There are lots of reasons to plan a trip to Charleston. The area is full of history, the shopping is amazing, the beach is right there, but the best part, for me anyways, is the food.
We arrived around lunchtime on Monday, and luckily I was able to get a last minute reservation for us at Husk. I’ve never been to Husk, but have heard wonderful things about their Nashville location. We arrived a few minutes early, waited a few more minutes for a table, and then were sat upstairs. The restaurant is located in a restored, Victorian home. The location is beautiful. Their menu changes daily, based on what is available, and you can see their sources right when you walk in the door. They had a huge chalkboard hanging across from the hostess stand, with sources for everything from grits to sausage.
We started our lunch with the pimento cheese crostini (Grilled Crostini with TN Cheddar Pimento Cheese, House Pickle Relish, Crispy Country Ham) and they were excellent. The serving size was generous, and the pimento cheese was absolutely delicious on the grilled bread.
The last time I ordered shrimp & grits at a restaurant, I was incredibly disappointed in the dish. I ordered Husks’ shrimp & grits (Shrimp and Jimmy Red Corn Grits, Smoky Tomato Broth, Roasted Peppers and Onions, English Peas and Surry Sausage) hoping for a better experience. And I got it. Everything about this was perfect. I’ve never in my life had grits this creamy, the tomato broth was smoky, but not hot, and there was a lot more shrimp than I was expecting.
Graham ordered the Dan doodle stew (Smoky HUSK Jowl Bacon and Dan Doodle Stew with Field Peas, Carolina Gold Rice, House Made Sonora Wheat Bread) for his lunch, and it was just as delicious as the shrimp & grits. This was basically just a sausage stew, that was packed with flavor. I think I’m definitely going to attempt to recreate this at home. Luckily, we live pretty close to Surry, VA, so I should have no trouble obtaining some of the dan doodle sausages.
Every part of our lunch at Husk was excellent. I loved the decor, the service was excellent, and the food was absolutely delicious. Definitely check this place out if you’re in Charleston, or Nashville for that matter.
For our dinner that night, we had plans to eat at Edmund’s Oast. Charleston Eater named it the 2014 restaurant of the year, and our friends Stephen and Heather recommended it, and since they’re the reason I can call myself a foodie, I decided to give it a shot. And although our evening got off to a shaky start, the food more than made up for it. We had a 9:00 reservation, since we had a late lunch, and arrived at the restaurant about 8:50. The place was packed, so any hope of getting a table a few minutes early went out the window. The hostess annoyed me. When someone called to confirm our reservation earlier that day, they asked if we would be okay with the chef’s counter. Since they knew it was our anniversary, they wanted to check. I told her no, that I wanted a more intimate table. We get there, and the hostess tries to sit us at the counter. Time passed, and a huge party that walked in with no reservation got sat before us (I understand that they’re not going to sit two people at a table for ten, but it’s still annoying). I guess my bitch face was pretty intimidating, because a manager/owner (no clue since he didn’t introduce himself) came over, apologized, and offered us a drink on the house. I had a glass of champagne, Graham had a PB&J beer, and a few minutes later, we finally got a table.
And yes, I said PB&J beer. Since I don’t drink beer, this place was kind of wasted on me. But to all of you beer lovers out there, DEFINITELY at least stop in for a drink. The restaurant is named for Edmund Egan, the rebel brewer. He was an English-born brewer who came to Charleston in the 1760’s. He became successful, and donated money to the American Revolution, earning him his nickname. They have 40ish beers on tap, some brewed in-house, and an impressive wine list. The decor is absolutely beautiful. It’s rustic and charming, and I was instantly in love with the light fixtures.
Our dinner started with a small charcuterie board. All of the butchering is done on site, and since you see meat curing when you walk in, trying it felt like the thing to do. I honestly can not remember what meats we sampled. All I know is the one in the middle (the one with the lemon wedge on it) was my favorite. It was sprinkled with salt, drizzled with oil, and melted in your mouth. The meat was served with bread, house made mustard, a small amount of cheese and some house smoked nuts.
Graham had the New York Strip for his entrée. It was served with greens, turnips, smoked potatoes, meyer lemon, slow poached farm egg, and labneh. I can’t stand runny eggs, so I didn’t get to try any of the greens, but the steak and the potatoes were incredibly delicious. The meat was more flavorful than any other steak I’ve had in recent memory. I had never had labneh before, and wasn’t sure what to expect. It didn’t really add anything to the dish, though.
In my opinion, my dinner was the clear winner. This dish isn’t currently on the menu, so I don’t remember exactly what it all was, but it was effing amazing. It was sea bass with laciento kale and farrotto (farro risotto) with cabbage & onions. Everything on this place was amazing. This was one of those meals I never, ever wanted to end. The fish was flaky and perfectly cooked, the kale was different than the kale I’ve had at home, but still delicious. But the farrotto. Oh. My. God. Amazing. As soon as we were in the parking lot, I had my phone out, reading more about farro and planning to recreate this at home.
