes, potatoes, pastries..the usual breakfast fare done with a southern flare. Breakfast menu items include shrimp & grits, pancakes, and the Charleston egg sandwich. I had the egg sandwich with a side of potatoes both days and didn't need to eat lunch either day. Very light brioche-type bread sandwiching scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, grilled tomatoes and aioli (and bacon, though I ordered mine without). Fantastic sandwich and quite filing. Very nice potatoes with onions and asparagus on the side. My wife had the buffet one day and was impressed by the waffles and pancakes. She ordered the chocolate chip pancakes the next day and they seemed to be a hit. Overall, they do a nice job with breakfast here. (NB - the ice cream shop across from Jasmine offers bagels, muffins, and fruit every morning and free coffee if you are looking for a less costly and less caloric breakfast but you should try Jasmine's breakfast at least once)

A recent menu change paradoxically means The Ocean Room is a steakhouse, which isn't exactly our cup of tea, so we dined at Jasmine Porch twice for dinner. The first night was fantastic. I started with a tomato salad with feta, grilled peaches and frisee. Nice ripe tomatoes, light vinaigrette, nicely done. My wife had the seasonal salad of arugula, shaved red onion, grilled peaches, and a goat cheese round. Again, simply done and very nice. I had the special of wreckfish, which I had never heard of, but found it a medium firm, mildly flavored fish similar to grouper. Very simply prepared and quite good when paired with a Marlborough sauvignon blanc. My wife had the grilled local mahi mahi with potatoes, baby carrots, snap peas, and lobster jus. Fantastic entree.

The second night was a completely different experience and I'm not sure why. Things got started on the wrong foot when I ordered a negroni and they forgot to include any gin. Then we waited a long time for bread. We ordered the same salads as the previous time and found them just as good as before. Entrees were a different story altogether though. We both ordered the mahi mahi but found that what we were served didn't match the menu description. It was served with a too-sweet teriyaki type sauce and potatoes, not the veggies as described above. And the fish was way undercooked. I understand that fish isn't supposed to be cooked well done, despite many peoples' tastes, but this was pretty much raw. To their credit, they took the entrees off the bill when they noticed our uneaten entrees and heard our complaints. We aren't normally complainers but we had to speak up in this case. I'm not sure what happened. We have eaten here multiple times in the last few years and have never had anything but a positive experience so I'm willing to chalk it up to a fluke and give them another shot next time we're down there. It is nice to see that The Sanctuary has developed an increasing focus on sourcing local ingredients and recognizes that the high quality ingredients don't need complicated preparation.

We went into Charleston another night and had one of the most memorable meals of our lifetime at Fig. This restaurant also makes it a point to source ingredients locally and to let them speak for themselves. Our experience started with a gracious greeting from the staff upfront and a nicely made Sazerac at the bar. Once seated, I started with a roasted tomato tart tatin with goat cheese and tapenade. Simply spectacular - tomatoes bursting with flavor, pastry with perfect texture and creamy goat cheese. Awesome. My wife had the heirloom tomato and watermelon salad. Heirlooms of all shapes and colors dressed simply with olive oil and salt, paired with watermelon slices. Again, completely awesome. I had the triggerfish entree served with tomatoes, black olives, and farro risotto. My wife had the sauteed snapper served with potatoes, white shrimp succotash with several kinds of peas and corn broth. Side dishes of roasted potatoes and roasted beets to round out the meal. Quite possibly the best meal we have ever eaten. All the ingredients were so fresh and prepared to let them shine. Never had beets so tender, more flavorful corn broth, or more perfectly cooked fish. Ordered chocolate molten cake and homemade mint chip ice cream for dessert with a glass of Madeira. Simply fantastic start to finish. You have to try this place.

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Dined at McCrady's on Thursday night, and I have to say that I was a bit underwhelmed. Our table of six agreed to do the tasting menu (which requires everyone's participation), but first we were served the charcuterie plate (my future bro-in-law was about to start staging there, so it was a nice welcome from the chef). The meats were fine, but the highlight of the dish was the assortment of pickled vegetables - cauliflower, okra, sunchokes, turnips - all delicious.

