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BRUThe N IssueCH

a Charleston City Paper publication

Fall 2021 || F   ree


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CHECK OUT OUR NEW FOOTBALL BITES MENU!


4 || DISH || Fall 2021

Big Bad Breakfast serves up a classic take on chicken and waffles Publisher: Andy Brack

editorial Editor: Sam Spence Cuisine Editor: Parker Milner Contributing Editors: Herb Frazier, Chelsea Grinstead, Michael Smallwood Staff Writer: Skyler Baldwin Web Editor: Samantha Connors Contributors: Stephanie Barna, Susan Cohen, Suzanne Cohen, Katherine Connor, Eric Doksa, Robert Donovan, Kinsey Gidick, Allston McCrady, Robert F. Moss, Melissa Tunstall, Vanessa Wolf, Mary Scott Hardaway Intern: Janene Poole

sales Advertising Director: Cris Temples Account Executives: Hollie Anderson Kristin Byars Ashley Frantz Lauren Kesmodel Tony Rhone Sales Assistant: Melissa Veal

design Art Director: Scott Suchy Production Director: Déla O’Callaghan Graphic Designer: Christina Bailey Staff Photographer: Rūta Smith Rūta Smith

Charleston is filled with so many great breakfast and brunch restaurants that we knew we had to recognize some of our favorites in Dish, the Charleston City Paper’s quarterly dining guide. Well, we took it one step further this quarter by releasing an entire brunch-themed edition featuring stories about the spots making waves in the breakfast game. We still pulled together our list of Top 50 restaurants, but you’ll also find the origin story of a whimsical Westside favorite, the secret to all-vegan morning eats at a North Charleston newcomer and how one longtime local chef is

putting his authentic spin on Sunday brunch. Check out these stories and so much more in this edition of Dish, a celebration of the most important meal of the day. —Parker Milner

inside (p6)

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Start your day with plant-based eats from Vined The Vegan Experience

How Daps became a downtown fixture

Chicken and waffles 5 ways

Sunday staples meet weekly one-offs at Maya Del Sol Kitchen’s brunch

Plant Power

‘It’s Just Breakfast’

(p18)

The Dish Top 50 Our top restaurants in Charleston for Fall 2021

Just Add Syrup

(p46)

Charleston’s Takeout Favorites Great Local Grab & Go Favorites — a special advertising section

Fleeting Favorites

(p50)

Try This Chef Caitlin Schumacher shares her recipe for a maple bacon walnut tart

distribution Circulation Team: Jesse Craig, Chris Glenn, Robert Hogg, David Lampley, John Melnick, Tashana Remsburg, Tony Rhone Published by City Paper Publishing, LLC Members: J. Edward Bell • Andrew C. Brack

o  n the cover Pancakes at Daps Breakfast and Imbibe, photographed by Rūta Smith. Dish is a publication of the Charleston City Paper and is published quarterly by City Paper Publishing, LLC. All content is copyrighted and the property of City Paper Publishing, LLC. Charleston City Paper P.O. Box 21942 Charleston, SC 29413 (843) 577-5304 charlestoncitypaper.com


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6 || DISH || Fall 2021

Plant POWER

Start your day with plant-based eats from Vined The Vegan Experience By Elise DeVoe

Vined The Vegan Experience is serving up plant-based comfort food in North Charleston daily. And for a vegan take on the classic Southern breakfast, there’s no better place than Vined, which opened in July. “We wanted to stay within Southern cuisine. I believed that these items would be a hit because we enjoy it, so we wanted to spread it because we can’t get the traditional versions anymore,” said owner Christian Keith, describing dishes like shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles and a breakfast

burrito, all of which are completely vegan. For Keith, transitioning to a vegan diet was relatively easy, she said. “I always cooked, and then when I went vegan it was kind of like, ‘OK, what do we eat?’ There wasn’t much to choose from,” she said. “I tapped into my old recipes and

Photos by Rūta Smith

Vined's Pop-Fil-A sandwich won't leave you missing the original

Christian Keith blends Southern cooking into Vined's vegan specialties


just eliminated the meat and veganized it, and that’s how Vined was born.” When you visit Vined in the morning, you’ll find vegan staples and daily specials. For starters, Vined’s breakfast burrito defies the notion that vegan food is not as filling as traditional animal proteins. “The breakfast burrito starts out with a potato hash. We layer that with grilled onions and bell peppers,” Keith said. “We then also put sauteed mushrooms, eggs, which is the vegan ‘Just Egg,’ topped with homemade guacamole and salsa. Wrap it up, cut it in half, and there’s the breakfast burrito.” The chicken and waffles is another dish made completely inhouse. Keith swaps chicken for “vings,” her rendition of a boneless chicken wing made from cauliflower. Instead of including a dipping sauce, she seasons the vings to resemble a dry-rubbed boneless wing before pairing with a homemade waffle. And for another dish that bridges the gap between breakfast and dinner, check out Vined’s vegan shrimp and grits. “With the shrimp and grits, the shrimp is made from a pea protein, and of course we season it to taste like shrimp,” Keith said. “We use a blend of spices, but then you have to have seaweed to give the shrimp the sea taste. Then I do the grits and top it with a gravy from scratch that we pour into it and top with a little bit of green onion." “I don’t put any butter in the grits at all because I believe the gravy takes over the whole profile, so nothing else is needed extra inside the grits,” Keith added. While the new restaurant has found a group of core regulars, Keith hopes to attract more customers, vegan or not. “We strive to serve dishes that keep you close to home and that you probably grew up on. We have definitely seen a huge influx of people who come in who aren’t plantbased, aren’t vegetarians. They enjoy meat, but they enjoy the flavors, so they like coming,” Keith said. “I think a lot of people still aren’t aware that we’re here and we’re open for all three meals because most vegan spots pick two meals, so they’re not open all day 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week like we are,” Keith said. “The momentum is picking up since we’ve been open. The word is spreading."

A Sanctuary of Sorts

“We strive to serve dishes that keep you close to home and that you probably grew up on."

Looks like chicken and waffles, right? (It's cauliflower.)

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SMOOTHIES • JUICES • BOWLS • BITES


8 || DISH || Fall 2021

‘It’s Just Breakfast’ Rūta Smith

How Daps became a downtown fixture By Parker Milner

D 

aps Breakfast & Imbibe has risen to the top of Charleston lists and guides since opening in March 2018, guiding visitors toting luggage and bachelorette garb from short-term rentals northward, across the Crosstown Expressway to downtown’s Westside neighborhood. It’s not just the Fruity Pebble pancakes and breakfast burritos that are speaking to folks; Daps’ convivial, carefree atmosphere has Charlestonians in sweats saddling up next to nosey New Yorkers for unapologetically not-Southern breakfast plates and frosty canned mimosas. “We didn’t want to do what everyone else does for brunch. And we weren’t really sure what the space was going to turn into. There was nothing around here at the time, and we didn’t even know if we were going to be able to generate enough foot traffic,” said co-owner Jeremiah Schenzel. “All we were definite about is we are serving

breakfast, and we will not serve biscuits and we will not serve grits … and we’ll have mimosas on tap.” A peek at Daps’ menu will show Schenzel and co-owner Nick Dowling have achieved those goals. Hearty breakfast sandwiches on house-made English muffins take the place of biscuits, and potato hash topped with poutine or Holy City Hogs pork will make you forget you’re missing your morning grits. And there are also 12-ounce cans of 8.5% alcohol by volume mimosas, including a rosé iteration made in collaboration with The Co-Op. The journey to get here, however, was anything but straightforward. “I used to live in the house right across the street with my now wife, and this building used to look like it was going to fall down,” Schenzel said. “It was just in shambles, and we used to look at it and go, ‘Man I wish someone would do something with that.’ ”

"We didn’t want to do what everyone else does for brunch. All we were definite about is we are serving breakfast, and we will not serve biscuits and we will not serve grits … and we’ll have mimosas on tap.” —Jeremiah Schenzel, Co-Owner

Schenzel realized he could sign what’s called a letter of intent (LOI) on the property without the risk of putting money down, so he did, admitting he “honestly forgot about it” — until there was a sign on the building saying the landlord was looking to lease it out. continued on page 10


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10 || DISH || Fall 2021

Daps from page 8

Photos by Rūta Smith

Daps co-owners Nick Dowling (left) and Jeremiah Schenzel (right) turn out fun takes on breakfast standards at their Westside restaurant

Schenzel was working as the beverage director for Indigo Road Hospitality at the time, and Dowling was at High Wire Distilling making gin and bourbon. They decided it was time to take a chance on a breakfast concept they’d casually discussed in the past. “I was literally running Jimmy Red out of the still, and he calls me and basically tells me all about the LOI and was like, ‘What do you think about that breakfast idea we had?’” Dowling recalled. After signing a lease on the 280 Ashley Ave. property, Dowling and Schenzel got to work, renovating the place themselves while perfecting pancake recipes and popping up around town to introduce Daps to Charleston. During this time, their mantra became, “It’s just breakfast,” a theme that hints at the gowith-the-flow mentality the duo had prior to opening. “That kind of turned into our running joke because we were like if people don’t like it, it’s just breakfast,” Schenzel said. It might just be breakfast, but Dowling and Schenzel realized Charlestonians take the morning meal seriously their first weekend in spring 2018, when they sold out before noon on Saturday and then again on Sunday. Fast forward two years, and the duo found themselves in a similar position, despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This time, however, plates of Daps pancakes were leaving in takeout boxes. “We were really lucky because we put a lot of effort into takeout food the last year before the pandemic,” said Dowling, recalling a weekend when they filled a record number of orders. “We had signed up for Uber Eats [and] our POS system literally that March had just started offering online ordering, so we were able to open up that platform for people.” The continued success of their takeout program led Dowling and Shenzel to expand their kitchen, sacrificing inside tables to allow for a more efficient kitchen. “It’s awesome to have people in here and throw that Daps party every week,” Schenzel said. “We’re still a small restaurant. We want people in here, but we don’t want those people taking up so much time that other things start to get lost.” That success has led to expansion discussions, but don’t expect a Daps in your neighborhood. Instead, the duo plans to bring their most popular packaged product to distribution. “Finding another hole-in-the-wall neighborhood house that’s falling down because of termites is hard to come by now — we’re past that opportunity,” Dowling said. “Starting this fall, we’ll be taking our mimosas to distribution.” The “O.G.” mimosa will be the first to hit South Carolina stores, bars and restaurants. Moving forward, Daps will introduce an entire “fruit gang” to the market — that means grapefruit, pineapple, raspberry and peach canned mimosas, all of which will be force-carbonated and have a 5-to-1 ratio of dry white wine to juice, just like the original. “The recipe changed probably three times since we first opened,” said Dowling, adding that they use orange bitters to make the O.G. “We modified it a couple times and just got further and further away from sweetness and really just tried to bump up the orange f lavor without actually putting a ton of orange juice in it.” In many ways, a diligent rethink of a beverage that’s an afterthought at most restaurants epitomizes Daps Breakfast & Imbibe. To put it in Schenzel’s words: “We don’t try to fit ourselves in this box.” “We’ve always said we’re a neighborhood spot, and I still think we strive for that all the time. Having a local following speaks to the authenticity that we try to preach across the board,” he said. “Consistency is obviously one of the most important things with breakfast because that’s what brings the regulars back but also consistency in experience. I think that’s what’s driving people here. We don’t fit a model. Daps is Daps, and that’s the only way to explain it.”


