Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General South Archive >
May 8, 2009 08:15 AM

Charleston Review

My mother was in town for 2 weeks, and we did more than our fair share of eating. I thought I would try to give a rundown of the good and the bad.

The good.....
The highlight of the entire visit was easily Huck's Lowcountry Table. If you haven't heard of it the chef/owner focuses on fresh and local, I believe the menu is SC certified, and if that isn't enough the whole restaurant has a spectacular view of the ocean. We went for dinner, although I think they are also open for lunch. One of us had the shrimp & grits, and this version rivals SNOB's, which I consider to be the best in town. It had a sage sausage gravy, which really added something to the dish. I had the crab cakes over spinach risotto and a roasted corn aioli. The crab cakes were nothing but crab, well cooked outside and meaty inside. The risotto was perfectly cooked and the spinach tasted very fresh. Lastly the 3rd entree was scallop risotto with leeks, bacon and roasted corn. Again everything was very fresh tasting and perfectly cooked. For dessert we tried the trio of ice creams, we tried the brown sugar & fig, caramel popcorn and grapefruit & thyme sorbet. All of them were very good, with the brown sugar & fig being my favorite, the caramel popcorn was also very good and the popcorn was not rubbery or chewy like I had expected and I feel like the grapefruit & thyme had too much thyme for my taste. The atmosphere kind of reminded me of Cru Cafe, relaxed and casual though if you wanted to show up in a prom dress you wouldn't feel out of place. If you go, they do not take reservations but you can call en route and add your name to the list.

My mother also enjoys soft shell crab and out of the three places she ordered it, the best according to her was at The Marina Variety Store. She liked it the best because instead of being drowned in breading it was a very light coating. I tasted her soft shell at Hominy Grill, and this is the one I liked the best, it had a tempura breading which imo was light enough to let the crab shine through.

We also had oysters at Bowen's Island Restaurant. End of the season oysters are really the way to go here and they were fresh, plump and tasty.....worth every bug bite we received!

The bad, or really the meh......
I really just want to start by saying none of the places we visited were bad, but they just didn't stand out compared to the others.

Boulevard Diner, I like this place but after our last visit I am in no hurry to go back. My mother and I both had the special, fried soft shell crab over pimento cheese grits. To start, I felt the breading was too heavy so you really couldn't taste the crab. I also felt the flavors of the pimento cheese grits not only didn't work, but they were also too strong for the dish.

Hank's, again here is a place I like but I am in no hurry to go back, I kind of feel like been there done that. I think for someone who hasn't been it's good and representative of old school lowcountry seafood, but for someone who lives here I feel like the menu hardly changes and I don't need the "Hank's experience."

Other places we went, and I will be happy to expand on any of them if asked, include:
Hominy Grill, Sunflower Cafe, Sesame, Jestine's, Momma Brown's, SeeWee and Poe's.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. please discuss the others too :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: LaLa

      Well since you asked nicely....;-)

      Hominy Grill was much better than the previous visit. I had the french toast, a first for me, and it was really good. Done perfectly on the outside and nice and creamy on the inside.

      We also went to Sunflower Cafe for brunch, we like it because it is one of the few places in town to get beignets. I ordered one of the many versions of eggs benedict on their menu, a poached egg on top of spicy sausage w/ peppers & onions finished off with a healthy dose of chipotle hollandaise sauce. It was spicy & good, and it was probably the best item I've had at Sunflower. My mom ordered pecan pancakes with banana syrup, which she said was good.

      Sesame was also good. We tried the homemade potato chips topped with blue cheese and onions. We all ordered burgers, and as always they were cooked exactly how we wanted. I don't think I've ever had a bad meal here, and that night was no exception.

      Jestine's was solid as usual. Two ordered the fried chicken, and it came out hot and juicy. I ordered the meatloaf and coca cola cake, and both were good.

      This was my first time at Momma Brown's, and I can't say I was overly impressed. The meat was great, I tried the mustard based pork and the turkey. The sides however are a different story, they tasted to me like they were not made in house and frankly they weren't very good.

      The seafood at See Wee tasted very fresh, and I love their collards. Dessert here is not to be missed, I had the caramel cake it was fantastic and definitely house made.

      Poe's is always good, I don't think I've ever gone wrong here. I really had a taste for fish tacos and they didn't disappoint. The bonus of course is sitting outside.

    2. I've always been a huge fan of Boulevard Diner but I agree they tend to over-bread sometimes.