First course was a crab appetizer with a "disc" of coconut gel and some citrus elements. The high-quality crab meat was overwhelmed by all of the other ingredients (which were said to be inspired by a tropical cocktail the chef enjoyed), and the dish just didn't do anything for me. The second course was stellar - the best of the night. It was a pan-seared grouper with thin-sliced patty pan squash, squash puree, and bonito foam. The fish was perfectly cooked, everything was seasoned wonderfully, and the whole plate was just really balanced and refined. The third course was lobster legs and fried sweetbreads on top of a cheese (gruyere and another) "disc" (again, some kind of gel). The coating on the sweetbreads was nice, but the whole dish was overwhelmed by the flavor of the cheese. You really couldn't even taste the lobster, despite the portion being generous. The fourth course was pork belly with a farro, pine nut, and green garlic "risotto," which was also topped with some charred pickled ramps. The farro was delicious, but I found the pork belly to be WAY too salty. The final savory course was beef tenderloin with carrots cooked a number of ways, also with a little blob of bone marrow gel. The beef was lovely - flavorful, great texture, perfectly cooked - but the dish was kind of one-dimensional overall. For dessert, the "Banana Puddin'" was great - a banana flan with a bruleed top, some meringue, caramelized banana pieces, and Nilla Wafer ice cream. Yum. The second dessert course was a sort of freeze-dried chocolate with caramel and malt and chocolate "Nerds," but it was rather bland and uninteresting.

There's obviously talent in the kitchen, but the biggest problem? The pacing. A 7-course tasting menu took us nearly 4 hours. There were breaks between courses that lasted 30 minutes. To me, that goes beyond leisurely dining and ventures into slow as molasses in January territory. We also sat with empty glasses for a significant period of time, and the server just didn't check in with us as much as I would have expected, especially given the delays between dishes.

Maybe my expectations were too high, but McCrady's didn't register as a favorite for me. If and when I return, I will definitely order off the menu instead.

Note: The tasting menu is now $85 and not the $75 that is advertised on the website.

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Also ventured to Poe's for a burger and a beer - burgers are still really solid. Had the Amontillado, which was served with guac, pepper jack, pico, and chipotle sour cream. Cooked perfectly, and the fries and potato salad are both respectable as well. Beer selections are pretty good for a beach bar.

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ANy updates to restaurant choices in Kiawah? Group of 4 women going for a tennis excursion, so we will mostly be looking for some casual dining. I doubt I can convince them to go to McCrady's - only 1 other food-centric person in the group! On our last trip, we went to and enjoyed Poogan's Porch (hey, we're tourists ok?), Mustard Pot and the Boathouse...We love low country cooking, not especially interested in haute cuisine or foams...

THoughts?

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ANy updates to restaurant choices in Kiawah? Group of 4 women going for a tennis excursion, so we will mostly be looking for some casual dining. I doubt I can convince them to go to McCrady's - only 1 other food-centric person in the group! On our last trip, we went to and enjoyed Poogan's Porch (hey, we're tourists ok?), Mustard Pot and the Boathouse...We love low country cooking, not especially interested in haute cuisine or foams...

THoughts?

Are you able to go onto the Peninsula, or are you asking for things similar to Poogan's Porch but out on Kiawah?

If the former:

Sermet's

Hyman's

Magnolia or Blossom (particularly for lunch)

S.N.O.B.

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Are you able to go onto the Peninsula, or are you asking for things similar to Poogan's Porch but out on Kiawah?

If the former:

Sermet's

Hyman's

Magnolia or Blossom (particularly for lunch)

S.N.O.B.

We will have a car, so will be able to go just about anywhere...But, we are also hoping to find at least a couple of places nearby as we will probably be beat by the end of the day,

THanks..

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Just returned from a week on Isle of Palms. Did a lot of cooking, but also did some dining out...

* Sullivan's (on Sullivan's Island, duh) - our companions chose this place, and though the service was good, the food was meh. Seems like simple, fried seafood was decent, but my dad's swordfish was WAY overcooked and my seafood pasta was WAY undersalted. Key lime pie was pretty respectable.

* FIG (downtown) - so, so, so, SO good. We sat at the bar and ordered all appetizers. First pair of dishes were all about tomatoes - an heirloom tomato salad with buttermilk-blue cheese dressing, and an AMAZING tomato tarte tatin with fromage blanc. I am still dreaming of that tarte, it was so delicious. Second pair of apps consisted of puree of green garlic soup with tomato confit and corn, and ricotta-mint gnocchi in a lamb bolognese. The former was fabulously full of flavor, and the latter was comfort food to the max. For dessert, we chose an almond semifreddo (not my favorite, but my husband loved it) and a peach cobbler with hazelnut-oatmeal topping and creme fraiche ice cream. Between the WONDERFUL South Carolina peaches and the subtle sweetness of the crust and ice cream, the dessert was out of this world. For four appetizers, two desserts, and three cocktails, the total was about $100 (pre-tip). Chef Lata is doing really beautiful things with local, seasonal produce - cannot wait to go back and try something new.

