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#16 Nancy S.

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 02:52 AM

These are a pair of excellent reviews -- impressive observations and writing.

#17 irnscrabblechf52

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 04:47 AM

is the cooking at the Brock properties particular to Charleston/Carolina, or a more generic imaging of the South?
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#18 Adrian

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 02:07 PM

Thanks Nancy.

Depends on the property (I think, small sample size at play here).

McCrady's seems to be in the global haute-modern style except it uses almost wholly southern ingredients. Look at the fish courses. The mahi, tilefish, and local clams and oysters are unique to the area. The flavors had a broader scope. The southern thing still comes out because 1) the ingredients give the food somewhat of a "low country" flavour profile (my egg) or 2) because Brock's interested in it. So I'm sure that on some days it seems more southern inflected than on others.

Husk is more explicitly grounded in the cuisine of the low country. Brock, according to the New Yorker, is pretty obsessed with the region and has a huge collection of old cook books from the area. My meal didn't have any cajun, creole, soul food, or barbeque influence. Which isn't to say that Brock never puts that kind of food on the menu - the man's got a giant smoker in the back yard - but the focus seems pretty explicitly low country to me.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#19 Adrian

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 06:46 PM

And finally, Bar Husk, probably the best use of a carriage house in all of Charleston. The downstairs features the main bar and some secondary, non-bar seating. The upstairs has more tables and some banquets, the roof is unfinished, leaving you to drink beneath the rafters. Simply a tremendous place to have a drink. Cocktails were average for a serious bar - a smoked apple juice and bourbon based drink was a touch to smokey and out of balance, the vieux carre well made but watery due to poor ice (no cubes - big ice or on the rock please), the barrel aged manhattan being the one exception, the smoothness and complexity worth the premium. My girlfriend mostly stuck to bourbon, she loved the Russel 10 and my mom, enamored with the Madeira from dinner (Mr. McCrady was a Madeira importer, nice touch) ordered their driest - which they said they were out of, until they ran across the alley to the main restaurant to get some more. No Pappy Van Winkle for us. The cheapest was $45, the 23 year old $85, some other time.

The best part about Bar Husk, other than the extensive bourbon selection, was that it managed to do what most serious bars are unable to: it was not so quiet and reverent that your conversation had to be hushed, nor boisterous and booming and, inevitably, douchey. Instead it had the vibe of a neighborhood bar with better design and better booze - simply a place to hang out (the crowd was mostly Brock employees, people there after dinner, and locals, age range was broad). Excellent.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#20 Rail Paul

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 03:06 AM

Dee and I had dinner at Husk last week, so I won't duplicate Adrian's wonderful description, other than to affirm it. This is a very impressive restaurant.

The flint corn bread really tastes of corn and not of sugar. The shrimp and grits is fragrant and filling. The duck confit is superb, just a wonderful dish. I understand the [sous vide] confit process is followed by roasting the spice rubbed duck. Amazing. The restaurant was happy to accommodate a dietary issue ("no problem, how about we just put it on the string beans etc we use under the chicken?") and comp'd a delayed side order of red beans.

The restaurant allows ample time for dining, no effort to push folks out the door. In our case, it worked well. We were offered a 9.45pm reservation, but the hostess suggested we check in around 9pm, just in case. We had a drink and were seated by 9.15, as the restaurant was only about 2/3 filled. It often accepts lunch walk-ins after 1pm - 1.15pm, I was told.

The menu morphs on a daily basis, I noticed the shrimp/ ham and grits is now shrimp/clams and grits. The pig ears were great. Thin, julienne strips of ham, melt in your mouth.

The only minor quibble was the Blinker, a 1920s drink. Small, watery, and not impressive of grapefruit, vodka, or anything else. Minor problem.

Totally by coincidence, I had my hair cut earlier in the day. A fellow in the next chair mentioned his family had lived in the house now used by Husk in the 1940s. They had a survival garden there, and it often tided the family over between pay checks.

Nice place, can't wait to go back.

Walking around, I noticed a lot of interesting restaurants. For a city of 150,000 people, they certainly seem to have a lot of upscale and interesting places. Several brew houses, as well.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#21 robert40

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 05:09 AM

Dee and I had dinner at Husk last week, so I won't duplicate Adrian's wonderful description, other than to affirm it. This is a very impressive restaurant.

The flint corn bread really tastes of corn and not of sugar. The shrimp and grits is fragrant and filling. The duck confit is superb, just a wonderful dish. I understand the [sous vide] confit process is followed by roasting the spice rubbed duck. Amazing. The restaurant was happy to accommodate a dietary issue ("no problem, how about we just put it on the string beans etc we use under the chicken?") and comp'd a delayed side order of red beans.

The restaurant allows ample time for dining, no effort to push folks out the door. In our case, it worked well. We were offered a 9.45pm reservation, but the hostess suggested we check in around 9pm, just in case. We had a drink and were seated by 9.15, as the restaurant was only about 2/3 filled. It often accepts lunch walk-ins after 1pm - 1.15pm, I was told.

The menu morphs on a daily basis, I noticed the shrimp/ ham and grits is now shrimp/clams and grits. The pig ears were great. Thin, julienne strips of ham, melt in your mouth.

The only minor quibble was the Blinker, a 1920s drink. Small, watery, and not impressive of grapefruit, vodka, or anything else. Minor problem.

