Charleston SC - yummiest of the best?
Very excited about going to Charleston for the weekend (from DC). I read the board and there seems to be consensus on Momma Brown's BBQ (so we'll go there), but not on anything else.
At this point, based on your reviews, my picks are below -- what do you all say about them, and which ones should be for lunch or dinner?
In loose order:
maybe Langdon's since asian-southern sounded interesting
Fast & French for lunch or snack
what about Jestine's?
Sweetwater Cafe or The Bookstore Cafe for breakfast?
(also, any particular recommendations for neighborhoods or neat things to explore in winter would be appreciated! email me offlist if you want)
I hope you enjoy your visit to Charleston! SNOB is good for lunch or dinner. The menu selection is better at dinner, but it's one of the few upscale restaurants in the historic district that opens for lunch. Jestine's is also good for both. Don't miss the coca cola cake! If you get a breakfast casserole at the Bookstore Cafe, you'll probably want to skip lunch. They're huge! Langdon's is dinner only. If you like duck, definitely don't miss their duck breast appetizer with red curry and sweet potato puree. Momma Brown's is buffet, open for lunch or dinner (but closes around 7 pm, I think).
As far as activities go, it's touristy and the drivers are prone to tell tall tales, but take a carriage tour of the historic district. It helps give you a lay of the land. Take a walk along the Battery. Go antiquing on lower King Street (even if it's just window gawking at some of the price tags). Buy cheap souvenirs in the Market. Have afternoon tea at Charleston Place hotel. If you go across the bridge, take a walk on the beach at Sullivan's Island. Even in winter, the weather is usually agreeable.
Rachel Ray on the Food Channel and the Sterns ( Roadfood ) both recommended the Hominy Grill (207 Rutledge )and so do I. You gotta try the sesame-crusted catfish with geechee peanut sauce and sauteed okra also buttermilk pie and their grits are beyond belief. B'fast there is wonderful. Very resonable prices. Another good choice for B'fast are some amazing sweet potato pancakes at Joseph's Rest. at 129 Meeting.
Charleston is called the Holy City for their many churches but one could argue that all those heavenly restaurants contribute to the name.
I thought the breakfasts at the Bookstore Cafe were about the best I ever had! There is something for everyone.
Well thank you all for great guidance! We structured our visit around eating, and it was excellent.
Peninsula Grill: oyster stew with hominy grits was INCREDIBLE. Rich, creamy, heaven. Other highlight was pork. Done perfectly, juicy but not overcooked, smoky, simple, mmm. Also the rack of lamb came with mashed potatoes with wild mushrooms that was scrumptious. chocolate dessert plate was huge and really good. Service was really good and friendly. It is pricey, but i thought well worth it.
Momma Brown's: wow. 7.99 AYCE. Fried chicken - salty, crispy, succulent, everything i could hope for. Candied yams- like nectar, mmm. Bread pudding -- is that all butter? Corn bread should be called corn cake, nice size grind of corn. I ate a heap of macaroni and cheese, curiously addictive. But the hush puppies - they were unbelievable -- sweet and salty and oniony and crispy and chewy. damn! DH ate a fair share of pulled pork in vinegar bbq sauce, though i was more keen on the chicken. (the mustard sauce thing was a no-go.) The fried okra was good, but rather eat hush puppies. Also good greens, with humungo chunks of pork fat in there.
SNOB: nice upbeat atmosphere and people seemed happy. Service was casual, wh. wine not cold enough for me. The dishes were interesting, but I'm not sure they completely worked. The tenderloin with fried oysters on top -- both parts were very tasty, but i didn't feel like they did anything special for each other taken together. Same for the tuna and crab cake - the flavors didn't relate. But they were quite good separately. I liked the carmelized pear salad a lot, though again, its parts didn't quite add up -- i think i'd have preferred grapes or dried cranberries to the prune -- like a light bright flavor instead of the heavy full sweetness of a prune.
Sweetwater's in Summerville - we were out there to go see Middleton, so we tried it. Pretty good. DH had biscuits w/ sausage gravy, very good, and pecan danish which i didn't even get to taste so must have been good. I had shrimp and grits. They weren't as good as the hominy i had at peninsula, but they had lots of good texture and creaminess. Surprisingly unsalty, though. The shrimp stew was good, not fabulous- i had to add salt and hot sauce.
Oh, and Fast and French (what's the other name, like merigault or something) down toward the Battery. It was a nice atmosphere, we had goat cheese w/ olive tapenade and a veggie salad w/ bland sesame dressing, and a good cold Red Stripe. It was ok, and very pleasant, and nice people, but i wouldn't rave abt the food.
Folly Beach was totally fogged-in -- we could barely see our feet. But we enjoyed it, and solved the visibility problem by shell-hunting for our kid, who we were missing.
The Battery was really pleasant and sunny.
Middleton was both interesting and beautiful.
The stores on King going north, not toward the Battery, were neat to explore.
Everyone we met was really friendly.
thanks again for your guidance!