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May 7, 2012 10:36 AM

Review of Dining in Charleston and Myrtle Beach - LONG

Just returned to NYC from a 10 day vacation to Charleston and Myrtle Beach and wanted to give my review of some restaurants as there are often questions about what's good in the area.
We stayed in NC Smithfield one night so I will review the restaurant in Smithfield as well.

Holt Lake BBQ in Smithfield - This place is a fried food paradise, the fried fish and shrimp were really good and the fried chicken was good too. Pulled Pork had good chili and vinager but I wished it was woodfired BBQ (missed that charcoal taste)...also very very inexpensive. Stay away from the Brunswick stew IMHO too sweet.

In Charleston we went to the following places
Blossom - Lunch - very good especially the Shrimp and Grits

High Cotton - overall good food in a great fancy pants ambiance everything was well executed and we would return...service was good too.

The Macintosh - this was a GREAT find...stick with the small plates and order lots of them, so interesting and really a must if you go to Charleston.

Bar Hopping on Monday is great for the specials- Pearlz Oyster, great fresh oysters,
McCrady's has possibly the best bar food I've ever had...EVER, skip the dinner do the bar, and the drinks are farm fresh and innovative too. I'd visit this bar again and again we ate every bar snack on the menu.
Cypress - $5 monday burger and chili dog night, chili dog was delish, bahn mi was to die for, burger was good but beware they won't promise to cook it anything less than medium...I had to beg the waitress to get it out medium rare and she refused to promise me I would get it that way...luckily I did so burger was a major score! Fried mac and cheese and flat bread were forgettable.
Fig- This is farm fresh at its best a MUST if in Charleston just great food
Martha Lous - Soul Food like I remember it as a kid, seriously possibly the best soul food I've had in a long time...and worth all the hype from Andrew Zimmer on Bizarre Foods.
Husk - So glad that chef Brock went back to his roots and left the WD 50 type molecular gastronomy behind! Husk was AMAZING...I know it gets mixed reviews but if you stick with the southern based stuff it's a huge hit...can we say pig ears and fried green tomatoes? (we had pork belly and shoulder with butter beans and potliker need I say more? But the BF had steak and though it was good it wasn't anything special).
Gullah Cuisine - disappointing, better 2 years ago...vegetables were still great but dry chicken and not good mac and cheese at soup was too tomato based and thick too...I would skip this next trip.

Try to get in a class or demo at Charleston Cooks Maverick Kitchens we did and it was great and fun and informative.

In Myrtle Beach we went to Tommy Bahamas, King Street Grille, Nacho Hippo and Gordon Bierch for happy hour and snacks in the Market Commons...all disappointing except that the beer spot had really good wine by the glass...typical chain restaurants with chain food not good.

Chive Blossom - this is a must if in Myrtle Beach, it's the best restaurant I've ever been to in the area and I would go back again and again! The atmosphere is great and live music with outdoor dining is a huge draw. Seafood is perfectly prepared and the menu is really innovative. It was wonderful from start to finish.

Aspen Grille - good steakhouse, nothing special or exciting but good and fresh food...a little pricey for the portions but meat was sourced properly and farm fresh produce was a definite plus! Service was also great, though things were a bit chaotic on a Saturday night (to be expected).

All in all a great foodie trip!

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  1. sounds like a lovely trip!

    1. Can't imagine going to Myrtle Beach and not going to an oyster roast joint.

      4 Replies
      1. re: pikawicca

        If she did this leg of the tour in May I can understand...I am old school and we finished up our last Roast the last week of April....until the Fall.

        1. re: pikawicca

          What kind of "oyster roast joints" does Myrtle Beach have?

          1. re: carolinadawg

            Our favorite spot was destroyed by Hurricane Hugo, and not rebuilt. This link lists some possibilities. In our experience, the more bare-bones the place, the better the oysters.

        2. I always thought it odd that there is such a lack of really good restaurants in Myrtle Beach proper. You have to go south to Murrells Inlet or north to Calabash to get great seafood. Been that way since I was a little kid, which is a long time!

          7 Replies
          1. re: arbyunc

            I'm not sure when you were a little kid, but when I was, there were 2 places: Planter's Back Porch and Rice Planter's Restaurant. Basically the same food, different locations. I would probably turn my nose up today, but back then I think they were partially responsible for my eventual food obsession. I think Rice Planter's was in MB proper. Ever go, by chance?

            1. re: danna

              Rice Planters was in MB proper but the Back Porch was in Murrells Inlet. They have been gone at least 25 years. Even as a child most our meals were in MI. There was one other place in MB called Aunt Maude's that we loved but alas it too is long gone. But I dont consider a handful out of 1500 to be good odds.

              1. re: LaLa

                Yep, I remember both Rice Planters and the Back Porch. We may have eaten there once or twice, but we were always conditioned to go to Calabash or Murrell's Inlet. I was born in 1958 (ack! Am I that old???). I remember having to wait for the draw bridge at Cherry Grove on the way to Calabash. One of my first memories ever is being at Lee's Inlet Kitchen--I got a fish bone stuck in my throat and everyone was freaking out. As I recall it was no big deal to me, but I sure got a lot of attention!

                And of course I may have overstated the case a bit--there are probably a few restaurants in Myrtle that are decent (Sea Captain's House, as an example), but as LaLa says the odds are stacked against it.

                1. re: arbyunc

                  You mean back when "OD" meant "Ocean Drive" not overdose?

                  1. re: arbyunc

                    My first Myrtle Beach dining memory was at lee's too!