Totally by coincidence, I had my hair cut earlier in the day. A fellow in the next chair mentioned his family had lived in the house now used by Husk in the 1940s. They had a survival garden there, and it often tided the family over between pay checks.

Nice place, can't wait to go back.

Walking around, I noticed a lot of interesting restaurants. For a city of 150,000 people, they certainly seem to have a lot of upscale and interesting places. Several brew houses, as well.

Glad to hear you enjoyed it. I have reservations at the end of the month and am looking forward to it.

#22 Rail Paul

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 01:10 PM

Thanks, Robert.

Dee reminded me the fried lamb was a miss. I'd agree with that. Breaded and fried slices of pounded lamb. Could have been pork, beef, etc. No signature taste of lamb. Probably typical of food in the 1840s, etc, though.

Read better than it tasted for us

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#23 Adrian

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 02:33 PM

Nice write-up. Those read beans are great, aren't they (had them with the egg at McCrady's)? Agree that the cocktails have dilution issues. Best to stick to bourbon or drinks not serves over rocks.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#24 Rail Paul

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 10:34 PM

Nice video interview with Roderick Hale Weaver in Garden & Gun. Mr Weaver is Husk's bar director.


Swizzle my PEE-can

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#25 Rail Paul

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 02:10 AM

Alan Richman of GQ magazine explains why Husk didn't make his list of 10 best new restaurants in the US

Three appetizers at my first meal were the best dishes I ate. Local oysters were enlivened with a complex mignonette; clams came in a salty, smoky, but nevertheless tasty shellfish broth. Brock's crispy pigs' ears with pickled cabbage in lettuce wraps was the most inspired use ever of a dubious foodstuff heretofore best employed as a chew treat for dogs.

I had a side dish of baked grits with Tennessee Cheddar. The grits were so cheesy I found it impossible to appreciate the greatness of what I presumed was a prized local product. Much has been made of Brock's fascination with thoughtfully raised pork, but my chop was thin and overcooked. Chicken and dumplings was a catastrophe: dry white meat, nearly raw onions, tiny dumplings both hard and gummy.

Read More http://www.gq.com/fo...n#ixzz1mbKKSkCY


I expected more

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#26 Rail Paul

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 02:04 AM

Andrew Zimmern visits McCrady's for a look at Ossabaw pigs, hogs ears, and philosophy of food discussion with Sean Brock. Nice video. Good saw work on a recently deceased hog.

Brock has been omnipresent of late, with an appearance on Charlie Rose, this appearance on Bizarre Eats, and the upcoming Charleston Food Festival.

Carolina rice, too

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#27 Rail Paul

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 12:01 AM

Chef Jeremiah Bacon offers a personal guide to some Charleston places of interest to him.


Capers Island - "Capers is one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier islands. It's a very special place where you can see bottlenose dolphins, ospreys, pelicans, bald eagles, and loads of egrets. Then they have this area called Boneyard Beach, covered in all these sun-bleached tree skeletons and stumps. It's where I took my wife for our first date."

Fig Restaurant - "My favorite dish in Charleston is probably the coddled egg dish over at Mike Lata's Fig. They'll change the accompaniments every once in a while, seasonally. Last time I was there it had parsnip cream and mushrooms. It's always a solid dish."

Butcher & Bee - "This a great spot that just opened up this fall. They're open for lunch and then again for late-night 'til 3 a.m. They've got big ideas, too. They're growing a garden out behind the restaurant, and their menu's constantly changing and developing. Our restaurant is only about eight blocks away, so it's pretty exciting to go down there on a Tuesday night and get a General Tso's sub."



Several more suggestions in Charleston

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#28 helena

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 11:26 PM

an impromptu getaway to the area next week with stops at Cary to meet with friends at some local brewpub, then couple of nights in Charleston (day trip to Savannah), Asheville, and the last stop somewhere at Blue Ridge.
This thread is very helpful - made a reservation for McCrady's; would love to get recommendations for breakfast places and sightseeing (Paul's link is carefully studied :) )

Also any suggestions for food along the route...
"farangs are full of surprises. It's the erudition that impresses her, not the quality of the evidence." Bangkok 8

#29 Wilfrid

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 09:12 PM

Planning to be in Charleston in June. Staggered to discover McCrady's will apparently take reservations this far in advance. :shrug:

#30 Adrian

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 07:38 PM

I was shocked at how far in advance I was able to book (four months I think). But this goes to Orik and AB's point on the NoMad (?) Atera (?) thread - there are way fewer constraints in Charleston than in NY (or Montreal or Toronto). Everywhere I ate there was massive (they felt intimate, though).

Cypress: Huge formal room downstairs, open kitchen with a giant wood burning grill, second formal room for private parties upstairs, and a huge lounge/bar area PLUS space to do their own charcuterie.

McCrady's: Giant formal room plus large bar area (with extra formal seating and it's own separate menu). At least two or three other secondary rooms for banquets, private dining etc. plus room to age meats upstairs AND a rooftop garden.

Husk: three rooms downstairs, at least three upstairs, huge kitchen, space outside for a giant smoker, balcony and porch seating AND adjacent carriage house with a downstairs bar/waiting room PLUS upstairs table seating.

Hope and Union: coffee house with the entire first and second floor of a house for seating plus outside PLUS modern addition at the back where they actually serve the coffee.

Literally every place I passed was like that. It's insane.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.