I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the restaurants in Charleston were using locally made products, meats, and produce. There were quite a few farm to table places to eat in the city. We tried to sample as many of the “Lowcountry” foods as possible. We tend to split appetizers and entrée’s when we travel so we get to try more of the local favorites!
Sunday we had our first dinner at the Lowcountry Bistro . We shared an appetizer of Fried Green Tomatoes with Pimento Cheese Grits and for dinner, we split the Chicken and Waffles entrée. I love fried green tomatoes, my friend had never had them before. She liked them, but it wasn’t something she was ever going to crave. I was shocked that she did not care for the pimento cheese! I am not entirely sure if it was the grits or the cheese she had an issue with but either way, I was happy to finish the plate. Our dinner entrée was divine! Crispy chicken on a sweet potato waffle topped with pecan butter and a luscious bourbon reduction syrup. Heaven on a plate, sweet, salty, and crunchy….
Monday we went to Sullivan’s Island for dinner. We took the advice of one of the shopkeepers and had drinks and an appetizer at Salt before heading over to Poe’s for dinner. The heavy thunderstorms of the afternoon gave way to a gentle rain, it was so nice to sit outside on a covered rooftop bar and enjoy an appetizer and drink. At Salt we each had a lovely glass of cold, crisp, acidic white wine and shared a bowl of their smoky corn soup with a truffle drizzle. It was so good! I know, honestly, what kind of people share a bowl of soup? We do…..
At Poe’s we shared an appetizer of tortilla chips with pico de gallo and guacamole and split one of their awesome house ground hamburgers. We went with the Gold Bug Plus burger with Sweet Pepper Goat Cheese and a side of fries. I am so glad we shared the burger, it was HUGE!
Tuesday for lunch we went to the Magnolia Restaurant , my friend had their Buffalo Chicken Cobb Salad and I had the Fried Green Tomato BLT with Pimento Cheese. It was nice, the food was good, not great, but the service was definitely lacking. Our waiter bordered on rude and I felt that we were rushed through our lunch. Perhaps they get busy later in the day and needed the table, but honestly, I am glad we went for lunch and didn’t waste our money on dinner.
Tuesday evening we had a drink at the Star Rooftop Bar because we heard it had a great view of the city. I wasn’t that impressed with the view, too many buildings in the way. Because we stopped there before dinner, the sun was up, therefore, there was barely any shade to be had. Our bartender was a nice young man but he made us the single worst martini’s I have ever had. I finished half of it and left the rest of my drink.
That night we were in the mood for some BBQ so we googled and found ourselves at Queology near the city market. They had some great reviews and had just been featured on the Food Network. The menu is a bit limited and the drink selection is slim but it was so delicious! I had the BBQ Pork Taco’s and my friend had their Pulled Pork Sandwich. It was exactly what we needed for dinner that night!
Wednesday we went to Eli’s Table for lunch and had the BEST chicken salad I have ever had in my life. The chicken was all white meat and achingly tender. It had just the right amount of mayo and a slight sweetness from the dried cranberries. I had a scoop on a lovely green salad dressed in a light honey champagne vinaigrette while my friend choose the wrap with a side of kettle chips. We were so hot from our walking tour, our poor waiter took one look at our faces and brought us two very large glasses of water, which he refilled before even taking our lunch order. The service was impeccable and the food was wonderful.
Wednesday was our best food day of the entire trip. The lunch at Eli’s was terrific and for dinner, we went to Fig. We shared their appetizer of ricotta gnocchi in a grass-fed Bolognese sauce. The dinner entrée’s didn’t appeal to either of us so we each followed up the appetizer with salads, she had their nine vegetable salad in a house made caesar dressing while I had the heirloom tomato salad. I am now completely and totally craving garden tomatoes and mine are about a month away from being ripe. It was the only time that week we had dessert, we split the chocolate espresso cake with homemade mint ice cream. It was to die for!
Thursday after the beach we just wanted something quick and local. Neither of us felt like driving into downtown and searching out a parking spot. We googled restaurants close to our hotel and found a great little mexican place La Nortena. We both had their combination plates – I had one an Al Pastor burritos and a barbacoa enchilada in salsa verde. My friend had a pulled chicken taco on a homemade tortilla and a beef enchilada in a red sauce. Our dinners came with a plate of pico de gallo, guacamole, mexican rice, refried beans, and sour cream. We each had a margarita and had to roll ourselves our the door. They gave you enough food to feed a family of four. Our server was new, but the manager made sure everything was to our satisfaction. It was a hole in the wall place with warm, friendly service and great food. You can’t ask for anything better.
Friday we had lunch at Husk, it bills itself as a celebration of southern ingredients. They have a new menu daily, for both lunch and dinner. There is a chalkboard when you walk in that lists where all of the ingredients for the days dishes came from – all of the produce, cheese, meats, breads, you name it. All of them were fresh and local. We had tried to get reservations for dinner but they are booked for the next month. I am so glad we were able to grab a table for lunch. We each had their fried chicken BLT with Duke’s mayo, country bacon, fried boneless chicken thighs, ripe tomatoes, and bibb lettuce. All served on a homemade roll with house made ketchup to dip the fries. It was heaven at first bite. It was hands down the most tender, flavorful chicken I have ever eaten. The combination of the fried chicken with the smokey bacon, the sweetness of the tomato and the tender bite of the lettuce was out of this world. We shared a bowl of grilled summer courgettes with wood fired sweet onions and heirloom tomatoes. The squash was perfectly cooked, the onions and tomatoes were slightly smoky, and I loved that the herb was tarragon – it gave the dish a nice licorice bite.
Lunch had filled us so much that we weren’t interested in a big dinner. We hit up the wine bar Bin 152 in the French Quarter Section of the city. The staff was friendly and gave us fantastic recommendations on the wine, cheese, and charcuterie! We each had two glasses on wine, one white, one red, and shared a plate of thinly sliced salami and a beautiful soft chevre style cheese made with cow, goat, and sheep’s milk. Last year we ended our trip in Denver at a wine bar and while we didn’t plan it, we ended our trip this time the same way. Our original plan was to have drinks and appetizers at the wine bar followed by a light dinner but we found the meat and cheese was exactly what we needed for dinner.
All in all, we had great meals in Charleston! There were so many other places that were recommended to us that we just didn’t get to, I guess this means we have to go back again.