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12 || DISH || Fall 2021

Just Add Syrup Chicken and waffles 5 ways

C 

By Parker Milner

hicken and waffles may be the one dish that bridges the gap between breakfast and dinner. According to culinary historian John T. Edge, chicken and waffles was created by enslaved Africans who paired thin and crispy waffles made using rice-flour batter with fried chicken and preserves. The modern-day version of the dish first showed up in the 1930s at Well’s Super Club in Harlem, and it later made its way to Roscoe’s in California in the 1970s. Today, chicken and waffles is a staple in the Lowcountry, where chefs are putting unique spins on the classic dish — we even found a vegan version. Whether you’re new to chicken and waffles or looking for the next spot to try it out, the City Paper has you covered with five different preparations of this local favorite.

Classic

James Beard Award-winning chef and Big Bad Breakfast founder John Currence called the chicken and waffles at his Meeting Street restaurant — one of eight locations across the South — a “complete journalistic disappointment.” But you can’t beat a classic, right? Currence based his recipe on the one served at Roscoe’s back in the 1970s. “As I understood it, they served both fried chicken and waffles separately, Big Bad Breakfast and the two dishes eventually migrated serves a classic together. We are little more than shamechicken and less followers of that cult of taste,” waffles based Currence said. “It was not a dish that was on the original, on our original menu, but we made really served at Roscoe's good fried chicken. We’re using a family in the ’70s waffle recipe that was leavened with egg whites, so they were exceptionally light and crispy. We use a warm blend of corn syrup and molasses, so eventually we just decided to fall in line with the fad.”


Spicy At 60 Bull Cafe, executive chef Joel Vetsch adds an unexpected spice to his chicken and waff les. “We make a fresh batch of waffle batter every Saturday morning for brunch and hand-batter and deep fry the chicken to order,” Vetsch said. “[It’s] topped with house-made curry-candied pecans and diced Granny Smith apples and a blend of equal parts local honey and sriracha.” The savory batter and hint of curry set 60 Bull’s chicken and waffles apart from sweeter takes on the dish, Vetsch said. “When I came up with the dish, I had been trying a lot of sweet chicken and waff les around town,” he said. “[I] was trying to lean ours to the more savory side while also incorporating the sweetness, and voila!”

Sandwich-style Fast-casual fried chicken destination Boxcar Betty’s, which has locations in West Ashley, Mount Pleasant and North Charleston, serves chicken and waffles sandwich-style. OK, so there’s no actual waffle, but Boxcar Betty’s “Chicken Not So Waffle” delivers on all the flavors you’d expect from the dish, with bacon jam, maple syrup and pimento cheese joining fried or grilled chicken inside a buttery bun.

Almost-famous West Ashley’s Early Bird Diner has been known for its chicken and Clockwise from top: waffles since Guy Fieri stopped by Early Bird Diner, the Savannah Highway eatery for Vined The Vegan an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, Experience and and Dives. According to Fieri, “the 60 Bull each offer savory, sweet, crunchy and salty” different takes on sensations from the chicken and chicken and waffles waffles “seem so wrong, but are just so right.” The almost-famous chicken and waffles really are different from anything you’ll find in the Lowcountry. Crispy pecan-crusted chicken rests on top of a cinnamon-spiced waffle, and both are doused with a generous helping of honey mustard barbecue sauce and maple syrup. It’s salty, sweet, crunchy perfection. Oh, and want to know the best part? Chicken and waffles are listed on the breakfast menu, available all-day, six days a week — whenever Early Bird is open.

Photos by Rūta Smith

Vegan

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Don’t worry — we didn’t forget our vegan City Paper readers. Vined The Vegan Experience owner Christian Keith swaps chicken for cauliflower “vings” at her new North Charleston restaurant. “I make the waffles from scratch, and of course we use our vings, which is our rendition of a boneless chicken wing, but we use cauliflower,” Keith said. “Instead of dipping it in the sauce, we just season it to resemble a chicken, and we pair it with the waffle.”


14 || DISH || Fall 2021

By Parker Milner

 D Sunday staples meet weekly one-offs at Maya del Sol Kitchen’s brunch

on’t be surprised when you walk into Maya del Sol Kitchen on a Sunday to the savory aroma of rosemary, an ingredient that’s not often the star of the show during brunch. But in chef/owner Raul Sanchez’s small kitchen, half a pound of the fragrant herb is used to make just 10 orders of his famed rosemary pancakes, a family recipe. “Nobody has an idea what they’re getting until they’re in front of them,” Sanchez said. “They’re loaded with [rosemary], but it’s not overpowering. Again, it’s just bringing family recipes to the table.” Along with the rosemary, the recipe — which Sanchez credits to his mother — calls for flour, sweetened condensed milk, dulce de leche, cinnamon, vanilla and other spices. It’s one of two dishes that earned a permanent spot on the Maya del Sol brunch menu. “Family recipes are developed many years ago, and they start to die over time unless there’s someone in the family that cooks,” Sanchez said. Honoring his family recipes and developing his own has been the mission for Sanchez since opening Raul’s Taqueria and continued on page 16

Photos by Rūta Smith

Chilaquiles with eggs

The signature rosemary pancakes are topped with a sweet, creamy glaze


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16 || DISH || Fall 2021

Chorizo, egg and potato breakfast burrito (above)

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Maya from page 14

Mexican Grill in 2011 at the intersection of Rivers Avenue and Remount Road in North Charleston. That restaurant, along with a subsequent Park Circle location, were based on the country-style Mexican cuisine he grew up with in Chicago. “I was born and raised in Chicago — Mexican parents, both were chefs — so I’ve been in the food world ever since I can remember,” Sanchez told the Charleston City Paper in February. “My parents didn’t want us to get into the food world obviously, but I’m the only one from eight who did.” At Maya del Sol, Sanchez delivers his family-style cuisine in a chef ’s-tasting format, meaning the menu changes weekly. At brunch, served Sundays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., the menu is inspired by weekly grocery stops and “whatever inspires me to cook,” Sanchez said. “The customers get excited because they don’t know what the rest of the menu is going to look like, and neither do I until Monday afternoon, when I’m done with my shopping,” he said. Recently, a platter of carnitas hit the midday menu after an inspirational trip to the market. “I went out shopping, and they had Boston butt and ribs on sale. It just brought me back that I hadn’t made carnitas in a long time,” said Sanchez, who was pleased with the final result. “To me just looking at the plate, that’s exactly what I thought when I saw those pieces of meat on sale.” While the majority of Sanchez’s weekly brunch menu is curated the week of service, the rosemary pancakes aren’t the only Sunday staple. “Everybody in Mexico knows chilaquiles their way. Everybody in Mexico has a recipe,” said Sanchez, describing the classic breakfast

Photos by Rūta Smith

dish in which fried corn tortilla chips are topped with sauce, cheese and other toppings. “The cheese and the onions is what’s so traditional to eat them with, and it’s also traditional to eat with eggs and steak. It just depends on where you’re at.” For Sanchez, the key to chilaquiles is fresh homemade tortilla chips. He simmers his in a sauce filled with garlic, oregano and other spices before topping with fresh onions, steak, eggs and queso fresco. “To me, that’s like Mexican comfort food,” he said. Sanchez leaves most of his marketing efforts up to word-of-mouth. While the pandemic has made this a challenge, folks are slowly starting to wander in for brunch on Sundays. “Every week someone walks in for lunch or brunch. Little by little the word is getting out,” Sanchez said. “The response has been great, and dinner’s the same way. The fact that I see new people and old faces on a weekly basis is making it worthwhile.”


Stylishly Southern. Overlooking Marion Square.

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GabrielleDining.com | 844.713.0404 | 404 King St. Charleston, SC 29403


18 || DISH || Fall 2021

Rūta Smith file photo

Small bites at Estadio


Our go-to restaurants for everything from decadent to down-home fare It’s not easy to pick the 50 best restaurants in town. When nearly a dozen new places open every six months, we’re constantly weighing which are most deserving of this list. But ultimately it comes down to the same criteria, whether we’re going for upscale or more affordable fare. From a sumptuous steak in a four-star dining room to a fancy hot dog down the street, we want to see the cook’s dedication to putting something delicious on the plate. We’re looking for authenticity, quality and care. When someone comes to us asking for a recommendation, these are the places we don’t hesitate to send them. We’ve organized the restaurants in alphabetical order.

ingredients are always local. Want to get in and out quickly? Babas has its own app for easy online ordering. If you’re staying awhile, you’ll find it to be the type of place where the employees want to know your name and remember your order. Babas’ ability to maintain that comfortable neighborhood vibe while keeping customers’ safety front of mind is truly a work of art. With a welcoming space and the food to match, Babas on Cannon delivers on its promise to mimic an old world European cafe. —Parker Milner

167 Raw

For more than a dozen years, Mount Pleasant’s Bacco has successfully pulled off the idea of that fabled “neighborhood Italian place” you hear about in other cities: small, friendly service with straightforward Southern Italian food that creates regulars out of customers. Start your meal with the fire-roasted olives, warm multi-varietal and multi-textured olives straight out of the wood burning oven. The insalata di polpo, tender braised and grilled octopus, is a highlight of the antipasti. The Italian focused cocktail menu is no slouch with a barrel-aged negroni and the Ficcho Bello, a fizzy drink with fig infused vodka with rosemary and cherry bitters. The primi course is where chef Michael Scognamiglio shines. The gnocchi bolognese are little airy pillows tossed in meaty bolognese and the Risi e Bisi is a buttery parmesan packed risotto with peas and pancetta. If you’ve made it this far the secondi course serves up dishes like beefy tomato and red wine braised meatballs with polenta, an Italian take on chicken cordon bleu and sausage and peppers that would make your Nona proud. —Robert Donovan

SEAFOOD

Moderate Downtown. 193 King St. (843) 579-4997 167raw.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

Surrounded by high-end boutiques, swanky inns, antique stores and art galleries, 167 Raw’s King Street home sits along a quiet stretch of storefronts. The restaurant still boasts the same lineup of New England bivalves and lobstah rolls that were muchlauded at its original (teeny) East Bay spot. The first floor of the ever-so-charming 19th century building is long and narrow, with original brick walls and a new walnut bar. Bar vet Teddy Nixon is behind the long bar, shaking up the good stuff, while owners Jesse Sandole and Darren Harrison-Panes, donning matching aqua hues, greet regulars at the door. Even with four times (at least) as much seating as the original space, 167 Raw gets packed. Arrive early to tuck into your 10-hour carnitas taco and bay scallops in stud butter. —Mary Scott Hardaway

Babas on Cannon EUROPEAN

Babas on Cannon is one of those places that truly does everything well, even more impressive when you glance at its expansive daily menu. There’s strong espresso, baked goods, avocado toast, salads and sandwiches during the day followed by small bites and aperitifs later at night. Nearly everything is house-made — from peanut milk to banana bread topped with flaky sea salt — and the

ITALIAN

Moderate Mount Pleasant. 976 Houston Northcutt Blvd. (843) 884-6969 baccocharleston.com Serving Lunch (Tues.-Fri.), Dinner (Tues.–Sat.)