Dessert was good, but nothing incredible. We went with the chewy fudge brownies, which were served with Italian meringue, graham cracker crumble, and salted sorghum caramel. While this was good, I honestly think my salted caramel brownies are better.
So, while we got off to a rocky start, the food turned our experience around. Everything was so delicious. The service was mediocre, but not bad. The atmosphere was a little loud, but otherwise pretty good. If you’re unable to get a dinner reservation, at least stop by for a drink!
The next morning, we headed to Mt. Pleasant to check out Boone Hall Plantation. Since we were out that way, we decided to have lunch in the area. I did a Yelp! search to find out what was near us, and stumbled on Crave Kitchen & Cocktails. Over the years of reading Christina’s blog (Hungry Meets Healthy), I remembered her mentioning this place several times, and decided to check it out.
We ordered way too much food for two people, but oh well. According to their menu, they are famous for their mac and cheese (The most award winning Mac & Cheese in the country! Chef Landen uses 10 year, cave aged, sharp cheddar with cavatappi pasta and a few secret ingredients), so naturally we both wanted to check it out. I didn’t want only mac and cheese though, so we ordered that for us to share, and Graham went with the blackened fish tacos (pan-seared, blackened white fish with three warm flour tortillas with shredded cabbage, diced tomatoes, red onions, and house-made Chipotle Mayonnaise), and I had the grilled chicken wrap (grilled all natural chicken breast, lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, cucumber, and avocado).
The mac and cheese was some of the best I’ve ever had. Macaroni and cheese should not be baked, people! It should be this! A bowl of cheesy, creamy, deliciousness. Their menu proclaims it is the most award-winning mac and cheese in the country, so if you’re ever in the area, you absolutely have to try it. You can get it “plain”, like we did, or you can meat or seafood to it. If we ever find ourselves in Mt. Pleasant again, I want this with bacon & scallops.
My wrap was okay. It was supposed to come with avocado, and it didn’t (#sadpanda), but it was good. Since I don’t care for mayonnaise, I ordered it without it, so it was a little dry. The avocado would have fixed that, but oh well. Luckily I had a salad with my wrap, and chose the bacon vinaigrette for the dressing. Holy crap, it was good! I never use much dressing on my salads, but I wanted to eat this up with a spoon! The salad was surprisingly delicious as well. I never expect much from side salads, so this was a pleasant surprise.
Overall, it was a good experience. Good food. Nice to get away from the crowded streets of Charleston for a little bit. We got there as soon as they opened, so since we had the place all to ourselves, the service was pretty excellent.
For our last good meal of the trip, we celebrated our anniversary at Slightly North of Broad. Every time any one asks for restaurant recommendations in Charleston, this place ALWAYS comes up. And after eating there, I understand why. We had 8:00 reservations, and were given a table pretty quickly. I fell in love with the interior of the restaurant. I loved the open kitchen, the exposed brick wall and the huge beam running through the dining area.
At Edmund’s Oast, we had ordered the charcuterie board, so I decided for this dinner, we would start with a cheese tray. Once again, I can not remember the specifics about any of these cheeses. One was obviously a bleu, one was a Wisconsin brie, and the last one (which was actually my favorite), I can’t remember at all. I want to say it was Spanish. (They had given us complimentary champagne to toast with, and it went straight to my head!) The cheeses were served with nuts, grapes, strawberries, apples and sliced baguette. I enjoyed trying the cheeses with the bread and with different fruits. I loved eating the brie with the fresh strawberries, and the spanish with the apple slices.
Graham had the pork chop for his dinner. It was served with crispy confit potatoes, cabbage, sorghum & whole grain mustard glaze. While he was eating this, he gave me pretty much the best compliment ever. He said that dinners like this don’t blow his mind anymore, because the food I make at home is so delicious. While that made me super smiley, his pork chop was so delicious. It was moist and had so much flavor.
Once again, I think my dinner was the clear winner. I had the pan seared scallops with butter beans, grilled okra, tomato ham hock broth. After my horrible scallop experience at Savoy 1620 in Little Rock, I’m always apprehensive about ordering them out at restaurants. This dish did not disappoint. At Savoy, they gave me one scallop, thinly sliced into 4 pieces. Here, I had four huge, beautiful scallops. They were perfectly cooked, and everything came together so perfectly. Even though I was born and raised in the south, I’ve never liked okra until recently. I still hate it when it’s fried, but it’s delicious grilled and roasted. The relish on top of this dish though was a definite surprise. It was sweet and a little bit spicy, and so, so good.
Since it was our anniversary, getting dessert was a must. We asked the server for a recommendation, and she raved about the sour cream apple pie, so we went with that. It was a huge slice of pie, and it was so delicious. The crumble on top was my favorite part.
Our dinner at SNOB ended our time in Charleston on high note. Everything was amazing, and the service was excellent. It’s easy to see why this is a favorite Charleston restaurant to so many people. It was the perfect place to celebrate our relationship.
So, there we have it. Two days of delicious meals in Charleston. Can I go back now? Please? There is an Air Force base there…