By Jarred Kibbey
Jarred recently took of trip to one of the top food towns in the country … Charleston. Here’s a complete rundown of the places he checked out.
Little Jack’s Tavern
LJT is known for their little burgers, which are slightly bigger than a slider, but smaller than regular size. Recently named the top burger by Bon Appetite magazine, it was my first stop in town. Our waiter recommended that we order two singles off the appetizer menu (a double is listed as a main course, and the single is listed again on the dessert menu). Two small burgers and a basket of fries is the way to go here – very tasty. I would definitely go here again (and again).
Nana’s Seafood and Soul Takeout
Nana’s is off the beaten path and even many locals don’t know about it, but this place does soul food right. We ordered the “Nana’s Platter,” which consisted of fried oysters, shrimp, whiting (a fish I have never had, but was delicious), deviled crab, and fries. We also got an order of their famous garlic shrimp. They also serve a delicious pineapple tea that everyone needs to try. I can’t say enough good things about this place. While the idea of fried shrimp doesn’t excite me, I would order them again in a heartbeat.
Sorghum & Salt
A relative newcomer to the Charleston food scene, I had very high hopes for this place and ordered the 7-course tasting menu. They tried to do some very creative things, but in the end, most dishes fell flat, were very heavy, and flavors got muddled. The meal was capped off by what is likely the worst bite of the trip – Blue Cheese Mousse with black olive jam, apricot puree, and grapefruit walnut candy.
Rodney Scott BBQ
Rodney Scott’s specializes in whole hog BBQ. On our trip we ordered some of the whole hog pulled pork, pork ribs, and about every side under the sun. The ribs were spectacular and the sides were also some of the best I have had at a BBQ joint, especially the cornbread. The pulled pork, on the other hand, was very bland and I didn’t care for their BBQ sauces either. While the pulled pork wasn’t good, the other seven items I tried are worth a repeat visit. Since my visit, Rodney Scott has won the James Beard Award for Best Chef South.
One Broad Street
Very neat space in a recently restored downtown building. We only got a pastry and coffee there (both good), but this place is on my list to try a meal next time we went. I spoke to many locals that work in the area and they told me they go there a could times a week.
Sean Brock’s flagship restaurant for fine dining. McCrady’s tasting room is tucked away in the back of McCrady’s Tavern. McCrady’s tasting menu was 13 courses the night we went and featured inventive items such as an uni and cucumber starter, red shrimp, kimchi, and caviar, and smoked vanilla ice cream with banana rum compote. However, the winning dish of the night was the steak with carrot bordelaise sauce. This was quite possibly the best steak I have ever had. Lastly, the service was flawless. All these elements combined made this one of my favorite meals.
Jack of Cups
Jack of Cups is on Folly Island and is a low key fusion restaurant that blends Indian and Mexican food. I had the Verde Vindaloo, which was green tomatillo curry with potatoes and asparagus served with corn tortillas. It sounds weird and it was. But it was also delicious.
Lost Dog Café
If you find yourself on Folly Beach and wondering where the locals go for breakfast, Lost Dog Café is the place. It is a downhome diner with breakfast comfort food. Very solid option on the coast.
FIG – FOOD IS GOOD
One of the hardest reservations to get in town, but worth the trouble of setting an alarm exactly one month out to get reservations. The food is simple, but expertly prepared. Their use of acid to accentuate each dish is spectacular. The menu changes regularly, but the black bass tartare with avocado cream was a highlight. They also served the best gnocchi that I have ever had.
The Ordinary is a sister restaurant to FIG located in a restored bank. It is seafood centric with many small dishes to share. The standouts from our meal were the Peekytoe Crab Toast and the Vermillion Snapper with horseradish and caviar. They also had an extensive raw oyster menu.
Chez Nous is a very small French restaurant tucked away in a back alley. The menu completely changes each day offering two appetizer, two entrees, and two desserts. They dishes are simple, beautiful, and delicious. We ordered all six dishes and they were all fantastic. My favorite dishes were the roasted pork loin with walnut sauce and salt cod stuffed piquillo peppers.
Great coffee shop located on the first floor of our hotel. I am not a huge latte fan, but they had a special rosemary latte that I got a couple times.
Black Tap Coffee
One of the top coffee specialty roasters in Charleston. They do a very good pour over using their specialty coffees.
Revelator is a small chain with locations across the country, but they use very high quality coffees for their drinks and are worth the visit if you find yourself near one.
And a few spots in Savannah, GA
The Collins Quarter
The Collins Quarter offers brunch daily. Their menu offered some typical brunch options such as lox with cream cheese and bagel and more unique offerings such as French toast, topped with pulled pork, bacon, poached egg and Hollandaise sauce. Yes it was a gut bomb and yes it was delicious.
The Grey was named Eater’s Best New Restaurant last year. It is located in a beautifully restored art deco Greyhound bus station. The menu primarily consisted of small plates that are meant to be shared. The best dish of the evening was the cheesecake made from farmer’s cheese that is made in house with sorghum caramel.
Chocolat by Adam Turoni
Specialty chocolate shop serving inventive chocolates that are little works of art. Definitely a place to put yourself on a budget before you start walking around because every offering sounds delicious, but can add up quickly.