Basic Kitchen CAFE

Moderate Downtown. 82 Wentworth St. (843) 789-4568 basickitchen.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.), Weekend Brunch

In a city filled with hearty Southern cuisine, sometimes it’s tricky to find a flavorful, light meal. Not so at Basic Kitchen — according to co-owner Ben Towill, that has been exactly continued on page 20

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Moderate Downtown. 11 Cannon St. (843) 284-6260 babasoncannon.com Serving Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (Tues.-Sun.)

Bacco


20 || DISH || Fall 2021

Top 50 Top 50 from page 19

the goal since opening the restaurant with his wife Kate in 2017. “We want to provide massive flavor and a meal that’s hearty but still feels light.” Since taking over as Basic Kitchen executive chef in 2020, Charlie Layton has homed in on this mission by creating more wholesome dishes that highlight vegetables from local purveyors. BK’s lunch menu is divided into small plates, bowls, salads, sandwiches and sweets. As for dinner selections, Towill says, “We wanted to narrow our focus by adding more classical entrees, and Nathan Wentworth has enhanced our wine program by making it all natural, biodynamic wines.” —Parker Milner

Bertha’s Kitchen SOUL FOOD

Inexpensive Downtown. 2332 Meeting Street Road. (843) 554-6519 Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Fri.)

Head up Meeting Street until you see a twostory robin’s egg blue building with purple trim and a line stretching out the door. The Southern soul food platters here are so tasty, generous and inexpensive, that the line starts forming well before they open for lunch. Businessmen, laborers and far-flung tourists alike shuffle through the quick cafeteria-style service counter loaded with a smorgasbord of meat and threes, such as fried pork chops, fish specials, yams, stewed greens, home-style mac-and-cheese, limas nestled with smoked turkey necks, dark roux okra soup, moist cornbread and fried chicken better than anyone’s Grandma ever made. —Allston McCrady

Bistronomy by Nico FRENCH

Expensive Downtown. 64 Spring St. (843) 410-6221 bistronomybynico.com Serving Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

One month after getting the keys to 64 Spring St., Bistronomy by Nico co-owners Nico Romo and Dominique Chantepie opened the French bistro after revamping the space previously occupied by Josephine Wine Bar. Since opening in November 2020, Bistronomy has served playful plates like escargot rice dumplings, goat cheese spring rolls and lobster with candied ginger in a setting reminiscent of a Parisian bistro. The cuisine mirrors the vibrant atmosphere and draws on celebrated dishes from Romo’s 10 years at Fish, which closed in 2017 after 17 years on King Street. Romo calls Bistronomy’s menu approachable French cuisine with an Asian fusion twist. “There were a lot of dishes and food I was doing like the duck steam bun that I had,” Romo told the Charleston City Paper. “I had a big following then for that food, which I do

not do at NICO, which is more flat classic French with an oyster bar.” Look for those duck steamed buns, tuna tartare with shrimp “chips” and a tomato and panko-fried mozzarella salad in the small plates section, while the entrees consist of plates like truffle chicken, cassoulet and scallops with coconut rice. —Parker Milner

Bowens Island Restaurant SEAFOOD

Moderate James Island. 1870 Bowens Island Road. (843) 795-2757 bowensisland.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

Don’t expect white tablecloth and maitre’d service at Bowens Island. It’s famously no frills, but it’s worth it. The nightly crowds are a testament to the family fish camp. Since its founding in 1946, it’s grown from a grimy, albeit quaint, cinderblock outpost to a pluffmud pantheon that offers up damn good fried seafood, hushpuppies and cold local beer in its upstairs dining room. Follow your nose downstairs and elbow-out yourself a space at the all-you-can-eat oyster tables and slurp down tasty local oysters by the shovelful that were likely pulled off the marsh that day. Oyster season or not, we have a hard time passing up the Frogmore Stew, a pot full of potatoes, sausage, corn on the cob and shrimp steamed together as God intended it. —Sam Spence

Butcher & Bee MEDITERRANEAN

Moderate Downtown. 1085 Morrison Drive. (843) 619-0202 butcherandbee.com Serving Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

Going on five years since it moved to a bright, sunny building on Morrison Drive, Butcher & Bee is an elevated restaurant that belies its hipster hangout roots in its old dark, tiny space on Upper King Street. B&B’s menu features a large range of dishes with everything from falafel to decadent burgers to carefully crafted fresh seafood and veggie-forward dishes. An excellent feature present on the menu for brunch, lunch and dinner is B&B’s mezze selection, a collection of small plates with a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influence. It’s safe to say that pretty much anything you order from here will be incredibly creative. —Suzanne Cohen

Charleston Grill MODERN AMERICAN

Very Expensive Downtown. 224 King St. (843) 577-4522 charlestongrill.com Serving Dinner (daily)

Amid ever-shifting culinary fashions, Charleston Grill has remained one of the continued on page 22


Tucked away on Charleston’s bustling upper King Street, The Cocktail Club is an upscale lounge dedicated to the art of the craft cocktail. An extensive selection of house-made infusions, rare liquors, and farm-to-shaker beverages features fresh-squeezed juices and modern ingredients.

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Located above MAYA at 479 King Street


22 || DISH || Fall 2021

Top 50 Top 50 from page 20

city’s crown jewels by delivering a consistently flawless dining experience. Executive chef Michelle Weaver’s dishes can be decadently lush, like her beef tenderloin with bourguignon sauce or seared foie gras with an apple hand pie topped with whipped mascarpone crème fraîche. The dishes are balanced, ingredient-centric creations, like a delicate charred octopus tossed with chorizo croquettes, served with smooth adobo aioli, while contemporary spins on Southern cuisine are bold and satisfying. The best way to experience the full sweep of the cuisine is with Weaver’s four-to-eight course tasting menu, which may well be the most impressive in town. —Robert F. Moss

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Chez Nous FRENCH

Expensive Downtown. 6 Payne Court. (843) 579-3060 cheznouschs.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Tues.-Sun.), Sun. Brunch

Most mornings before lunch, the Chez Nous Instagram feed (@cheznouscharleston) features a picture of the day’s menu, handwritten in black ink on a small white card in executive chef Jill Mathias’ eccentric and highly stylized script. Next comes a separate

picture of each and every dish being served that day, taken from above in flawless light. Admittedly, it’s only seven pictures total, since Chez Nous serves just two starters, two entrees and two desserts, and the selection changes daily. The setting is charmingly old and the cuisine European-inspired, but it’s hardly a throwback to an older mode of dining. Chez Nous stands alone just as it is, an eccentric outlier. With such a dynamic menu, any review of Chez Nous is by necessity a fleeting snapshot. On my last visit each of the courses balanced a dark, heavier dish with a brighter fish-based option, and each was splendid, though in very different ways. —Robert F. Moss

Chubby Fish SEAFOOD

Expensive Downtown. 252 Coming St. (843) 222-3949 Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

Executive chef James London serves a hyperlocal, daily changing menu at this vibrant Coming Street restaurant. And while the fish selection may vary, London is known for a few signature preparations. Expect raw oysters, crudos and likely one small plate that incorporates caviar, along with heart continued on page 24

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Top 50 Top 50 from page 22

ier options like king mackerel curry, crab tagliatelle and lamb ribs. We recommend ordering several dishes and sharing with the group before finishing off with sweets from Life Raft Treat’s Cynthia Wong, who supplies Chubby Fish with dessert. Chubby Fish doesn’t take reservations, but it’s well worth the wait for one of 30 or so seats inside the restaurant that prides itself on turning underutilized types of fish into dishes you’ll crave for weeks. —Parker Milner

Coda del Pesce ITALIAN/SEAFOOD

Expensive Isle of Palms. 1130 Ocean Blvd. (843) 242-8570 codadelpesce.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

With Coda del Pesce, chef/owner Ken Vedrinski of longtime downtown mainstay Trattoria Lucca headed out to Isle of Palms to create a beachside Italian seafood restaurant. The beautiful second-story dining room has brick walls, reclaimed wood floors and, in a rarity for the Lowcountry, floor-to-ceiling windows offering a lovely view of the Atlantic. It’s an ideal setting for Vedrinski’s signature high-end Italian fare, which offers plenty of bright flavors

and unexpected twists. Masterful pasta anchors the primi selection, which includes tagliatelle tossed with blue crab, Colatura di Alici, lemon and basil. The secondi highlight fresh fish like black bass, and there’s a little heavier fare, too, like naturally raised veal “marsala.” Pair any of these with an Italian wine from the impressive list, and you’ll have one splendid fish tale to share with friends. —Robert F. Moss

Daps Breakfast & Imbibe BREAKFAST/BRUNCH

Inexpensive Downtown. 280 Ashley Ave. (843) 718-1098 Serving Breakfast, Brunch (Thurs.-Tues.) dapsbreakfast.com

Breakfast fanatics have found a home at Daps Breakfast & Imbibe, where owners Nick Dowling and Jeremiah Schenzel serve sandwiches, daily specials and whimsical plates like Fruity Pebble pancakes or Cinnamon Toast Crunch sticky buns. But don’t be fooled by the duo’s unorthodox take on the morning meal — each composed plate has a local touch, whether its pork from Holy City Hogs or eggs from FiliWest Farms. The fun-loving atmosphere is the perfect summertime escape, as

