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My Charleston Itinerary...

This will be my first time in Charleston. I have been trying to plan this trip for some time, and am very excited its finally happening. Coming in over Labor Day weekend to celebrate our 1 year anniversary. We're getting in late Friday night, and leaving Monday after lunch.

We're staying at the Charleston Mill House. Here's what I have planned so far. Let me know if I'm missing anything or you'd change something...

Friday Night
The Macintosh (good since the kitchen is open late)

Saturday
Lunch – Fleet Landing (wife loves eating by the water, so while the foodie in me doesn't want to go, I have to give in on some things)
Dinner – Husk

Sunday
Brunch - Magnolia
Dinner - SNOB

Monday
Lunch - Hominy Grill

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  1. I think that looks great.

    Don't worry about Fleet. The harbor view is special and the food is fine.

    1. I would substitute F.I.G. or Grocery for the overrated Husk. Enjoy!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jeff C.

        I would have dinner at FIG and move Husk to Sunday brunch. Scrap either Magnolia or SNOB. I admit I have never been to either, but it's because their menus do not look interesting to me (and because I hated Blossom so much). Husk is better at a meal that lends itself to a little less pretension , IMHO.

      2. As I've been reading the Charleston posts, I've keep seeing the same thing about Husk. That's disappointing, b/c I really wanted it to be the highlight of my weekend dining, but from the sounds of it, it might not be.

        How is Brock's cooking there compare to McCrady's? Would you recommend one over the other?

        I've looked at both FIG and Grocery. Would you choose one of those over SNOB?

        5 Replies
        1. re: Corporate_40

          I would choose FIG over pretty much anything in Charleston, and either FIG or Grocery over SNOB for sure. Magnolia's is a non-starter for me; I think they've been phoning it in for over 10 years and a recent meal there did nothing to change my opinion of that. Chef Mike Lata at FIG is a big reason why Charleston's food scene is so vibrant in the farm-to-table or sea-to-table ethos that it has today; he was the pioneer in forging relationships with growers and fishmongers that other restaurants have now joined. While Sean Brock of Husk/McCrady's is a famous face of this movement right now, Lata in my opinion pulls it off better. I found Husk somewhat disappointing - too heavy-handed with certain thematic flavors like bacon to the exclusion of other elements. I think if Brock were actually the chef de cuisine of Husk, he would pull off his own menu better than whomever he has cooking the stuff in house (I once attended a private Husk expo dinner with Brock doing all the cooking and it was some of the best food I've ever had, but some of the same dishes I had at the actual Husk came nowhere close to it).

          McCrady's is a very different experience than all the other options you mention - it's more your traditional artful platings with experimental elements that doesn't necessarily have a lot of Southern influence in it.

          1. re: Corporate_40

            It's also possible that people's expectations for Husk don't match up with what the restaurant strives to be. I love Husk because in terms of flavors and vegetables they use, it's more of an eating adventure than any other place in town, and stays true to southern heritage. You'll find vegetables, grains, legumes, and other flavors on the plate that nobody in any kitchen anywhere else is using. You never know what will pop up on the menu. They just recently featured pokeweed in one dish! Not many other restaurants on the planet would go that route.

            It's also food that's very modestly presented. So I think it's easy to order a dish, and just see a cut of fish on top of a pile of beans, and think that you've had better fish and beans elsewhere. But if you pay attention to what you're eating. you'll likely realize that you're eating beans that no one else serves, in a sauce that no one else makes. It's always exciting. Very often it's food that, outside of Husk, you could find only on a kitchen table in the middle of nowhere, SC.

            1. re: rutabegar

              you know, that's EXACTLY what I was hoping for at Husk...and didn't find it. I'll hope to have better luck next time, my only dinner there was just a few months after opening, and other than that I've only been to brunch. I thought McCrady's was much more vegetable -centric from my last visit.

              1. re: rutabegar

                I agree rutabergar...I also think that it is more Appalachian Southern than Coastal Southern and that throws people off too.

              2. re: Corporate_40

                I found Husk to be very good and found McCrady's to be outstanding, though more expensive. I'd still try to sneak Husk in if you get the chance.

                FIG and Grocery are both great as well--definitely would choose over SNOB.

                As for some quick snacks/sandwiches, I'd check out Two Boroughs Larder and Butcher/Bee if you can.

              3. Well, just checked and FIG is booked Fri and Sat night, so there goes that option.

                Thanks for the comments though...

                9 Replies
                  1. re: Sue in Mt P

                    ha ha. But you know, I wouldn't have figured. I never get turned away from a res at FIG if I'm willing to eat early enough (or late enough)

                    1. re: danna

                      When I went a few weeks ago just before 6 p.m. on a Tuesday night, the dining room was booked all evening. And that tends to be a "slow night" in the restaurant biz. Of course, sitting at the bar ended up being an extraordinary experience in itself, so I'm not complaining.

