One night in Charleston: is McCready's worth it?
Some friends and I are planning a weekend at Isle of Palms and want to drive into Charleston for dinner one night. I'm interested in McCready's because it sounds like Sean Brock is doing some things that you wouldn't expect to find in Charleston... molecular gastronomy or whatever you like to call it. Between the four of us, we spend a decent amount of time dining in NYC and Chicago... obviously I'm not expecting it to be Alinea, but I'd just like to hear more about how McCready's compares to other restaurants doing that style of food.
It compares poorly. I've been to both Alinea in Chicago and Daniel Patterson's Coi in San Francisco, and they both do molecular gastronomy far better than Sean Brock does. IMO, Brock lets experimentation get in the way of the bottom line, which is good-tasting food. You're far better served by trying any of the number of other Charleston restaurants that are on the cutting edge but still maintain some sort of regionality in their preparations that you won't find in Chicago or NYC - restaurants like Charleston Grill, Woodlands Inn, Circa 1886, or FIG.
I haven't been to Alinea, so I cant make any comparisons. We had a terrific meal at McCradys last year. I didn't find a great deal of molecular gastronomy; just well prepared, creative food. Link to a pic set below. I'm a vistor to Charleston and there are a lot of great restaurants..but McCrady's was a highlight.
Wherever you decide, if you haven't been to Charleston, it's worth setting aside an afternoon..or more to wander the historic district, and take in the architecture and history of the city. I think most of the restaurants mentioned(x Woodlands?) are located in a relatively small and walkable area.