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recommendation for a dinner in Charleston next week

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My wife and I are going to myrtle beach for a work-related conference, but want to escape to Charleston for an anniversary afternoon/evening (first time in SC). Would like to wander around (any suggestions for a mid-aftn respite?) and then end up w/ a leisurely dinner that includes the things my wife loves to eat: seafood and vegetables, after a good cocktail. One cuisine san francisco (our hometown) doesnt have much of is southern - so local take on these ingredients would be great. Neednt be a formal place, but cozy would be good. I see Fig and HUSK mentioned a lot; other suggestions? The Grocery?

Thank you!

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  1. Afternoon drink prior to meal - Zero George
    Meal - Ordinary or Fig
    After Drink - if you go to Ordinary go to Belmont, if you go to Fig go to McCradys

    1. It sound like you want to experience local "flavor". I'd look at Hank's,The Grocery, Hominy Grill and Amen Street..

      FIG may be THE best restaurant in Charleston, but for me it lacks the "sense of place" the others have.FIG could just as easily be in SF.

      4 Replies
      1. re: mollybelle

        I live in SF but FIG is the place we try going to every time we're in Charleston. No one in SF has access to the same local ingredients as FIG does. At FIG, you're getting softshell blue crabs from up in McClellanville, Carolina gold rice from Wadmalaw Island, ramps from the North Carolina mountains, triggerfish from local waters, or sorghum cake. We simply don't have the analogous ingredients to replicate those flavors here in SF.

        But I agree that a cup of she-crab soup, and meat-and-three (pick from a number of southern-style entrees including a few hyperlocal seafood catches and selection of 15 or so veggies, and a slice of buttermilk pie for dessert) for lunch/dinner at Hominy Grill, or some other places that are unabashedly lowcountry in flavor and recipe, should be considered as well and aren't replicated anywhere in the Bay Area (not even close). Hominy will give you the best sense of casual Southern.

        It's a tough choice if you're picking just one, but I'd probably make a reservation at Hominy (they take them for dinner) if you only have one meal. But if you have two, go to FIG.

        1. re: mikeh

          Anybody know if Hominy Grill takes reservations for parties of 1?

          1. re: kathryn

            Why not just call them and ask?

            1. re: carolinadawg

              Yeah was just hoping someone on CH would know. Hard to make a phone call when posting on CH quietly while multitasking at work...

              On a weeknight is a reservation even necessary?

      2. For a half day I suggest you leave as early as possible. It's a two hour ride between these towns...four hour round trip. We have done day/half-day trips, and they're fun, just leave as early as you can to really enjoy the trip.

        The Thoroughbred Club inside the lobby of Charleston Place Hotel is one of the most overlooked places for a drink in the city.

        1. Maybe people from Charleston can help me remember - I went to a dockside restaurant recommended by a local (12 years ago). From Charleston proper, we drove over some bridge and turned right, then went down an old road to the restaurant. I'm not sure, but it may have been on James' island.

          Charleston is a couple of hours from Myrtle Beach, will time be an issue?

          Poke around the internet for "Gullah Cuisine."

          2 Replies
          1. re: rudeboy

            Sounds like Bowen's Island Restaurant.

            http://www.bowensislandrestaurant.com/

            Or, it could have been one of the places on Shem Creek, like the Wreck, but that's towards Mt. Pleasant, not James Island.

            1. re: carolinadawg

              That's it! Thanks for the information, carolinadawg. I had a job over there, but haven't been back in a long time......

          2. If I only had an evening and didn't have reservations (for FIG for example which books up a month in advance), I wouldn't stray far from Market Street, if I'm being realistic. Unfortunately, the best food is NOT on Market Street. However, there are a few gems not far off the beaten path. For good Southern grub like Mac n Cheese (the best ever), go to Cru Cafe, one block from the market. If you want seafood (not greasy fried), go to Hanks, also one block from Market. Have your pre-dinner drinks at the rooftop bar at the Market Pavilion hotel and get a bird's eye view of the city! Also, if you like Coconut Cake, we have the world's best at Peninsula Grill on Market Street...also a wonderful option for dinner.

            If your wife wants seafood and veggies, I would avoid Husk...bacon, bacon and more bacon...and overrated in my opinion.

            As far as touring is concerned, Park at the market, check it out and head south down East Bay past Rainbow Row and to the battery. Cut down one of the residential streets and wind around until you get back to the market and have your well-deserved first drink at the Market Pavilion Rooftop.

            1 Reply
            1. re: nhinske

              While I disagree to avoid Husk, I will say that it is better reserved for lunch or brunch.

            2. Hominy Grill, Cru Cafe, or maybe score some bar seats at The Macintosh (great cocktails too). Upstairs from The Mac is The Cocktail Club where you can wait for a table downstairs, if you'd rather not eat at the bar @ The Mac.

              Charleston has great pedicabs that are fun to get around town in. Enjoy!

              1. Was just there last week- had a meal at McCradys- which was very good, but far from my style of food and eating -
                Two dinners at Charleston Place - excellent - Dinner at The Ordinary - excellent and dinner at Fig - also mostly excellent

                1. Hi -

                  Just want to thank everyone for the suggestions - and sorry it took so long; bad etiquette on my part! Went there on the 6th (before some of the recommendations came in), and went to Fig - lucked into a reservation a few days earlier. Think some of it was similar to what I get in SF - but as mikeh said, some of the ingredients and flavors were different and local (sorghum cake - wasnt expecting much as desserts often disappoint, but it was great, and unique), and all of it was really good, with a nice atmosphere for an anniversary dinner.
                  Enjoyed a walk beforehand - will have to return.
                  Didnt find much good food in Myrtle Beach, but thought the shrimp and grits at the sea captain's house were good - and some really good fried chicken at a place called Hog Heaven on the way down to Charleston.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dcrabca

                    The key to good food in myrtle beach is you don't eat in myrtle beach other than a handful of places...Murrells inlet, Pawleys is where the good stuff is!