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26 || DISH || Fall 2021

Top 50 Top 50 from page 24

Delaney Oyster House SEAFOOD

patrons sip Daps’ canned mimosas on the patio while sinking into the sorghum mayotopped chickpea sandwich, patty melt or spicy West Coast-style breakfast burrito. —Parker Milner

Dave’s Carry-Out SOUL FOOD/SEAFOOD

Inexpensive Downtown. 42-C Morris St. (843) 577-7943 Serving Lunch, Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

This soul food joint offers a true taste of Charleston. For under $10 you can get a takeout box filled to the brim with the best of Lowcountry cooking like pork chops, crispy chicken wings and finger-lickin’ ribs. The selection of sides is small but tasty — try the lima beans, thick steak fries, or red beans and rice. The lunch specials change daily, but your best bet is to go with a seafood platter — they range from $7 for a generous portion of shrimp to $13 for shrimp, fish, scallops and devil crab. If you want a true local experience, opt for the lima beans and rice. It’s meaty and filling. A few tables allow customers to dine in, but most folks get their Dave’s to-go, whether for lunch or a greasy late-night snack. —Melissa Tunstall

Edmund’s Oast MODERN AMERICAN

Moderate Downtown. 115 Calhoun St. (843) 594-0099. delaneyoysterhouse.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

The Neighborhood Dining Group — owners of Husk — have converted an old single house on Calhoun Street into a stunner of a seafood restaurant. The raw bar offerings range from local oysters and clams to Kaluga caviar, and executive chef Shamil Velazquez’s inventive small plates are stylish and intensely flavored. Menus have featured rich kombu-poached lobster, tossed with orbs of tangy Asian pear, ground peanuts and green Thai basil leaves, while a deconstructed chowder delivers tender clams, mussels, shrimp and a flawless peach-hued scallop within a pool of creamy, savory broth. Each dish is finished with precise visual style that befits the picture-perfect setting. Grab a seat out on the second floor piazza, order a glass of chilled red wine and dive in. —Robert F. Moss

Expensive Downtown. 1081 Morrison Drive. (843) 727-1145 edmundsoast.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.), Sun. Brunch

This hip gastropub has a laid-back vibe. There are communal tables, as well as a chef ’s counter and an expansive outdoor patio. Chef Bob Cook’s menu highlights include the house-made charcuterie and cheese plates, plus upscale bar food like fried tripe, hanger steak or crispy chicken with green curry sauce. The drink menu is every bit as compelling, rife with small batch cocktails, meads and a host of inventive beers brewed on-site. And $4 happy hour in The Bower when the weather’s nice, well, the price and vibes cannot be beat. —Vanessa Wolf

Estadio TAPAS

Moderate Downtown. 122 Spring St estadio-chs.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

Estadio, which opened on Spring Street in October 2019, is technically the second outpost of a successful Washington, D.C., Spanish-style bar and tapas restaurant. The decor and the deep sherry and gin selection

echo the D.C. original, but executive chef Alex Lira’s impressive menu is unique to Charleston. The pintxos and tapas — grilled shrimp on skewers, crisp patatas bravas, tuna-topped “seven minute” eggs — offer beguiling little bites. Fresh local shellfish and savory sofrito- and saffron-laced rice — especially the crispy bits charred to the edges of the flat metal cooking pan — transform the seafood paella into an unforgettable treat. With a slate of sherry cocktails, “gin tonics” made with rare Spanish brands and porróns of wine, Estadio brings a brilliant taste of Spain to the heart of downtown Charleston. —Robert F. Moss

EVO PIZZA

Inexpensive North Charleston. 1075 E. Montague Ave. (843) 225-1796 evopizza.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

At EVO, the use of fresh, local ingredients is key, and they’ve been keeping it local from the very beginning, back when they were a mobile wood-fired oven serving pizza at the farmers market in Marion Square. Large chalkboards decorate the walls, listing local ingredients from various farms, along with daily specials, ranging from housemade

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Our go-to restaurant list

made sausages to duck crostini. But we’re partial to the pizza. The crust is thin and slightly charred, and the mozzarella is made fresh and pulled in-house twice a day. The pistachio pesto pie was named one of the best pizzas in the country by Food Network Magazine, and the sinful Pork Trifecta keeps customers coming back. Check out the beer list for what’s on tap, and you’ll find plenty of local brews to keep your inner beer snob happy. —Kinsey Gidick

Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ BARBECUE

Inexpensive West Ashley. 1205 Ashley River Road. (843) 225-7427 Downtown. 126 Williman St. (843) 225-7427 Sullivan’s Island. 2209 Middle St. (843) 225-7427 hometeambbq.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

With three Charleston locations plus others in Columbia and Greenville, pitmaster/ chefs Aaron Siegel and Taylor Garrigan have built an acclaimed barbecue empire. Whether you’re at the West Ashley original or at the newer outposts on Sullivan’s Island or downtown, the barbecue offering is anchored by pulled pork, smoked chicken, ribs and a superb salt-and-pepper brisket, all cooked over wood on offset metal pits.

Siegel’s and Garrigan’s fine-dining roots show in an array of creative snacks and tacos, like chopped brisket sliders on brioche buns and smoked shrimp tacos with white bean puree. There’s always a cheffy special or two, like pulled pork empanadas or a pitsmoked pork chop with purple cabbage and apple, and don’t miss out on Home Team’s smoked chicken wings with tangy white Alabama-style sauce. —Robert F. Moss

FIG MODERN AMERICAN

Very Expensive Downtown. 232 Meeting St. (843) 805-5900 eatatfig.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

In 2003, Chef Mike Lata set out to prove that ‘food is good.’ After blazing a trail for the robust local farm-to-table restaurant scene, FIG still stands out, winning awards and creating devotees year after year. Although snagging a reservation can be a challenge, the seasonally inspired cuisine and impeccable service are worth the effort. Change is a constant, but stalwart menu standbys like the fish stew provencal and pillowy ricotta gnocchi alla Bolognese never fail to satisfy. Be sure to check out the wine offerings, as — along with two nods for Best Chef Southeast — FIG is also a national

James Beard award-winner for Outstanding Wine Program. —Vanessa Wolf

a surefire formula for a satisfying meal. —Robert F. Moss

The Glass Onion

The Grocery

NEW SOUTHERN

Moderate West Ashley. 1219 Savannah Hwy. (843) 225-1717 ilovetheglassonion.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.), Sat. Brunch

Since 2008, the Glass Onion has exemplified the “neighborhood favorite” category — a restaurant less formal and ambitious than a fine dining spot but still delivering seriously delicious meals. The offering blends the home cooking of chef/owner Chris Stewart’s native Alabama with dishes and styles he absorbed while working in fine dining kitchens, first in New Orleans and then in Charleston. That means hearty, savory gumbo brimming with okra and sausage, cajun boudin balls with creole mustard and crisp okra beignets served with spicy red remoulade. Pristine local seafood makes for fresh, satisfying plates, like pan-roasted f lounder served over tender braised beans and thick mashed potatoes. A few more adventurous entrees, like a beguilingly dark rabbit ragout with ricotta gnocchi, pop up with regularity alongside hearty Southern classics like shrimp and grits and fried catfish with red rice. It’s

MODERN AMERICAN

Expensive Downtown. 4 Cannon St. (843) 302-8825 thegrocerycharleston.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sun.), Sun. Brunch

Occupying a space that is at once industrial and inviting, chef/owner Kevin Johnson’s menus are seasonally inspired and passionately local. Utilizing a mix of fresh farmed, fished and foraged ingredients, The Grocery exemplifies farm-to-table dining. The Southern/Mediterranean offerings have included such highlights as fried oysters with deviled egg sauce and bread and butter pickles. Year-round standbys include the generous portions of Lowcountry seafood pilau and the changing varieties of roasted whole fish, cooked in the restaurant’s massive wood-burning oven. Along with a celebrated Sunday brunch, The Grocery’s innovative cocktail program features standouts like the dirty green tomato, a martini made with pickled green tomato juice. —Vanessa Wolf continued on page 28

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Husk Restaurant NEW SOUTHERN

Expensive Downtown. 76 Queen St. (843) 577-2500 huskrestaurant.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Sat.), Dinner (daily), Sun. Brunch

Husk has outposts in Nashville, Greenville and Savannah, but this location — housed in a white mansion on Queen Street — is the original. Here, executive chef Travis Grimes carries out the vision of innovative, modern farm-to-table perfection. The kitchen creates such must-try marvels like Southern fried chicken skins, ‘Kentuckyaki’ pigs ear lettuce wraps, or the hulking Carolina heritage pork chop, while dessert offerings include such innovations as the savory-sweet cornbread pudding. There’s a welcoming, rustic atmosphere indoors, but if weather permits, sit out on the upstairs porch and enjoy what is, without hesitation, Southern food at its best. —Vanessa Wolf

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Jackrabbit Filly CHINESE

Moderate North Charleston. 4628 Spruill Ave. (843) 460-0037 jackrabbitfilly.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Wed.-Sat.), Sun. Brunch

The menu at Jackrabbit Filly — Shuai and Corrie Wang’s brick-and-mortar jump from their popular Short Grain food truck — takes quintessential Asian fare, and adds some vamp. The pork and cabbage dumplings are where Yangtze meets Ganges, with a rich mix of pork, cabbage, ginger and coriander encased inside the perfectly cooked pasta wrapper. Topped with a pungent chinkiang vinegar and Lao Gan Ma chili crisp sauce, the first bite is like suddenly finding something you hadn’t even realized was missing. Short Grain’s beloved karaage endures — the meat is juicy, the coating crunchy, and the drizzle of lemon mayo and ponzu, along with some togarashi-induced heat, should be presented with the following disclaimer: “The karaage is a small structure made of chicken. It is delicious, and you are not ready for it.” —Vanessa Wolf

Kwei Fei CHINESE

Moderate James Island. 1977 Maybank Highway kweifei.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

Set next door to Charleston Pour House in the space previously occupied by The Lot, Kwei Fei’s interior looks the same-ish, except now the chairs are yellow and you’ll find some Asian knick knacks scattered about. But the updates are the only understated thing about Kwei Fei. Pretty much

nothing else — from the food to the music to the chef himself — can be described as subtle. Kwei Fei’s menu is an equally wild ride, offering an array of appetizers, entrees and veggie-based sides sorted into blocks labeled “Loud,” “Hot,” and “Vibes.” The crescent dumplings are an outstanding way to give your tastebuds a crash course in the events to come. Made with ground pork and redolent Sichuan pepper, the five plump dumplings are served in a soy-based, vinegary sauce and topped with fresh cilantro and chives. Hot, sour, salty, sweet: everyone’s here. On the “vibes” side of things, vegetarians are well-taken care of with the dry-fried green beans. Here, some rice makes sense and adds bulk to the delicate haricots verts, which are coated with an intense, chunky garlic and ginger combo with a little spicy kick. —Vanessa Wolf

Le Farfalle ITALIAN

Expensive Downtown. 15 Beaufain St. (843) 212-0920 lefarfallecharleston.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Sat.), Dinner (daily), Sun. Brunch

Led by celebrated chef Michael Toscano, Le Farfalle is certain to delight. The bright, upscale space is generously laid out with an elegant bar suitable for a quick lunch of agnolotti pasta or a relaxed after-dinner conversation over craft cocktails. Dinner service starts with a slice from the restaurant’s ginormous wedge of ParmigianoReggiano cheese, but matters are then in your own hands. Seasonal appetizer stand outs have included a veal tartare toast served with shoestring fries and a sublime octopus carpaccio. You can’t go wrong with the housemade pastas, and other memorable dinner selections have included a vibrant whole branzino with pine nuts and a tender fried chicken picatta. —Vanessa Wolf

Lenoir NEW SOUTHERN

Downtown. 68 Wentworth St. (843)534-9031 Dineatlenoir.com Serving Dinner (Wed.-Sun.)