* Glass Onion (West of Ashley, out toward Folly Beach) - while we were sitting at the bar at FIG, a gentleman recommended this "soulful" spot for lunch (it is owned and run by former FIG sous chefs, I believe). It's way off the beaten path, at least from where we were staying, but it was definitely worth the drive. Same deal as FIG in terms of a focus on local, seasonal, sustainable, etc., but with a much more down-home kind of style. We ate there twice for lunch, and tried such items as the sweetbread poboy, crispy pork with butter beans and tomatoes (and a delicious bearnaise - riduclously good), shrimp bisque, homemade pickles, fried eggplant, shrimp cakes with grits and bean salad, whole fried quail with mashed potatoes and greens, bread pudding, plum cream pie, and fig-toffee pound cake (my personal favorite). It's an order-at-the-counter type of place, but the staff is super friendly and fun, and the place is bustling despite its somewhat remote location. More expensive than your average lunch spot, but ingredients are top-notch. I was really impressed, and I can't really think of anything quite like it that I've encountered in my travels.

* Poe's (Sullivan's Island) - still a great place for a burger and a beer. Had shrimp and chorizo quesadillas, which were surprisingly good (with a very tasty, fresh guac), and a basic burger with goat cheese. Cooked perfectly, and I still love their potato salad. Nom.

* Boathouse at Breach Inlet (between IOP and Sullivan's Island) - beautiful setting, decent service, middle-of-the-road food. More creative dishes seemed to be overcomplicated and overthought - stick to basic, classic seafood dishes. I had fried seafood (shrimp, scallops, and oysters), and it was delicious.

* Mozzo Deli (Mt. Pleasant) - disclaimer here is that one of Mozzo's chefs is a very close family friend, like the brother I never had. That said, I wish we had this kind of sandwich place in Atlanta! TONS of choices, from super-basic to crazy creative - I had the Colorado Roots, with roasted turkey, cream cheese, bacon, guac, lettuce, and tomato, on multigrain bread. Yum! They also have tons of homemade salads (like chicken salad, egg salad, potato salad, etc), and I tried the macaroni salad, which was delicious. They're open for breakfast, so we visited again on our way out of town - the breakfast burrito was INSANE, with eggs, potatoes, green chilis, chipotle sauce, and Italian sausage. French toast was also good, though I like mine well done so next time I'll ask for more time on the griddle. Mozzo does catering and take out, and the prices are reasonable, so it might be good for a beachy picnic!

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Beyond that - we did go to Jestine's for a properly leisurely lunch. The sweet tea, Mac and Cheese and fried green tomatoes are all out of this world Southern treats, even if the rest of the food was standard diner-grub.

I've had some really nice lunches at Jestine's. The pickles they put on the table are wonderful. Both the fried chicken and the pecan fried chicken work for me.

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Ate at Husk for my birthday dinner in late December, and was so massively blown away that I couldn't even write it up. (Funnily enough, the waitress relayed that David Chang was dining there the same night, and my immediate thought was, "Why is he in Charleston?" Like the guy can't take a break...)

I've dined at McCrady's before and liked it, but it wasn't anything so mind-blowing that I had to go back. Husk was all that and a bag of chips -- I've been plotting my return since the moment I walked out the door -- and I'm pleased to see Sean Brock get the recognition in the NYT, even if I've given them hell before over their treatment of certain non-Manhattan cities as provincial. Now I'm just sad because I bet my return will be to a restaurant crowded with see-and-be-seen New Yorkers...:)

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Husk is a wonderful restaurant!

We visited the restaurant on Sunday evening, 5/22. We had seen the restoration in progress six months prior when we were in the area last fall and were excited to see the results of all the work. The results were amazing, with a simple light and airy interior (with beautiful hardwood floors) that at the same time seemed intimate (volume level - easy to have a conversation even in a full restaurant). Our table had a nice view of the chalkboard – which lists the source of the day’s ingredients (all from the South).

The staff was lighthearted and easy going – our waiter was Graham (who we ran into a few nights later and recognized us). We asked Graham to recommend his favorite cocktails to us – and we ended up with one from their Classic selections and one from their Modern selections:

Vieux Carre Old Overholt rye whiskey, cognac, Carpano Antica vermouth, Benedictine, Peychauds and Angostura bitters.

The Southern Screwdriver Jalapeno macerated vodka, basil syrup, fresh squeezed orange juice and orange bitters – EXCELLENT – the heat from the jalapeno was a great complement to the sweetness of the juice.

My wife and I started with two dishes that highlighted the in season sweet corn – me a corn chowder and my wife roasted clams with corn and peppers. Both delicious!

Our main courses continued the local produce showcase – butterbeans highlighting lamb, and greens with pork shoulder. Sean Brock has a way with vegetables – they are not a forgotten side – they threaten to steal the show from the meat!

And speaking of sides – we had a side of cornbread with small specks of smoky bacon inside – we took the leftovers home with us!

Ended the meal with a blackberry and peach shortcake – the cake was more like a light and airy sweet biscuit with their recommended bourbon pairing– and two cups of the local Charleston Coffee Roasters [McCrady’s dark roast French press] coffee.

