Gwen Fowler



Only 18 “essential” restaurants in Charleston?

Posted 7/15/2012 11:40:00 AM

Could you come up with only 18 “essential” restaurants in Charleston?

Eater Charleston just came out with its list of “the places that you think of when you think of Charleston. Not necessarily the newest and hottest on the block, but the classics. Much like Peninsula Grill's coconut cake and Martha Lou's fried chicken, our town just wouldn't be our town without 'em.”

Here’s what made the list:

* Poe’s Tavern at Sullivan’s Island for delicious burgers and proximity to the ocean.

* Peninsula Grill for the coconut cake but also for the Banana “Panna Cotta” Pudding.

* Fat Hen in John’s Island for “food that is as fresh and local as possible.”

* Hominy Grill is “about as Southern as Southern can get. It’s a must stop for tourists and locals alike.”

* Bowens Island Restaurant “may be short on frills, but it’s long on charm. The menu is limited, but you are going … to Bowens for seafood.”

* McCrady’s for “inventive … cuisine, pre-Prohibition cocktails and a gorgeous space that dates from the early 1800s.”

* Martha Lou’s Kitchen is “home to some of the best fried chicken in the South. Macaroni and cheese, collard greens, catfish … you name a true Southern comfort food and Martha Lou’s will probably have it.”

* Hank’s Seafood “for excellent seafood and a beautiful locale.”

* Oak Steakhouse because “Oak knows how to do a steak. The Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Wedge Salad with Bibb lettuce, 24-ounce Bone-In Rib-Eye and French Fried Onions might be the perfect meal.”

* FIG. “The menu is driven by what is local and available, and the vegetables tend to be the stars of the plate.”

* Slightly North of Broad, or SNOB, is “ helmed by Executive Chef Frank Lee, a mentor to half of the culinary professionals in Charleston. … All you need to know is that this beautiful, former warehouse space with an open kitchen is inviting, friendly and, most importantly, delicious.”

* Jestine’s Kitchen on Meeting Street, where “lines of tourists and locals alike patiently wait to take …their turn at pork chops, fried chicken, iced tea and the famous Coca-Cola cake.”

* Charleston Grill is “home to one of the most elegant menus in Charleston.”

* The Glass Onion. “Chris Stewart and Sarah O’Kelley managed to bring New Orleans to the Lowcountry, and the combination is a winner.”

* Red Drum in Mount Pleasant, “for Lowcountry cuisine with a hint of Texas flavor.”

* Trattoria Lucca for “the freshest and best Italian cuisine in Charleston.”

* Cypress. “Executive Chef Craig Deihl is a two-time James Beard nominee, a charcuterie master, and an advocate for the locavore movement.”

* High Cotton is a “Charleston classic … with dishes like Buttermilk Fried Oysters, Carolina Peach Salad and Shrimp and Grits.”

Eater is an online publication about dining and drinking. It began in New York in 2005 and has moved to more than 16 other cities, including Charleston.