Chef Vivian Howard’s first restaurants outside Eastern North Carolina opened in Charleston in the first half of 2021. After PBS’ A Chef ’s Life introduced Howard to audiences far from her first restaurant, Chef & the Farmer in Kinston, N.C., she now has two concepts open in the Wentworthfacing side of the downtown Renaissance Hotel. Handy & Hot checks the boxes as the hotel’s quick-service lobby cafe (with the addition of snackable hand pies and knockout biscuit sandwiches), but Lenoir is where Howard will make her mark. Tables ring the cozy dining room around a central bar, continued on page 30


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Top 50 Top 50 from page 28

and a steady stream of reinvented Southern specialties flow from the kitchen. With dishes ranging from local crudo and butterbean agnolotti to the K-town patty melt, Howard’s touch as a chef is apparent without taking things too seriously. Chef Tyson Detzler brings experience at Chef & the Farmer to Howard’s Charleston kitchen, so you know anything local and seasonal will be a good bet on your table. —Sam Spence

Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oysters SEAFOOD

Moderate Downtown. 698 King St. (843) 531-6500 leonsoystershop.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

The chargrilled oysters at Leon’s embody the restaurant’s approach to food: unfussy and delicious. The fish fry platter is a jumble of oysters, shrimp and fish battered and delicately fried and served with a tartar sauce so good we sometimes just dip a fork in it in between bites. If we know anything about restaurateurs Brooks Reitz and Tim Mink, it’s that they know how to design a restaurant that both looks and feels good. This is the kind of place that gets in your regular

rotation because it’s comfortable, delicious and reliable. —Stephanie Barna

Lewis Barbecue BARBECUE

Moderate Downtown. 464 N. Nassau St. (843) 805-9500 lewisbarbecue.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

Lewis’ building houses four custom built smokers and a sausage smoker that can cook 1,600 links at a time, all hand built by Lewis and his father. Once inside, you’ll queue up to have meat hand-sliced by one of two meat-cutters stationed behind a long counter. Lewis’ “life changing” beef brisket is definitely the star. The infinitely tender meat has a salty, peppery crust and shines with melted fat. But there’s also juicy smoked turkey, pulled pork, pork ribs and Texas sausage called “hot guts” available and priced by the pound (or hot guts by the link). After your tray is filled with your order of meats, choose your sides from mustardy potato salad, lemon slaw, cowboy beans and rich green chile corn pudding. —Robert Donovan


Our go-to restaurant list

Maison FRENCH

Expensive Downtown. 708 King St.(843) 990-9165 maisoncharleston.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

Maison shares a low, unassuming King Street building with a climbing gym, but step inside and you’ll find an immaculate invocation of a stylish French bistro. There’s a pewter-topped bar, hexagonal white and black f loor tiles and Parisianstyle bistro chairs with white and black woven backs. The menu options — escargots, steak frites au poivre, coq au vin — seem to hew to traditional bistro standards at first, but chef Vandy Vanderwarker gives each a creative, f lavorful spin. The sultry coq au vin is a deconstructed delight, with long-marinated chicken that’s braised, shredded and blended with roasted ramps into an intensely f lavored patty. A thick wedge of monkfish tail has a smooth, buttery bite beneath its golden brown sear, heightened by the unexpected richness of roasted chicken butter sauce. With deep, intense f lavors and a playful sensibility, Maison’s daring interpretations of traditional French plates are a welcome addition to the Charleston scene. —Robert F. Moss

Malagon TAPAS

Moderate Downtown. 33 Spring St. (843) 926-0475 Serving Lunch, Dinner (Tues.-Sun.)

Even experienced tapas lovers may find themselves a bit wide-eyed at Malagon — the eight-page menu isn’t fooling around. Rather, it gets right down to some sweet tapas tenderness, starting with familiar snacks like marcona almonds and dates wrapped in ham. The mojama (cured tuna belly) is a classic treat. Firm and salty, it’s often referred to as the jamón of the sea. Accompanied by roughly a dozen baby potatoes, tender chunks of octopus have a silky texture similar to that of a rare scallop. The mild f lavors of the two soft ingredients are dominated by the sprinkling of smoked paprika on top. Despite being ‘small plates’ and probably owing in part to all the potatoes, your meal can be surprisingly filling and notably affordable. Malagon is not only doing something different, they’re doing it extremely well. —Vanessa Wolf

continued on page 32

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Top 50 from page 31

Melfi’s ITALIAN

Expensive Downtown. 721 King St. (843) 513-0307 eatatmelfis.com Serving Dinner (daily)

Named for the family who once ran a pharmacy in the same space, Melfi’s menu offers updated takes on Italian staples. The polished, old-school dining room is warm and buzzy, providing a welcome backdrop to get your carbs on. Slip into a leather booth and proceed to feast on house-made linguine tossed with pancetta or littleneck clams, or “Roman-ish” pizza, like the Mr. Wally, made with vodka sauce, Fresno peppers, sliced salami and meaty hen-of-the-woods mushrooms. Don’t miss the delicate tuna crudo with buttery pine nuts and Calabrian chile vinaigrette. Negroni aficionados will appreciate the choice of seven innovative variations. —Vanessa Wolf

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32 || DISH || Fall 2021

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Top 50

Wed-Sat 10am-6pm • 2021B Reynolds Ave. • N. Charleston • DaddysGirlsBakery.com

Nana’s Uptown

in 2020 after nearly two decades on Line Street, but fans of the family owned and operated restaurant can still find its affordable Lowcountry fare at Nana’s Uptown, located in North Charleston at 5117 Dorchester Road. Mother and son duo Carolyn and Kenyatta McNeil’s takeoutand delivery-only outpost specializes in seafood, with options like f lounder, whiting, shrimp, scallops and more. But that’s not all you’ll find at Nana’s. The chicken wings are a must as are daily specials like crab legs with garlic shrimp. For sides, expect the classics, with the baked mac and cheese and bread pudding stealing the show, and don’t forget to wash it all down with Nana’s signature pineapple sweet tea. If we’ve learned anything over the past year and a half, it’s that high quality takeout is something that can’t be taken for granted. Nana’s Uptown delivers every time, offering the North Charleston community an affordable option serving authentic eats. —Parker Milner

SOUL FOOD

Inexpensive North Charleston. 5117 Dorchester Road (843) 937-9311 Serving Lunch and Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

Downtown’s Nana’s Seafood & Soul closed

Barrel-Aged House Specials

TIO PA

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continued on page 34

Chef Driven Menu with Irish Classics SUNDAY BRUNCH 10AM-2PM • HAPPY HOUR MON-FRI 4-6PM • LIVE MUSIC WEEKLY Veteran Owned and Operated • 3157 Maybank Hwy • Johns Island • 843.737.4221 • SeanachaiWhiskeyAndCocktailBar.com


SERVING BREAKFAST, LUNCH & BRUNCH TUE - SUN

1802 CROWNE COMMONS WAY • JOHNS ISLAND • 843.405.8808 ONLINE ORDERING AT KISS-CAFE.COM

charlestoncitypaper.com || 33


34 || DISH || Fall 2021

Top 50

Rūta Smith file photo

Fresh local seafood is the main event at The Royal Tern on Johns Island Top 50 from page 32

Neon Tiger VEGAN

Moderate Downtown. 654 King St. (843) 640-3902 Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sun.)

One of a handful of all-vegan establishments in Charleston, Neon Tiger doesn’t shy away from getting creative with its upscale offerings. The crispy konjac "shrimp" and trumpet mushroom "calamari" are two standout appetizer options for traditional seafood lovers. For a more classic veggie-forward meal, look to main dishes like lentil ragout and the veggie bowl. But if you want to venture out and see just what the chefs at Neon Tiger can do with an all plant-based menu, opt for the reuben sandwich with seitan smoked meat or the “Big Buffalo Chicken” sandwich that captures everything you love about a chicken sandwich — sans meat. And while you’re at it, order a pizza for the table to split like the barbecue jackfruit or formaggio and champignon. Whether you’re vegan or just looking to try something new, the creativity and flavor of Neon Tiger’s menu will impress. —Samantha Connors

NICO Oysters + Seafood FRENCH

Expensive Mount Pleasant. 201 Coleman Blvd. (843) 352-7969 Serving Dinner (daily) and Weekend Brunch

NICO was the fine dining establishment Shem Creek had been waiting for when it opened in 2018. You wouldn’t know it based on the buzzing atmosphere and trendy decor, but NICO is located in a former Pizza Hut, adding to the restaurant’s allure. Executive chef Nico Romo’s menu has hints of flash with beautifully arranged raw bar platters and dishes like whole roasted lobster. Each plate that comes out of the open kitchen is a display of classic French techniques using

South Carolina ingredients. Take his bouillabaisse de Marseille, which incorporates local fish, shrimp, mussels, clams and scallops, resulting in a perfect rendition of the famous French dish. Eating at NICO feels comfortable and thrilling at the same time, meaning guests are always wanting to come back for more. If you’re looking for ambiance, showstopping dishes and plenty of fresh oysters, NICO is your spot. —Parker Milner

Oak Steakhouse STEAKHOUSE

Expensive Downtown. 17 Broad St. (843) 722-4220 oaksteakhouserestaurant.com Serving Dinner (daily)