What we ordered:

Woodfired Clams Roasted Sweet Corn, Spring Onions and Garlic Butter, Crispy Bread

GA Sweet Corn Soup with Crispy Country Ham and Pepper Marmalade

Fudge Farms Pork Shoulder with Creamed Corn Grits and Ham Hock Braised Greens

Border Springs Lamb Leg Terrine with Butterbeans, Cabbage and Roasted Red Pepper

Peach and Blackberry Shortcake with Elmer T. Lee 12year 90 proof Bourbon pairing

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What a wonderful restaurant!

Husk, right? You didn't actually name the restaurant. B) I'll be there tomorrow; hope some of the same dishes (or similar) are on the menu!

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Ate our way through a long weekend in Charleston (some dear friends were getting married) - Poe's and Glass Onion were as happy-making as ever, but we tried two new-to-us places as well.

Husk, for me, was a mixed bag. I had maybe the most delicious cocktail of my life (the Southern Screwdriver, with jalapeno vodka, basil syrup, fresh OJ, and orange bitters), and appetizers (including a chilled cucumber soup with pickled shrimp, and a delightful heirloom tomato salad with beet-strawberry vinaigrette) were creative, varied, and delicious. But entrees definitely fell flat. Our table ordered a number of fish dishes, including porgy, pompano, grouper, and catfish, but with the exception of the catfish (which was delicately fried and came with a really lovely, creamy butterbean and field pea succotash), they all seemed to follow the same formula: seared piece of fish + small pile of vegetables + deglazed pan sauce = voila, dinner. My husband's pompano was also severely undercooked, and when we brought that to the attention of the server, she just kept repeating, "We cook all of our fish to medium." She was like a robot - she could see that the fish was not cooked to medium, but that was the only thing she could think of to say. I ordered a pork chop as my entree, and a good solid half of it was pure fat. I like fat as much as the next person, but should there really be a 1:1 ratio of meat to fat? The meat that I did get was tasty enough, but my husband said that I've made better pork chops on the grill at home. It was the creamed corn grits and ham hock braised greens that really won the day. Without those side items, I probably would have sent the dish back. The whole table, except yours truly, loved the cornbread - I just found it WAY too greasy, though I will admit that I liked the very crispy exterior. Pecan pie was the dessert winner, though the peach cobbler was also nice. Service was a significant problem throughout the evening - as previously mentioned, if something fell outside the server's memorized speech, she was totally flustered. There were also empty plates left on our table for VERY long stretches, and she kept pestering us to order as if she was trying to turn the table. Bottom line, I liked it much better than McCrady's (and the space is GORGEOUS), but the food didn't totally wow me, and the service definitely left something to be desired. I would probably go back to FIG before I would go back to Husk.

At my parents' insistence, we went to High Cotton for brunch before we left this morning. Shrimp and grits were delicious, duck hash was very good, various Benedicts had nicely poached eggs, coffee was strong, but service was TERRIBLE. There were a lot of mistakes, from empty coffee cups to incorrectly ordered entrees to my mother's eggs having to be re-done a THIRD TIME before they were correct. We got the manager involved, and she apologized and did and said all of the right things, but it was a very disappointing farewell meal.

On the plus side, there are some great catering companies in Charleston - both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding were very well done in the food department!

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Going in late February for our anniversay - have a reservation to McCradys but nothing else set in stone. Thinking Sunday brunch at Husk but willing to alter that plan in search of the best fried chicken in the city. Anyone have any leads/ideas/secrets?

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If it were me, I'd only do one Sean Brock place (probably Husk) and try to include FIG and Glass Onion. I know GO does fried chicken, but it may only be on particular days, so it would depend on when you are visiting.

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Think we're going to stick to McCrady's for the more elaborate meal (like what Brock did in his Capitol Grill days), but I think FIG needs to happen. Thanks!

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I was in Charleston last weekend running in the 1/2 marathon. We hit a couple spots over the weekend:

Pearlz: great happy hour deals here from 4-7 M-F, $7.95 for a dozen local oysters, known for their oyster shooters (not my thing, plus I was running the next day)

Husk: it was restraunt week while we there (our first choice was Fig but they were closed for a remodel). This is a place that knows how to do restraunt week right, probably 5-6 apps and 7-8 mains to choose from for $30. Great ambiance, food and service - just a perfect night.

Amen Street: hit here for lunch after the race. We were headed to SNOB only to find they don't serve lunch on weekends. This place really surprised us. Really nice fried oyster app to start and I had a Hot Shrim and Crab sandwich which was outstanding. Washed it down with some killer Bloody Mary's, one of the better version I have had in awhile.

To celebrate our successful run we decided to head to King St for the night at hit a couple places. My family who went to school and now live in Mt. Pleasant said this area was pretty run down while they were at C of C but is making a come back.

