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Mar 19, 2013 05:07 PM

Charleston advice: Husk or McCrady's? FIG or SNOB?

30-something New Yorker couple headed to Charleston for a long weekend (3 or 4 nights) and after reading a bunch of board posts, trying to make some tough choices...with an emphasis on unique, Lowcountry-type experiences. Won't put too much more exposition into this....

Have a Friday night reservation at Husk lined up. But read suprisingly mied public reaction, so willing to entertain the idea that we're better off at McCrady's instead. Anyone want to make that argument?

Also grabbed a Saturday reservation at SNOB, but only because FIG isn't accepting reservations yet for our dates. Seems like we won't go wrong with either, but wondering if there's a consensus among the two?

Haven't dug too deep into other places...more concerned with getting down Friday and Saturday night reservations. But more than welcoming of other general feedback or advice. From what little we've read, maybe 82 Queen for she-crab soup, Hominy Grill or High Cotton for shrimp and grits, Peninsula Grill for coconut cake, and Glazed Donuts because the wife loves donuts.

Any thoughts?

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  1. For me, I would do McCrady's and FIG.

    14 Replies
      1. re: ickymettle

        Think the more I read the more convinced I am about FIG...assuming I can get a reservation. But why McCrady's over Husk?

        1. re: wallyg

          Why McCrady's over Husk? If I had never been to either, and had merely read the press coverage, I would go to Husk no questions asked. Who wouldn't prefer cheaper, more casual, more heirloom produce focused? But, that's just not the way it played out for me. Now's a caveat, I've only been to Husk once for dinner and once for brunch, but I just didn't think it delivered on deliciousness. I liked the brunch WAY better and would recommend it if you're doing a brunch, try to get a res on the upstairs porch.

          McCrady's has just tasted better to me. Stay for dessert...i think they have the best pastry chef in town. I usually prefer to move on to a more casual place for dessert, like a gelato shop or something, but McCrady's is worth it.

          And...a million times FIG. Just call on the day they start taking res, it's not that hard to get's not like calling Babbo or something at 10am exactly 30 days to the date and getting the "fully committed" line :-)

          If I were trying to maximize an extra night, and especially if this were my first trip to the area, I might try to schedule a stop at Bowen's Island at sunset, eat a tray full of steamed low country cluster oysters , complete w/ pluff mud, and a local draft (and nothing else) on the deck, watch the sun set, go back to the hotel and change my shirt, and then have a more sophisticated late night dinner downtown.

          1. re: danna

            Excellent explanation, danna. And perfect recs.

            1. re: danna

              Thanks for the advice. The McCrady's over Husk opinion seems pretty unanimous around these boards, which I never would have expected once I started digging.

              I'm also sold on FIG...but will hold the SNOB reservation just in case. If for some reason FIG doesn't happen, is there a better backup than SNOB?

              This is our first trip to the area. We're going to have at least 3, maybe 4 nights...just wanted to keep some flexibility and only book 2 nights in advance. The problem is, we're going in early May...and I'd expect any oysters to be flown in from up north at that season. Is Bowens a reservation expected kind of place?

              1. re: wallyg

                Keep trying for a FIG reservation. You should be able to get something for sure if you're willing to go early. You could also eat at the bar, but it's small and fills up quick. SNOB is a great back up, but if you want something a little different, look at Tristan. You could also consider The Ordinary: same chef as FIG, different experience. I can highly recommend it.

                No reservations at Bowen's. You'll see what I mean when you get there. If there are no oysters get some shrimp. It's not the same play -with-your-food experience but the local ambience cannot be beat.

                Have a great time. May is beautiful.

                1. re: wallyg

                  The problem I have is husk vs mccradys is just not Comparable. I find them both delicious but no where near the same type of experience. I think of mccradys as fancy pants dinner. It doesn't have to be a special night out for Husk. I will go
                  Fig =must.
                  Bowens island is the Lowcountry experience...without taking time for somewhere like that you won't get the addiction the rest of us feel to the area.