Located in a restored 150-year-old bank building, Oak is a long-running favorite for a big Charleston night out. Hefty prime ribeyes and strips are the main attractions, with luxurious family-style accompaniments like creamy whipped potatoes and lobster mac and cheese. Within the traditional steakhouse format there is always a twist or two, like a daily local seafood special or beef belly with sorghum barbecue sauce. The deep wine list focuses on California reds, and the service is reliably topnotch, regardless of whether you eat downstairs in the bar area, with its exposed brick walls and clubby red leather booths, or at the white cloth-draped tables in the second story dining room, its high windows looking out over Broad Street. —Robert F. Moss

The Obstinate Daughter SEAFOOD/SOUTHERN

Moderate Sullivan’s Island. 2063 Middle St. (843) 416-5020 theobstinatedaughter.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Fri.), Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

At The Obstinate Daughter, executive chef Jacques Larson’s big, open kitchen has a continued on page 36


Annie O Love’s

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36 || DISH || Fall 2021

for OPEN ERVICE S FULLG and N I N I D UT TAKEO soulful

food

Top 50 Top 50 from page 34

plancha and a wood-fired oven, and he uses it to create a beguiling array of pizzas, pastas and small plates. The pizzas bear tempting toppings, like clams and roasted fennel or pork meatballs and red peppers. The dishes on the rotating “plates” menu range in size from “Marsh Hen Mill frites” (strips of fried polenta) to a crispy duck with carrot farrotto, cipollini and chermoula. Fluffy ricotta gnocchi are topped with an intensely flavorful short rib ragu with tender strands of beef in a pool of reddish orange tomato-tinged jus. OD boasts a cheery, casual environment for enjoying Larson’s impressive parade of delicate but flavorful dishes. And that makes it one of the best upscale dining destinations not just out on the beaches, but anywhere in town. —Robert F. Moss

The Ordinary

promise of locally sourced seafood and lots of buzz. Today such concepts are a dime a dozen (on the half-shell, please). But The Ordinary was the first of its kind, and I would argue, still the best. While regularly packed and filled with an upbeat ambiance, the high ceilings diffuse the jovial noise to a pleasant buzz. Along with six daily varieties of raw oysters on the half shell, the house-smoked oysters are not to be missed. Presented in an oil and vinegar-filled preserve jar and spiked with slices of crisp pickled celery, the six oysters are so gently smoked that they are still raw. As a result, each is tender and juicy, the delicate hint of ocean flavor touched with woodsy smoke. Served with fancied-up saltines (brushed with butter and Old Bay), rich, cold creme fraiche and vibrant hot sauce, the combination is outstanding: cool, crisp and smoky all at once. —Vanessa Wolf

Peninsula Grill

SEAFOOD

Expensive Downtown. 544 King St. (843) 414-7060 eattheordinary.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sun.)

Mon-Thu11am-8pm • Fri & Sat 11am-9pm 1219 Savannah Hwy • ILoveTheGlassOnion.com

In December 2012, a historic King Street bank building found new life as an upscale oyster hall. The Ordinary — second child of Adam Nemirow and chef Mike Lata — opened with soaring 22-foot ceilings, the

NEW SOUTHERN

Very Expensive Downtown. 112 N. Market St. (843) 723-0700 peninsulagrill.com Serving Dinner (daily)

There are milestones in life that require a fancy steak. Or at least the kind of place

We invite you to join us for a communal dinner dining experience where you’ll have the best seats in the house. The five -course chef’s table experience is a traditional Mexican menu, created by Chef Raul Sanchez, and changes weekly to reflect seasonal ingredients. Join us also for lunch Wednesday-Friday 11-3 p.m. and brunch Sunday 10-3 p.m. For dinner reservations, visit us at raulsmayadelsol.com 1816 Reynolds Ave. Suite B • North Charleston • 843-225-2390

continued on page 38


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Mt. P. – Shem Creek – 1313 Shrimp Boat Lane (843) 844-4440 VickerysMtP.com

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FOOD TRUCKS & LIVE MUSIC


38 || DISH || Fall 2021

CHECK OUT OUR

NEW LOCATION!

Top 50 Top 50 from page 36

where one can get a fancy steak. If you’re in the midst of such an occasion, Peninsula Grill has got you covered. Even after more than two decades, Peninsula Grill continues to impress with its luxurious fare. Take, for instance, the seared foie gras. The dish is deserving of a modeling contract, with the perfectly cooked slice of delicate liver resting atop artful smears of cinnamon-infused strawberry coulis and aged balsamic reduction. Backed by a vibrant fence of fresh strawberry slices and a crisp arugula salad, this is about as good as foie gras gets. —Vanessa Wolf

Pink Cactus MEXICAN

Moderate Downtown. 100 A Spring St. (843) 764-9343 pinkcactuschs.com Serving Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

Full Table Service • Large Patio • Private Room • Parking 1939 Maybank Hwy • James Island • 843-406-8877 • ZiaTaco.com Now across the street in the Old Athen’s Bldg

Pink Cactus is dishing authentic Oaxacan cuisine on Spring Street, where owner Brooke Warden serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Warden combines approachable hits like tacos, queso and enchiladas with more experimental plates like her carnitas-stuffed chile relleno or birria taco platter. Wash it all down with Pink Cactus’ signature pink margarita, garnished with black sea salt.

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Boasting one of the best happy hours in Charleston — highlighted by $5 margaritas, $3 Tecates and $5 tacos and queso fundido — Pink Cactus is a favorite among tourists and locals alike. Don’t miss out on breakfast, served Monday-Saturday from 9-11 a.m., when Warden churns out hearty tortas, breakfast tacos and chilaquiles. —Parker Milner

Post House Restaurant MODERN AMERICAN

Expensive Mount Pleasant. 101 Pitt St. (843) 203-7678 theposthouseinn.com Serving Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

Post House Restaurant opened in Mount Pleasant in August 2020 after undergoing significant renovations led by Kate and Ben Towill of design and hospitality firm Basic Projects. Evan Gaudreau, a 2019 James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef nominee, served as the kitchen’s first executive chef, a role that was later assumed by Isle of Palms native Nathan Hood. Post House is a reincarnation of The Old Village Post House, which closed in February 2019 after 16 years at 101 Pitt St. The Towills completely redesigned the continued on page 40


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40 || DISH || Fall 2021

Top 50 Top 50 from page 38

MODERN TRADITIONAL OAXACAN CUISINE

INGREDIENTS AND TECHNIQUES

circa-1896 space, moving the main dining room to the back of the restaurant and the bar to face Pitt Street. The space is adorned with antiques, vintage rugs, local art, archival wallpaper and handcrafted fixtures. You’ll find seasonal snacks, raw bar options, fresh pastas, local seafood and an assortment of vegetarian dishes at Post House. Local seafood massaman curry, Carolina heritage farm pork with creamy kimchi collard greens and a “backbar” cheeseburger are some of the main dishes that pair with starters like blue crab toast or Anson Mills cornbread. Post House also serves brunch, with favorites like Hood's tempura-fried fish sandwich and seasonal quiche satisfying regulars and first-timers. —Parker Milner

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Renzo PIZZA

Moderate Downtown. 384 Huger St. (843) 952-7864 renzochs.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)

This former storefront-turned-hip neighborhood trattoria has a wood-fired oven and knows how to use it. Along with tempting starters like warm homemade sourdough bread or charred cauliflower florets with

savory mushoom XO sauce, the menu features a trio of pastas, plus an array of creative Neapolitan-style pizzas. Feeling adventurous? The Cheli offers a tomato base with lamb sausage, tangy pickled peppers, honey and za’atar. Renzo also offers one of the area’s largest selections of nat wine. —Vanessa Wolf

Rodney Scott’s BBQ BARBECUE

Inexpensive Downtown. 1011 King St. (843) 990-9535 rodneyscottsbbq.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (daily)

Rodney Scott made waves in 2017 when, after two decades of cooking hogs at his family’s acclaimed operation in Hemingway, he brought his traditional burn barrel style of barbecue down to Charleston. That splendid whole hog — basted in a pepperlaced sauce and pulled into long, succulent strands — remains the foundation of Scott’s offering on King Street, but he’s added a few new options for the city crowd, like meaty spareribs, crisp fried catfish and craft beer on tap. The flawless collards and the ribeye sandwiches, made from pit-smoked steak sliced thin and piled high on soft rolls, are continued on page 42

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BOWEN’S ISLAND RESTAURANT Whether you’re a first-time guest or a long-time regular, our aim is to serve you simple, excellent seafood. Just 5 minutes from Folly Beach, we’re famous for our locally harvested oysters, fried shrimp, hushpuppies, Frogmore stew, cold beer, and undisturbed views of the river, marshes, islands, and wildlife.

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1870 BOWENS ISLAND RD 843.795.2757 • BOWENSISLAND.COM

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42 || DISH || Fall 2021

Top 50

FOR A MORE

SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE AND ECO-CONSCIENCE BUSINESSES

Top 50 from page 40

must-try sleepers. Now, with restaurants open in Birmingham, Atlanta, and another in the works, Rodney Scott is exporting South Carolina-style whole hog cookery across the entire South. —Robert F. Moss

Royal Tern SEAFOOD

Shiki

Expensive Johns Island. 3005 Maybank Highway (843) 718-3434 theroyaltern.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

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adorned with dramatic lights that resemble giant clusters of white grapes. The interior incorporates a number of current trends, including an open kitchen, marble-topped bar and miles of banquette seating. One of the best-looking joints in the area, The Royal Tern offers a hip place to scratch a variety of seafood itches on Johns Island. —Vanessa Wolf SEAFOOD

Set on Johns Island just past Wild Olive, The Royal Tern is a welcome and wellpositioned addition to that existing pair of successful Maybank Highway restaurants. With a focus on fish, the menu offers an aquarium-full of options. Along with a raw bar, there are fried “and chips” platters, elegant small plates and four variations of cooked oysters. Add to that a handful of sandwiches, a half-dozen seafood entrees and a hat trick of wood-fired steaks. The building is also glorious. Outside, it’s effortlessly stylish and would look just as appropriate nestled amongst a row of upscale beachfront estates. Inside, the chic, airy space boasts wood floors and high ceilings

Moderate Downtown. 334 E Bay St. (843) 720-8568 shikicharleston.com Serving Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

One of downtown’s longest standing restaurants, Shiki delivers fresh sushi rolls, nigiri and more in a cozy, newly renovated dining room, which reopened over the summer. Owner Hae Gon “David” Park opened Shiki at 334 E. Bay St. in 2001 after moving to Charleston from New York City, where he worked at esteemed sushi restaurants like Yuraku, serving as head sushi chef for five years. The chef prides himself on sourcing the highest-quality fish, and his technique when making rolls, sashimi and nigiri is second to none. Patrons who want to go continued on page 44

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THE BEST LIVE JAZZ IN CHARLESTON