We started out at Charleston Beer Works - decent beer list and typical bar grub. Mostly a college bar. Good place to watch a game over a few cheap beers.

HoM: Relatively new burger place. Great looking spot with two ping pong table in the rear (albeit with no tvs to watch the games). Solid burgers and fries but nothing earth shattering. All their sauces are made in house.

Mercury Bar: ended up the night here for a few more drinks. Happening little bar, not a huge place, but friendly bartenders. Thing get a little fuzzy at thi point after a very long day.

If you are in Charleston and looking for something different and want to avoid the tourist traps downtown then I highly recommend hitting King Street. Even saw the Newt campaign bus on King St while walking back to the hotel.

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We started out at Charleston Brewing Company - decent beer list and typical bar grub. Mostly a college bar. Good place to watch a game over a few cheap beers.

I don't see a website for this on King Street. Is it possibly Charleston Beer Works? (That's the 400 block of King.)

My husband has an upcoming trip to Charleston and I've been compiling a list of recommended places.

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Yes, that is it - sorry about that. I will correct.

Ah, mystery solved :). Thanks. He's staying on King and doesn't know how much time he'll have to get out for meals, so the closer things are, the better.

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We were there last summer and had a great breakfast at Virginia's on King - good southern cooking, would not hesitate to try for dinner.

Our hotel conceirge recommended a few places but we were not able to get to any: Macintosh and Halls Chophouse.

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We were there last summer and had a great breakfast at Virginia's on King - good southern cooking, would not hesitate to try for dinner.

Our hotel conceirge recommended a few places but we were not able to get to any: Macintosh and Halls Chophouse.

Thanks. I've added them to the list. I hope he gets a chance to go to something!

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All the raves about Fig are on target. My husband and a colleague loved their meal there Monday night. He said that it was expensive but they both felt it was definitely worth it. They started with PUREE of SUNCHOKE SOUP capers inlet oysters, tarragon...$12 [husband] and PORCHETTA TONNATO celery hearts, olives, capers, preserved lemon...$14 [colleague]. They each had fish for an entree: GOLDEN TILEFISH PERSILLADE capers inlet clams and winter vegetable chowder...$32 [h] and SLOW BAKED TRIGGERFISH AGRODOLCE butter beans, squid, piquillo pepper...$29 [c]. My husband seemed less enthused by the lemon tart they each had for dessert, saying that it was fine but not that memorable. It also sounded like the service was quite good, with the server being knowledgeable about the ingredients and explaining the dishes well.

The other good meal he had was Sunday brunch at Husk. He was able to get a table as a walk-in at 2 PM and got their steak and eggs: TX Wagyu Sirloin, with a Sunny Side Up Egg, Marrow Jus, HUSK Sausage and Confit Potato Hash $16. I'd been seeing enough mixed things about Husk recently that I wondered if I was right to continue to push for him to go there, but he enjoyed it.

(I was first having trouble finding the correct menu information for Fig before writing this, and decided to check Twitter to see if they gave menu details there at all. I found a tweet indicating that Sean Brock had gone to Fig on Tuesday night and was served a vegetable tasting menu. My husband found that amusing. He gets all the information about good places to go from here, filtered through me :lol: .)

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Thank you, this is very timely for me. My wife and I are headed to Charleston for the first time in two weeks, and right now I'm sitting on reservations for Fig and Husk for our two dinners, and I was wondering if we should stick with that or consider other options.

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I would absolutely keep those two, although they're similar in that they're both at the "fine dining experience" end of the spectrum instead of push-up-your-shirtsleeves kind of places. But they are both excellent -- my top choices in town, anyway.

(FWIW, everyone, the place is F.I.G. ("food is good"), not "fig" the fruit, although everyone does tend to pronounce it as the latter. :) )

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Pearlz oysters continue to be great. A dozen of gulf coast for $10.95. They had a variety of other oysters but I didn't bother since I can get them in DC for half the price. Their shrimp taco, made from North Carolina Shrimp, is also good.

We had take out Hominy Grill Saturday night and it was very good for take out. I loved their pimento cheese, pickled okra, mac and cheese and cornbread. The greens were good but not great. The purgoo was good but we should have had their shrimp and grits. The great thing about Hominy is that it is affordable good food. They have also recently expanded so the waits are a bit better than before.

If you are looking for something non eating but food related, check out Heirloom Books and Co. They have a good selection of old cookbooks, especially if you are into Southern cooking. It's on King right before Broad.

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The Glass Onion for brunch was a great place to visit. Crispy pork belly, poached eggs and grits were excellent and they have a nice beer list too.

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Pearlz oysters continue to be great. A dozen of gulf coast for $10.95. They had a variety of other oysters but I didn't bother since I can get them in DC for half the price. Their shrimp taco, made from North Carolina Shrimp, is also good.

