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Sep 8, 2009 05:40 AM

The Wreck, Shem Creek, Mt. Pleasant, SC

As a 'hound since CH version 1.0, I have never been compelled to post on this board a negative review. Of course I have had bad experiences, but I usually will let it go. However, I feel that it is my responsibility to report on my family's experience at The Wreck Sunday 9/6/09. Let me begin by saying that I have been eating at The Wreck since the beginning. Not often, but maybe once a year. It goes without saying I know what I know what it is, simply a dive that serves fried seafood. However, it had its charm, and at one time , good simple food.
The Wreck opens Sundays at 5:30 pm and we arrived about 6:15, and were told we would have an hour wait. That is not unusual on the weekend, when the lot is full and a line snakes out the door. However, we parked without difficulty and there was no line and I could see empty tables. I inquired as to the wait, and was told they didn't have but 2 wait staff and they did not want to swamp them. Fair enough. We were seated in about 45 minutes and were told the list of what they were out of, including she crab soup, the fried hominy squares that come with each dinner, and a few other items. No big deal. The boiled peanuts arrived and in retrospect, we should have savored each one as they were the highlight of the meal. My daughter had the Charlene portion of fried shrimp and my wife and I had the Richard portion of fried shrimp and fried oysters. Each meal comes with red rice, a fried hominy square (missing) , slaw and hushpuppies. The rice was dry enough to have been left over from last week and the ONE hushpuppy was burnt to a crisp. The slaw was ok. The seafood portions were tiny and flavorless. We managed to eat some of the meal while discussing our past meals there.
There was no comparison to the restaurant of the past to today's Wreck.
The bill pre tip was $65.00!
I told one of my friends that lives walking distance from The Wreck in old Mt. P. and he said they used to go but no longer do so for the very reasons I detailed above. It truly used to be a local's spot, no sign, hard to find, few tourists.
However, since Jane and Michael Stern's and other food "celebrities" visits, and now being plugged by local hotels, it has become a tourist mill churning them through as fast as possible and the food and service has suffered.
Please be forwarned the The Wreck of old is GONE.

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  1. I had heard varying reports of The Wreck's demise, but when I was in there last time (first week of August 2009), it didn't seem that far off at all. The shrimp, oysters, and scallops were extremely fresh and flavorful. The rice and red slaw were perfectly cooked. The hushpuppy was crispy and had a dark flavor on the outside, and was soft and fluffy on the inside.

    The only thing different that I noticed was that the portions of seafood were a bit smaller (as were the rice and slaw). I think a lot of recent complaints have hinged on this aspect.

    Is there any casual place in the Charleston area that is better than The Wreck but still serves for the most part a local product? Obviously the more upscale places (FIG, Hominy, etc.) do. I think Dave's Carry-Out with their awesome shrimp platter might be on the mark. Same with Tomato Shed Cafe on Johns Island with their shrimp and crabcakes. What about Hank's? What about SeeWee (where I wasn't that impressed with the quantity or quality of their seafood the one time I stopped by, but everyone seems to think otherwise)?

    1. Wow! sorry about your experience, but better you than me ;-)

      I'm so glad now I let my Dad have his crappy tourist meal at a restaurant of his own choosing, rather than one of mine. (see my earlier post on Water's Edge)

      7 Replies
      1. re: danna

        danna I saw that!

        Several places do great local food. Buddy Roe's on Ben Sawyer has great shrimp baskets, as does Seel's on Sullivan's. Crave does too but it's a little more upscale. Seewee is my all time favorite and I will stand by it. I don't understand how the Wreck ran out of gritcakes.

        1. re: Sue in Mt P

          Thanks for the mention of Buddy Roe's. Some research reveals that they ONLY serve local, South Carolina shrimp. Apparently they and Glass Onion might be the only two casual places in Charleston that do this.

          Here's their menu for others to see:

          The Wreck is also on the list of South Carolina Shrimpers Association as only serving local or domestic shrimp. I ask everyone to review this list, because you'll see very few casual seafood restaurants that adhere to a local product - and this might explain the seemingly small portion sizes for the price that you get at some of these places, or the variation in portion size for the price on the menu depending on the season -

          1. re: mikeh

            I was at Magwood's yesterday to get my shrimp. They have a list on the wall of local places that purchase from them. BR's is on the list. There were more, but I didn't take notes! There are more casual placesthat serve local seafood ( it's a BIG DEAL here) and I'll make sure I pay attention next time I go.

            Thanks for the links.

            1. re: Sue in Mt P

              Thanks, and I look forward to hearing about more. I'm a stickler for a local product, and up in NC it seems that the coastal culture doesn't care as much about it as you do down there (part of why I visit so often).

              1. re: mikeh

                OT, If you vacation here be sure to go to the Mt Pleasant Farmer's Market Tuesdays at Moultrie Middle. The one downtown got all stacked up with crafts, latte, etc. MP is food only.

        2. re: danna

          we did get a Bacco experience Friday night so the weekend was not lost!
          BTW, you have, um, changed!
          I guess I need to update my avatar too.

          1. re: Tee

            I sniffled a bit as we drove past Bacco on the way to Shem Creek. Tragic.

            I had a sudden desire to not be recognized. ;-)