44 || DISH || Fall 2021

Top 50 Top 50 from page 42

big can order the chef ’s choice “omakase,” which translates to “I’ll leave it up to you” in Japanese. Chef Park will bring out a seemingly endless assortment of sashimi and nigiri bites, allowing guests to try a little bit of everything. For less devout sushi enthusiasts, there’s approachable options like tempura shrimp and avocado rolls, teriyaki beef, pork katsu and more. Shiki’s menu hasn’t changed much over the years, but why would it, as the restaurant helps fill a void in a city that has very few sushi-focused restaurants. Next time you’re in the mood for high quality sushi, give this family owned and operated restaurant a try. —Parker Milner

Slightly North of Broad NEW SOUTHERN

Expensive Downtown. 192 East Bay St. (843) 723-3424 snobcharleston.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Fri.), Dinner (daily), Weekend Brunch

Slightly North of Broad (SNOB) is the perfect place to take visiting friends for their first taste of Charleston cuisine, for it embodies so much of what makes the city’s dining scene special. Since taking the reins in 2016, executive chef Russ Moore

has deftly balanced the restaurant’s traditional dishes with more forward-looking fare. Grilled Carolina quail stuffed with dirty rice delivers a “wow”-inducing burst of richness from the very first bite. Pristinely fresh seafood gets an elegant Southern touch on plates like New Bedford scallops with tomato ham hock broth or seared tuna topped with crisp fried oysters and tart yellow “mustard Q” sauce. SNOB was a local charcuterie pioneer and a platter of hearty country pate, savory pork rillettes and lush chicken liver mousse is the perfect evening starter. —Robert F. Moss

Stella’s GREEK

Moderate Downtown. 114 St. Philip St. (843) 400-0026 stellascharleston.com Serving Lunch (Mon.-Fri.), Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

It’s hard to say what’s most striking about Stella’s on St. Philip Street. Is it the hip, yet boisterous vibe? The large portions at an incredibly reasonable price point? Or is it the vast, authentic and consistently delicious menu? Regardless of your ultimate conclusion, this is a trifecta worth a visit … or five. The grilled octopus and spanikopita are simple perfection, while the saganaki is a visual showstopper and an excuse to pig out

on cheese. Stella’s own recipes — namely her calamari and braised lamb shank with No. 5 noodles and brown butter shank sauce, are at once comforting and elevated, testimony to the woman who inspired it all. —Vanessa Wolf

Wild Olive ITALIAN

Moderate Johns Island. 2867 Maybank Highway (843) 737-4177 wildoliverestaurant.com Serving Dinner (daily)

Right off Maybank Highway sits Wild Olive, chef Jacques Larson’s haven for exquisite Italian fare. Since 2009 it has served as the go-to place for anniversary dinners and reunions with old friends. A comfortable bar greets those looking for a casual bite but don’t let that relaxed atmosphere deceive you. Larson’s food is anything but. Incredible (and decadent) risotto fritters stuffed with sausage, spinach, Parmesan and mozzarella are a great way to start. And always ask about the specials, of which there are plenty. A past highlight was a pappardelle with prosciutto, pork and escarole. Larson is a firm believer in local, continued on page 46

Jonathan Boncek file photo

The braised lamb shank at Stella's is served over brown butter noodles with house shank sauce


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46 || DISH || Fall 2021

Top 50

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Zero Restaurant + Bar

Top 50 from page 44

MODERN AMERICAN

and his conviction permeates everything on the plate. —Kinsey Gidick

Xiao Bao Biscuit ASIAN FUSION

Moderate Downtown. 224 Rutledge Ave. xiaobaobiscuit.com Serving Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

ON STANDS NOV. 3

What started as a pop-up with a devout following eventually found a dedicated shrine much to the delight of all who crave a wide swath of Asian flavors (Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Taiwanese) interpreted with fresh Lowcountry ingredients. The dishes are not for the meek or unadventurous; each packs escalating levels of heat. On the gentler scale is the popular okonomiyaki, a Japanese cabbage pancake criss-crossed with drizzles of sriracha and Japanese mayo, then topped with a runny-yolk egg. On the spicy end of the scale is the Mapo Dofu, whose cubes of tofu incinerate your taste buds with swirls of chili oil, leaving heat seekers crying through tears of gratitude as they lick their plates clean. Cool your palate with a coconut milk or a (nonalcoholic) lemongrass ginger beer. —Allston McCrady

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Expensive Downtown. 0 George St. (843) 817-7900 zerogeorge.com Serving Dinner (Tues.-Sun.)

On the grounds of the elegant Zero George Street Boutique Hotel, Zero Restaurant + Bar’s romantic dining room is set in a former carriage house built in 1804. Here, chef Vinson Petrillo whips up innovative tasting menus with the option of four or seven courses, plus optional wine pairings. Selections vary with the seasons, but anticipate such treats as lightly grilled mackerel served with foie gras and local citrus, or venison prepared with vadouvan curry and taleggio cheese. Hit up happy hour for a craft cocktail; whether wielding a lead pipe or the candlestick, the bourbon-based Colonel Mustard is sure to pack a punch. —Vanessa Wolf

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48 || DISH || Fall 2021

CHARLESTON’S

FAVORITES TRIED AND TRUE HOLY CITY EATERIES

DUKE’S BBQ Meat + 2 or 3, meatloaf (Wednedays), fried flounder & red rice (Fridays), BBQ by the pound, banana pudding 331 Folly Road, Charleston 843-789-4801• facebook.com/DukesSC

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BOOZE POPS Gourmet wine pops, martini pops, jello shots, organic spiked ice- various flavors. 424 King St., Charleston boozepop.com

COCKTAIL CLUB Top 5 Cocktails: Foreign Exchange, Hot Girl Summer, Mile High Club, Double Standard, Vodka Flocka Flame 479 King St., Charleston 843-724-9411 thecocktailclubcharleston.com

COWBOY BRAZILIAN STEAKHOUSE Features a “parade” of 16 USDA Prime cuts of beef, lamb, chicken and pork carved tableside by our Gauchos. 2411 Mall Dr., North Charleston 843-744-9000 cowboybraziliansteakhouse.com

BOWENS ISLAND RESTAURANT

BOWENS ISLAND RESTAURANT Locally harvested oysters, fried shrimp, hushpuppies, Frogmore stew 1870 Bowens Island Road, Charleston 843-795-2757 bowensisland.com

CAFE OF SWEET ABUNDANCE Cookie Monster, Cookie of Abundance, Seasonal Love Child Cookies, Cho. Covered Strawberry Shortcake Jar of Abundance, MacDaddy Chik’n Sammie , “Get Woke” Smoothie 1901 Ashley River Road, Charleston 843-225-8368 annieolovegranola.com

THE CRAB SHACKS Snow crab bucket, she crab soup, fried shrimp 8486 Dorchester Road, Coosaw Creek 843-552-7171 26 Center St., Folly Beach 843-588-3080 1901 Ashley River Road, West Ashley 843-763-4494 CrabShacks.com

DADDY’S GIRLS BAKERY Custom cakes for any occasion, cake pops, cupcakes and more 2021B Reynolds Ave., North Charleston 843-926-1737 daddysgirlsbakery.com

EAST BAY DELI Chief Reuben, The Citadel, buffalo chicken wrap, crunchy salad 1120 Oakland Market Road, Mount Pleasant 843-216-5423, 334 E. Bay St. Ste. H, Downtown 843- 723-1234, 405 Dorchester Road, North Charleston 843-747-1235, 858 Savannah Highway, West Ashley 843-571-2244, 9135 University Blvd., North Charleston 843-553-7374 2519 N. Main St. B, Summerville 843-471-2444 • eastbaydeli.com

FRACTURED PRUNE Mouth watering doughnuts with various glazes and toppings 1247 Ben Sawyer Blvd., Mount Pleasant 843-936-6979 • fracturedprune.com

GALPAO GAUCHO A traditional Brazilian steakhouse, offers a menu with 17 different cuts of grilled meat, salads and iconic cheese bread. 167 East Bay St., Charleston 854-999-3950 • galpaogauchousa.com

HALLS CHOPHOUSE Filet mignon, pepper jack creamed corn skillet, Southern caramel cake, fried green tomatoes, Halls chop salad 434 King St., Charleston 300 Nexton Square Dr., Summerville 843-727-0090 hallschophouse.com

HERD PROVISIONS Double Herd burger, short rib poutine, house made veg burger, brussels in garlic shoyu, beef carpaccio. 106 Grove St., Charleston 843-637-4145 herdprovisionscharleston.com

HOLY CITY BREWING Holy City burger, chicken wings, soft pretzels 1021 Aragon Ave., North Charleston 843-459-2948 holycitybrewing.com

HOME TEAM BBQ Smoked chicken wings, pulled pork, BBQ nachos, mac and cheese, collards and famous frozen cocktails 1205 Ashley River Road, Charleston 843-225-7427 126 Williman St., Charleston 843-225-7427 2209 Middle St., Sullivan’s Island 843-883-3131 hometeambbq.com

GENE’S HAUFBRAU Buffayaki or Southern fried wings, hand breaded chicken tenders, the motherload burger, fried pork chop sandwich, chicken quesadilla 817 Savannah Hwy, Charleston 843-225-4363 • genes.beer

THE GLASS ONION Upbeat spot serving refined, locally sourced soul-food favorites in charming environs. 1219 Savannah Highway, Charleston 843-225-1717 • ilovetheglassonion.com

JL’S SOUTHWEST BRISKET BURGERS Favorites: Green Chile Cheeseburger, Gringo Cheeseburger, Chile Cheese Hot Gut Dogs, Fire Roasted Hatch Chile Cheese Fries, Trio Sampler, Red Chile Sundae 464 N. Nassau St., Downtown (behind Lewis BBQ) 843-805-9500 lewisbarbecue.com/jls


JUNCTION KITCHEN Mexican hash: cactus-braised pork, black bean pico, crispy cheesy hashbrowns, over easy egg, avocado, honey jalapeño chutney 4438 Spruill Ave., North Charleston 843-745-9189 thejunctionkitchen.com

KISS CAFE Hash It Out, Nunzio Perfect French Dip, The New Yorker, and Specialty Mimosas. 1802 Crowne Commons Way, Johns Island • 843-405-8808 kiss-cafe.com

LEWIS BARBECUE El Sancho sandwich, Texas hot guts, beef brisket, pork spare ribs, green chile corn pudding, mac and cheese, brisket nachos, banana pudding 464 N. Nassau St., Downtown 843.805.9500 lewisbarbecue.com

MALIKA PAKISTANI CHAI CANTINA Chicken Tikka Roll, Chicken Biryani, Samosa Chaat, Chaat Papri, Beef Shami Bun 1333 Theater Dr., Mt Pleasant malikacanteen.com