We had take out Hominy Grill Saturday night and it was very good for take out. I loved their pimento cheese, pickled okra, mac and cheese and cornbread. The greens were good but not great. The purgoo was good but we should have had their shrimp and grits. The great thing about Hominy is that it is affordable good food. They have also recently expanded so the waits are a bit better than before.

If you are looking for something non eating but food related, check out Heirloom Books and Co. They have a good selection of old cookbooks, especially if you are into Southern cooking. It's on King right before Broad.

Holy crap, say hi next time. I was at Pearl'z on Friday and grabbed takeout from Hominy as well. Pearl'z was fantastic, and I can confirm those Hominy shrimp and grits are a thing of beauty.

Ended up going to Husk and it was very good but I don't think it merits the national hype. Also, I had the pleasure of a bartender lecture us about orgeat by telling us that "it would be usually be made with pecans, but since pecans aren't from the south we make ours with almonds." I know he just had it backwards but it still made me giggle for the rest of the weekend, and we said "pecans aren't from the south" in his same snooty demeanor every time we saw them.

In a very bizarre twist of fate, I just had an email pop in my inbox awarding me 2 tickets to the Charleston Food + Wine festival tasting on Friday. If any DR posters or lurkers are heading down there this weekend and want them, hit me up.

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We were in the Charleston area last week and visited several restaurants which are a little off the beaten path.

1. 17 North Roadside Kitchen, 3563 Highway 17 North, Mt. Pleasant: We had a very nice dinner. I started with a salad ($7) and we shared Fried Green Tomatoes ($8) and Pan-Seared Scallops ($13). The salad was fine; the tomatoes and scallops were delicious. The scallops came with braised pork and black eyed peas, and were cooked perfectly. I don’t recall ever having fried green tomatoes before, but based on these I’ll try them again the next time I see them on a menu.

For the main course I had a fried whole flounder with grits, collards, and chutney ($26). The only disappointment of the meal was the “creamy grits,” which were dry and not creamy at all. The flounder was very good.

The restaurant was clean and comfortable, and the service was excellent. Strongly recommended, if you are in that area.

2. Wild Olive Cucina Italiana, 2867 Maybank highway, Johns Island: I had a salad ($6) and baked penne with sweet sausage and red and green bell peppers ($15). The salad was fresh and tasty, and the pasta dish was good. My only complaint is that our white wine was served at too warm a temperature. Definitely a place to consider if you are on Johns Island.

3. We had lunch at the Heart Woodfire Kitchen, 1622 Highland Ave, James Island. I had the Veggie Burger ($9) with a side of Cannelini Beans. The food was good; the service was terrible. They apologized for the service, and blamed it on some folks who had not shown up for work that day. They have a nice collection of soups, salads, and woodfire oven flatbread; and some interesting beers to go with it. Another place you should consider for lunch, if you are in the area.

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We'll be in Charleston for a couple days in December. The dinners are all booked (though certainly open to changes if anyone has a great recommendation) but still deciding on lunches. Anyone has any suggestions these or other favorites? We're especially interested in recommended activities to fill the time between meals :)

dinner

F.I,G, (it's hard to get a good reservation here for Saturday night, even a month out)

HUSK

McCrady's

Charleston Grill

lunch

Hominy Grill (this one is a definite visit, probably for Sunday brunch)

Jestine's (?)

The Glass Onion (?)

The Boathouse at Breach Inlet (?)

Vickery's or The Wreck (?)

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I am very jealous of your dinner at F.I.G. There is a reason reservations are hard to get - in my opinion, it is the best restaurant in Charleston and beats the pants off any of Sean Brock's places.

I love, love, LOVE the Glass Onion. Every time I go to Charleston, I eat multiple meals there. If it were me, I would also venture out to Poe's for a burger and a beer for one of your lunches. It's a fabulous divey beachy place. I did not enjoy the food at the Boathouse at Breach Inlet, but the views cannot be beat.

There is some good shopping in Charleston, but maybe in between meals you could do some boating? Tour the Battery? There are some beautiful houses, so you could just stroll and admire. Enjoy your trip!

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Been to Charleston twice for sailing and eating. Great town. Lunch was on the water and dinner was great. We ate at Fig, Husk, Cypress and Magnolia. Fig and Husk were spectacular. December could be chilly but if you want to sail or go out on a boat, Ondeck Charleston is the place to contact.

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S.N.O.B is simply tremendous, followed by a stroll through the Battery...a very pleasant way to whittle away a few hours

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You should absolutely hit up Martha Lou's Kitchen for lunch. Last time we were there we did Jestine's, Hominy Grill and Martha Lou's for our three lunches, and Martha Lou's was our favorite of the bunch.