                    1. re: wallyg

                      I agree with LaLa. Mccradys does feel more like a dress-up restaurant and Husk seems more casual, even though the service and ambiance are very professional. I'm a little prejudiced as my son works at Husk, but I have had great meals at both. You won't regret either choice, it just depends on what you want.
                      You can't go wrong at SNOB (the best Shrimp and Grits I've ever had),and if you can't get into FIG, the Ordinary and The Macintosh would also be good choices.
                      Have fun, it's a great town.....

                      1. re: wallyg

                        Not a native, but having been to CHS multiple times, my advice would be to set a 30 day reminder on your calendar and definitely try to get a dinner res at FIG.
                        As several others have pointed out, Sean Brocks two restaurants are like night and day. Our initial visit at McCrady's (09) was a bit of a disappointment in the way the tasting menu was executed, returned the following year and were much happier (no tasting menu). Went to Husk in '11 and it's our only CHS repeat for our '13 trip, though (if we hadn't already gone on every other visit) FIG would easily fit that bill.

                        1. re: Sam Spade

                          reminder is're all very convincing. thanks!

                        2. re: wallyg

                          I think the lunch at Husk is very ordinary. Although the buttermilk pie w/ strawberries I had once was sublime. And, as Danna pointed out, the porch is the place to dine.

                          I love the bar at Husk. It's a separate and smaller building and it's open yet dark and rustic. Great crafted cocktails, single batch bourbons, etc. and they do some pairings w/ cured meats (i.e. Kentucky bourbon w/ shaved country ham).

                          1. re: lynnlato

                            It struck as as the kind of place that wouldnt lose as much luster with a casual We figured we'd go just for the experience of it....and to try some of the signature small eats like the pig ear lettuce wraps and fried chicken skins.

                    2. re: danna

                      any idea when they stop serving the oysters at bowens? will may 1 be too late?

                2. Think we're sold on McCrady's over Husk for dinner. And if we can get into FIG, we'll do that. And probably try to do Bowen's for a third dinner like everyone suggested.

                  Thinking, from what I'm reading, that Husk might not be a bad lunch stop. Can you walk in on a Thursday or Friday afternoon or do you need reservations for that? How would you rank Husk, Hominy Grill and 82 Queen, in terms of lunch experiences?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: wallyg

                    In that order :) but 82 much further down the list than the other two...well it wouldn't be on my list at all.

                    1. re: LaLa

                      Had it there solely for the she-crab soup.

                      Where would Martha Lou's rank in that list?

                  2. Does anyone know at what point Fig accepts reservations? I too have a May weekend planned and would like to secure a reservation then. Many thanks!

                    1 Reply
                    1. Thanks to all for the advice.

                      We settled on dinner reservations for FIG and McCrady's and then talked ourselves into reservations for a third night at The Ordinary. The fourth night we'll use to check out Bowens Island.

                      We also decided we didnt want to miss out on trying Husk, so we made a lunch reservation. We'll make sure to hit Hominy for a breakfast/lunch and Martha Lou's for another lunch. Then try to sneak in a piece of coconut cake to go from Peninsula somewhere along the line.

                      With 4 days and nights, that's a pretty packed food schedule. 3 reservations and a must hit non reservation in 4 nights is a little less flexibility than we'd like...especially with a lunch reservation and 2 more must hit non breakfast/lunch placees...but I think committing to the Ordinary and Husk sounded worth it.

                      Will definitely report back so others can benefit from the forum the way I did (or hope to).

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: wallyg

                        That sounds like an excellent plan. I know you worked hard on this. I hope you have a great time, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

                        1. re: wallyg

                          Two of us walked into Peninsula Grill at 10:30 on a plain Tuesday evening a couple weeks ago...requested dessert..and were seated..ordered a piece of coconut cake and the banana panna cotta...the cake was heavenly..the panna cotta was transcendent..the portion of cake was quite generous..we finished it the next morning for my advice is have both..

                        2. So next question--if you're all saying a dessert nightcap at Peninsula Grill is a way to go, which desserts are worth skipping out of McCrady's, FIG and the Ordinary? I'm imagining the Ordinary?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: wallyg

                            Everyone knows I love FIG, but I have never been overly impressed w/ the desserts there. Although I have friends who adore the budino. McCrady's has excellent desserts, don't skip those.