MAYA CHARLESTON Tostada De Atun, Al Pastor Taco, Pollo en Mole, Hotel Oaxaca Cocktail, Mezcal Gelato 479-B King St., Charelston 843-789-4299 • mayachs.com Mayachs.com

MEX 1 COASTAL CANTINA Taco tailgate box, Mex 1 margarita mix, guacamole and quesadillas 817 St Andrews Blvd., West Ashley 843-751-4001 2205 Middle St., Sullivan’s Island 843882-8172 1109 Park W Blvd., Mount Pleasant 843-352-9699 mex1coastalcantina.com

OASIS CHARLESTON A sanctuary of sorts. Check our our smoothies, bowls and wraps! 476 Meeting St., Charleston toasttab.com/oasis-charleston-476meeting-street/v3

OYSTER HOUSE Oyster shooter, whole crispy flounder, snapper, coast seafood special, she crab soup, roasted beet salad 35 S. Market St., Charleston 843-853-2900 oysterhouse.menu

PINK CACTUS Don’t miss our killer tamales, tacos, enchiladas, tortas, quesadillas and most importantly — margaritas! 100 A Spring St., Charleston 843-764-9343 • pinkcactuschs.com

POE’S TAVERN Charleston’s best burger (City Paper Best of Charleston, 7 years in a row!), tacos and salads 2210 Middle St., Sullivan’s Island 843-883-0083 poestavern.com

POKE BROS Signature bowls like “The Duke” or the “Johnny Utah”, or build your own bowl. Mochi ice cream. GF options. 5070 International Blvd., North Charleston 644-H1 Long Point Road, Mount Pleasant • 843-800-5600 • eatpokebros.com

PORT OF CALL FOOD & BEER HALL Includes Bok Choy Boy, Empire Oyster, Palmira Barbeque, Bapko (Greek), and Laca (Portuguese) 99 South Market St., Charleston 843-367-2167 Portofcallchs.com

RED’S ICE HOUSE Bubba Shrimp Platter, Smokehouse Platter, Palmetto Burger, Old Bay Shrimp Salad, Wild Buffalo Chicken Wrap 98 Church Street, Mount Pleasant 843-388-0003 redsicehouse.com

SEANACHAI WHISKEY & COCKTAIL BAR Steak Frites, Fish and Chips, HouseMade Corned Beef and Cabbage, Burgers, Brunch 3157 Maybank Highway, Johns Island 843-737-4221 seanachaiwhiskeyandcocktailbar.com

THE SHELTER Chicken bog, shrimp and grits, patty melt, brisket melt, golden beat salad, bbq pork quesadilla 202 Coleman Blvd., Mount Pleasant 843-388-3625 theshelterkitchenandbar.com

STEEL CITY PIZZA Steel City Special, Signature Godfather Weggie, Cauliflower Crust Pizzas (gluten-free!), Lasagna, Parmesan Dippers 1440 Ben Sawyer Blvd. #1301, Mt Pleasant • 843-856-2525 8600 Dorchester Road, North Charleston. 843-225-6111 2511 North Main St., Summerville • 843-867-6100 steelcitypizza.com

SUNRISE BISTRO Breakfast burrito, open faced omelets, grits bowl, shrimp and grits 1039 Johnnie Dodds Ave, Mt Pleasant

TRIANGLE CHAR & BAR Killer burgers, a sweet selection of tacos, eclectic entrees and an array of tasty bar snacks. 828 Savannah Highway, Charleston 843-377-1300 • trianglecharandbar.com

VICKERY’S Lowcountry sauté, shrimp, sausage and grits, classic Cuban sandwich, down South pork loin, cashet encrusted tuna salad 1313 Shrimp Boat Lane, Mt. Pleasant 843-884-4440 • vickerysmtp.com

THE WASHOUT Washout burger, blackened mahi tacos, lobster roll, seared tuna wrap, mac n cheese bites, fried shrimp & flounder 41 Center St., Folly Beach 843-633-0143 • follywashout.com

WILD COMMON Wild Common’s culinary experiences feature Executive Chef Orlando Pagán’s custom tasting menu in one of Charleston’s most inspired spaces. 103 Spring St., Charleston• 843-817-7311 wildcommoncharleston.com

VINED: THE VEGAN EXPERIENCE Vined Burger, Vings, “Shrimp” Po’boy , “Shrimp” and Grits, Not Your Average Dog 5117 Dorchester Road, Unit G North Charleston • 843-996-4621 facebook.com/VinedTVE

ZIA TAQUERIA Baja and grilled fish tacos, the perfect nachos, beef barbacoa, fresh guacamole, chocolate tres leches with brandy whip cream. 1939 Maybank Highway, Charleston 843-406-8877 • ziataco.com/chs

charlestoncitypaper.com || 49

MAYA DEL SOL Five course chef table dinner experience by reservation only. Thu - Sat 1813 Suite B, Reynolds Ave., North Charleston 843-225-2390 raulsmayadelsol.com

843-856-7796 1797 Main Road, Johns Island 843-718-1858 110 Miles Jamison Road, Summerville 843-225-6201 • sunrise-bistro.com


50 || DISH || Fall 2021

Try This

Maple Bacon Walnut Tart By Caitlin Schumacher This unusual tart is one of my favorite fall recipes to make. The sweet, salty, smoky combination is perfectly balanced and would be enhanced only by a scoop of ice cream — buttermilk ice cream would be my first choice. The filling is reminiscent of a gooey pecan pie, with a lot of extra goodies mixed in. The tart dough is tender and buttery and an excellent base recipe to have in one’s skill set. I borrowed and adapted this recipe, with her husband Ben’s blessing, from my late mentor, Karen Barker. This tart was on the menu when I was a pastry assistant at Magnolia Grill in Durham, North Carolina. I remember at that time (2008), we were just starting to see bacon become a more popular ingredient in American desserts. I loved learning this recipe with Karen because instead of being gimmicky or trendy, it stands the test of time. The bacon really plays well with the other flavors — the slight bitterness and earthiness of the toasted walnuts anchors the super sweet dates, the cinnamon and brandy lend warm fall vibes, a little punch from the cayenne and the brown butter gives depth. Texturally, the crunch from the walnuts, the chew of the bacon, the sticky dates, rich buttery crust — this dessert has everything going on! It’s a perfect example, to me, of what Karen was so good at — making flavors and textures work together so well that they sing. Eating her food, you knew you would always remember it. My husband Tori (executive chef at The Ordinary) loves this tart and requests it every Thanksgiving. While we were living in San Francisco, it was tough to get home, so we always celebrated the holiday with an incredible group of very talented cooks and restaurant folk. The first fall living there after leaving Magnolia, I was so nervous to bring a dish to our first Friendsgiving potluck. I ended up making Karen’s maple bacon walnut tart — it was a huge hit! It’s been a part of our family’s tradition ever since. Caitlin Schumacher is the chef and owner of the Girl Nextdough food truck.

Rūta Smith file photo

Schumacher parks her food truck weekly on James Island

Courtesy Girl Nextdough

MAPLE BACON WALNUT TART Makes one 12-inch tart. TART DOUGH 1 ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour 2 tablespoons sugar ¼ teaspoon kosher salt 4 oz unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled 1 egg yolk 2 tablespoons cream 1 egg white 1) Combine flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade. Add the chilled butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal (there should be no butter pieces larger than a small pea). 2) Mix the egg yolk and cream in a small bowl and add to the mixture in the processor. Pulse until the dough just comes together. 3) Turn the dough out onto an unfloured surface and knead several times. Pat into a flattened disk, wrap and chill for 1-2 hours (or freeze). 4) Remove the dough from the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes before rolling. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to an 12-inch’ round; turning dough often to prevent sticking. 5) Fit the dough into a 11- or 12-inch fluted metal tart pan. Prick the bottom with a fork and freeze for at least 30 minutes. 6) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place a large piece of parchment paper into the frozen crust and fill with rice, beans, or your preferred pie weight. Bake for 20 minutes, then use the parchment overhang to lift the weights out. Continue baking for 5-8 minutes more, or until light golden in color. 7) Remove tart shell from oven and use a pastry brush to quickly coat the bottom and sides of the tart shell (this will create a barrier between the crust and the liquid filling to ensure a crispier crust). 8) Let cool completely. Place the par-baked tart shell on a baking sheet lined with foil and proceed to making the filling.

FILLING 3 ½ ounces bacon, cut into small pieces 1 ½ cups walnut pieces, toasted and rubbed 6 ounces dates, cut into small pieces 2 tsp all purpose flour 2 eggs + 2 egg yolks ¼ cup sugar ¼ cup light brown sugar ¼ teaspoon kosher salt 1/8 teaspoon cayenne 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 2 tablespoons brandy ¾ cup corn syrup ¼ cup maple syrup 2 ounces butter, melted and browned 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Scatter the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes. While the walnuts are warm, use a kitchen towel to rub most of the skins off. 2) Cook the bacon over medium heat in a small sauté pan. Line a bowl with paper towels and drain. 3) In a small sauté pan, melt the butter until the solids just start to brown. Remove from pan and set aside. 4) In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugars, spices, brandy, corn syrup, maple syrup, brown butter and vanilla. Transfer to a pitcher and set aside. 5) In a small bowl, toss the chopped dates with the all purpose flour. 6) Scatter the floured dates, drained bacon and walnuts evenly in the pre-baked shell (on a foil-lined sheet pan) and place in the oven on center rack. 7) Slowly and carefully pour the liquid filling into the tart shell, evenly covering the bacon, walnuts and dates. Do not overfill! 8) Bake for 40-45 minutes until puffed and set. Cool completely before unmolding.


Adapting for Success

Culinary and hospitality professionals know they must adapt to quick changes to keep their customers happy.

Our students are learning that lesson as well. The Culinary Institute of Charleston has made important changes, including online classes, socially distanced labs, required safety equipment and increased sanitation measures, allowing students to continue working toward their dream careers.

Now’s a great time to enroll— culinary and hospitality programs are TUITION FREE through summer. Spring Semester starts Jan 10. Maymester starts May 10. Summer Semester starts June 1.

CI21-020

www.CulinaryInstituteofCharleston.com • 843.820.5090

Profile for CharlestonCityPaper

Charleston City Paper - Dish Dining Guide, Fall 2021  

Founded in 1997, the locally owned and operated Charleston City Paper is Charleston’s only weekly alternative newspaper and the second-large...

Charleston City Paper - Dish Dining Guide, Fall 2021  

Founded in 1997, the locally owned and operated Charleston City Paper is Charleston’s only weekly alternative newspaper and the second-large...

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