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I would also say Jestine's is pretty inessential. The fried chicken is living on reputation and the sides were ok but nothing life changing. Sweet people but you can find this same food done better in DC.

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I was originally planning to post back after our Charleston visit, but given the number of tremendously helpful recommendations, I do want to put in a big “THANK YOU!” to everyone now.

We’ve moved our FIG reservation to a civilized time on a Tuesday and added a SNOB dinner reservation. Prioritizing the Glass Onion and Martha Lou, and downgrading Jestine’s. We’re really looking forward to sampling the best of Charleston/Savannah.

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astrid, I don't know if you'll see this in time, but Charleston is simply gorgeous around the holidays. Charleston Place has a cool model train that is fun to see even for adults, if you are looking to pop indoors in case it's actually cold (which can happen!) Sounds like you've got the restaurants squared away; if you have time, have a drink at Husk before one of your dinners -- the bar is too neat to miss, and they have some excellent cocktails. Enjoy!

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+1 and I are very happy to make our acquaintance with Charleston. Places we visited below, from most favored to least favored.

FIG - deserves all the kudos everyone gives the place. The ricotta gnocchi with lamb Bolognese was SOOOO GOOD. As was the suckling pig, as was steak tartare, as was…we loved everything. We’re usually pretty happy with a restaurant if it can executed 2-3 things at the level that FIG sustained for our entire dinner. They managed to kick every dish up a notch, making it better than we thought it would be.

Glass Onion –The Glass Onion deliver exactly what it promises, perfectly and deliciously. To me, they serve the food equivalent of a warm and soft security blanket. Everything we tried was so warm and delicious and comforting. We had two lunches here but their menu changes daily and would have allowed for a couple more visits. If I could eat lunch here every day for the rest of my life, I would weigh 400 lbs and be very happy.

Bar at Husk – Is a really nice space, a bar space downstairs and a lounge area upstairs. The bar shares drinks but not food with the main restaurant. $9 got us a generous portion of very tasty wings. I may be biased to this side of the restaurant because both +1 and I got very enjoyable drinks here. I got a Charleston Light Dragoon’s Punch and +1 had a Brom Bones mocktail.

Husk – We really enjoyed most of the food here - the house cured meat plate, pig ear lettuce wrap, Caper’s Blade oyster with buttermilk dressing, ribs, bison short ribs, and the grits with mushroom side. But there were two misfires – the fatty doughy fried chicken skin and gritty local clams. Caper’s Blade oysters were my favorite, the gently tart buttermilk is such a good complement to the crisp oysters.

McCrady's – No complaints about the food or service, everything here was impeccably executed. However, it was not a good match of restaurant concept (upscale mature adult dining) to eaters (we’re appetizer grazers who never dress up for dinner). If our neighboring tables are any indication, this is a great place to go to celebrate a 27th wedding anniversary or build rapport with a business partner. While this was not quite our cup of tea, we can highly recommend the fish (+1 usually hates cooked fish and he liked the swordfish and grouper dishes that came with the 4 course prix fix) and anything that includes their house truffle sauce.

SNOB – SNOB serves as a good foil to FIG. Superficially, they’re pretty similar in menu and concept, but nothing we tried really went for the extra notch. Our dinner here was perfectly fine, service was fine, and the room was lovely. But there were no delightful surprises here.

Martha Lou's – It’s pink, feels very authentic, and inexpensive ($22 for two meals and two bottles of water). The chicken and porkchop were tasty but the side are ho-hum. Sorry for the Yelp link.

Hominy Grill – Our visit proved disappointing considering the reputation. The fried chicken was a bit dry and not particularly tasty, the she crab soup was just good, and shrimp and grits…I’m used to having my grits with lots more cream and cheese. It’s not bad by any means, but I would rather be at the Glass Onion.

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Non-food impressions:

The aquarium is a very pleasant way to spend a rainy afternoon. It's small, but well organized (going from the mountains to ocean) and highly interactive. They have nice educational programs at the start of each hour. The "4-D" movie is very gimmicky but kids will probably love it. You can get discounted tickets at the Charleston Costco.

Charleston Place - the train set was indeed very cool, as was the ginormous chandelier overhead.

Mepkin Abbey - a beautiful and peaceful place, though probably not worth the hour+ drive each way unless you're planning to visit other attractions nearby.

Magnolia Plantation (including the swamp) - December is definitely not as colorful as the spring photos suggest. There were lots of camellias in bloom but they don't have the color power of azaleas and rhododenrens. The swamp is pretty cool, we saw 10+ alligators on our short walk, including a cunningly concealed mama gater with her brood. In retrospect, I probably should have picked Middleton Place for a first visit.

Nearby beaches - basically deserted and very pleasant on a 60+ degree and sunny December day. Edisto Island was particularly interesting for the contrast between the posh and non-posh areas, and probably provide the best glimpse into the pre-resort Sea Islands life.