                      1. re: mikeh

                        hmmm...note to self:

                        1. make reservations immediately when I figure out my Chas plans
                        2. stop recommending this place ;-)

                        1. re: danna

                          The OP is coming on Labor Day weekend. Places get booked up early for holiday weekends. Oh and Bridge Runs!

                          1. re: Sue in Mt P

                            I tried to book FIG for Labor Day wknd - as i understood it, they are not full, but rather Open Table says it's too far out to book. I was going to wait a week or so and try again. Although now I'm thinking I should call?

                              1. re: Sue in Mt P

                                I called. They don't accept any reservations earlier than 30 days out.

                                1. re: miss piggy

                                  That's great news, thanks. I think I'm going to keep my reservation at Husk, and swap out SNOB for FIG should I be able to get the time I need.

                1. A few snacking suggestions (if you have room...)

                  Would highly recommend a stop at Baked for a cookie or other treat (or six!) while you tour the town.

                  We also really enjoyed the Sat farmers market during our visit. Lots of fun vendors.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: BernieBrewer

                    Save room for a Blackberry Goat Cheese donut or a Nutella donut with Raspberry Jam from Glazed on upper King, too!

                  2. So I've decided to move my Husk reservation to Sunday night, and eat at FIG on Saturday night (waiting until Aug 2nd to make my reservation).

                    I'm sticking with Macintosh for Friday night b/c we'll get in late, just want to share a few apps in a festive bar environment. Plus is seems close to other bars we'd like to go to afterwards.

                    So that leaves me with brunch. I orginally chose Magnolia's b/c I like the menu and saw it on several Cooking Channel shows. However I've been reading a lot of good things about the Sunday brunch at High Cotton.

                    Any thoughts on Magnolia's vs. High Cotton for brunch, or is there another spot I should be looking at for a memorable, fun brunch?

                    And thanks again for everyone's inputs and comments. They are very much appreciated.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Corporate_40

                      Grocery for brunch. (WAY better than Magnolia's or High Cotton.)

                      1. re: Corporate_40

                        I do like Grocery. I've only been there once and it was during softshell season, so my opinion is skewed.

                        Magnolia is a ltttle more traditional than High Cotton, but they are both good.

                        I know t's hard not to overthink this, but try not to do that. Just enjoy Charleston.

                        1. re: Sue in Mt P

                          Yeah, I do tend to overthink my dining options to the point I can't even discuss them with my wife anymore, lol.

                          The only thing that has me leaning towards High Cotton for brunch is they have a jazz band playing, and that sounds like a fun time (the menu's are pretty similar, so that's a push).

                          1. re: Corporate_40

                            Corporate..... you asked for another option that might be "memorable for brunch"?
                            This is an easy recommendation for me to throw your way for Sunday brunch.

                            Check out Hall's Chophouse for thier "Gospel Sunday Brunch" for brunch with entertainment @10:30am - 2:00pm. http://hallschophouse.com/
                            Fun & the food was great! Great atmosphere. Great service. We have also had dinner there. Fantastic as well. Actually, dinner was one of our first meals there. Liked it so much went back because we had heard so many good things about the Sunday brunch. Highly recommend!

                            I can comment only on High Cotton for (dinner) and we left less then impressed with food and service as well. Maybe an off night? Not sure but from that experience we are in no rush to get back and find out. We were disapointed to say the least.
                            We have never had brunch there to be fair.

                            Have fun!

                            Edit- If you do choose Hall's, don't be shy and let them know you are celebrating an anniversary they are great with details if you want something special. They are on top of it!

                        2. re: Corporate_40

                          I ate at Macintosh last week and it was excellent. And I absolutely love The Cocktail Club upstairs! Enjoy Charleston!

                        3. Got my reservation at FIG, so itinerary is set!

                          Thanks for all the comments, very excited for our first trip to Charleston.

                          1. We went Hall's Chophouse Sunday for brunch.

                            We were greeted by the most gentile, pleasant hostess and the lovely, melodic sounds of the singer/piano player treating us to a glorious rendition of Oh Glory Hallelujah. We ascended the stairs into a beautifully appointed dining room and had a scrumptious feast of bloody marys, low country omlettes, and shrimp and grits. Oh if only I had room for the carmel cake I saw gliding by me to some lucky recipient. We listened to some more music downstairs before we left and concluded this was the highlight thus far of our trip. The service was friendly and impeccable and the food was amazing. I will definitely go back... maybe today!