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astrid, I am so happy you enjoyed FIG and Glass Onion. I am superbly jealous of your trip to Charleston, mostly because of your meals at those two places. So much yum.

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This was my first time to Charleston, spent 5 consecutive days there. My days consisted of drinking coffee, eating lunch, taking a nap, waiting for dinner at 9PM. Prefacing all my comments with, its hard to judge somewhere by one visit, regardless of who you are, totally unfair but my thoughts for what it's worth.

Husk

Lived up to what it should be, deserves all the awards it gets.

Deviled Farm Egg with HUSK Crème Fraîche, NC Sturgeon Caviar, Chive and Crispy Bread - Great, I enjoyed mintwood place's pickled deviled eggs a touch more though.

Southern Fried Chicken Skins with Steen’s Cane Syrup and Louisiana Hot Sauce - Was my favorite course, didn't think batter was overwhelming, sweet and spicy totally worked.

Wood Fired Manchester Farms Quail with TN Foie Gras Glazed Root Vegetables and Juniper Jus - Was great, but my least memorable dish of the three.

Awesome drink list, visited the bar a couple days later, ruby's radish stood out to me. So drinkable, so different, taste like the earth in a good way.

Amen Street

She crab soup - Perfect for the weather, my first time having it so hard to compare it to anything.

Capers Blade oysters and Littleneck clams - Good, clams a big step above the oysters, too many shards in the oysters.

FIG

Best meal, HANDS DOWN. I couldn't stop raving about it to Joey. Overall experience including service and drinks made it stand out beyond anything else I had down there. Some of the best service I've had, did not make me feel like a freak for being on vacation by myself, eating four courses, alone, on a Wednesday, at 9PM. All food has that, I've seen this before, but not this well done feeling to it.

KEEGAN-FILLION FARMS CHICKEN LIVER PATÉ dijon, bread and butter pickles, brioche - so well done.

CODDLED SEA ISLAND FARM EGG stone crab, yukon potato cream, leek - perfectly cooked

THACKERY FARMS SUCKLING PIG CONFIT garden carrots, sautéed greens, mustard jus - best dish I had, pork is so overused down there (and up here, and at our restaurant), but would order that all day long.

Sorghum cake - Perfect sweetness, lighter than you would expect.

In an effort for some brevity so I can get ready for service, but not to undermine these places:

Two Boroughs Larder - I was a touch hungover so hard to stomach alot of food, Ramen was good, sweetbreads was delicious but pretty standard. Service great, while i was there, two restaurant owners, and a chef was eating there, so kind of an indication of the type of place it was.

Butcher and Bee - Love the concept, good solid sandwiches and you can see they do so many different types of concepts. Only open for lunch and late night.

McCrady's - Service was ehhh. Food was good, dish that stood out to me was dry aged duck, radishes tossed in beurre monte, duck confit. up there with the pig confit I had at FIG. odd contrast of food to decor, but I really don't have much room to talk.

Cypress - I was little disappointed by the overall experience, mainly my server really threw me for a loop. Really there to try Diehl's charcuterie, had the charcuterie plate, and the house cured meats plate. Server asked if I really just wanted to eat a bunch of cold cuts for dinner, looked at me funny when i declined the wine list and just asked for a beer. Regardless, his program is well respected and from what I tasted deservedly so and some.

Black Tap Coffee - Japanese iced coffee, DELICIOUS, want to find that here.

Steak N Shake Fredricksburg - Need I say more?!?

Tim Ma

Maple Ave Restaurant

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Boy oh boy - we went to Hominy Grill today for lunch.

I guess I'd best compare it to Preservation Hall in New Orleans- worth it, but also a "check the box" thing for tourists. So for us, it meant a decent wait in not-so-decent weather. Not their fault and we certainly had a choice... It seemed everyone else waiting was from out of town (including a woman we met from Bethesda...).

The food was very good and reasonably priced. The grits were good; clean tasting both in cheese and deep-fried options. The fried chicken had a crispy coating and was nicely cooked - moist but not dripping. The squash casserole had eggs and cheese and all kinds of rich goodness - not for those with restricted artieries (note - most preparations are NOT heavy handed like this, they are generally "clean" and devoid of excess gravy/cheese/sauce etc.) I had the eggplant sandwich and it was excellent.

The best part was how the menu was set up, allowing a plate of vegetable sides, 3 or 4 plus cornbread, to be served as an entree for under $10. This is great if you're vegetarian or vegan and allows a way to enjoy their cooking without getting a second-rate effort. It would be great if more places did this, and generally offered more side dishes that could be combined to make a meal-sized plate. The staff is efficient, friendly and knowledgable.

I'd go back but for breakfast - and get there early, especially during tourist season(s).

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