Charleston: McCrady’s, The Ordinary, The Macintosh, The Cocktail Club
McCrady’s Beef Tartare – hay roasted beet, farro and lichen
Every year May seems to get busier and busier for me, and this one was no exception. Luckily, part of the busyness includes work travel and usually that’s to great cities with plenty of good food and drink!
Back in late April/early May, I visited Charleston to attend the Southern C Summit. This was actually my third Southern C to attend, with the others last year being held in Jekyll Island, Athens, and right here at home in Nashville. The conference itself has no shortage of fantastic food and drink. In fact, this time around we got to attend a party at High Wire Distilling and brunch at L’Atelier Le Creuset. Pretty cool!
But outside of the conference there was plenty of time to explore the city, including time to have dinner and drinks on our own every night, so here’s a little rundown of where I spent those hours!
Yes, that’s a bathroom selfie. Couldn’t resist. Had to show that cool Le Creuset pot turned sink!
2 Unity Aly
Charleston, SC 29401
My friend Tabitha was my travel buddy and roomie on this trip, and with really no need for discussion, she made our first dining reservation for McCrady’s. I’ve heard and read so much about it through the years, and have regretted not going when I was in Charleston a couple of years ago.
And let me tell you, it did not disappoint.
State Street Pearl cocktail at McCrady’s
First things first – the before dinner drinks. I was certainly not expecting to come to this white tablecloth, fine dining establishment and have one of the coolest cocktails I’ve ever had, but that’s what happened. The State Street Pearl was made up of gin, aperol, pineapple vinegar, lime, St Germain, and cinnamon boba. Boba, like as in bubble tea!
As for the food, McCrady’s offers a tasting menu, which we chose to do. First course was the gorgeous beef tartare that you see in my photo at the top of the post, and my second course was a trout with fava beans, parsnip, benne and wild bay. Next was the main entree, and I opted for the duo of pork with asparagus, morels, mustard and burnt honey.
For my dessert, I went for the one that didn’t necessarily sound the best to me (normally I would be all about the chocolate), but it was certainly the most interesting and I felt like I couldn’t NOT order it. Even after eating the frozen parfait of grits, geranium and preserved dewberry, I still can’t explain it, but I can tell you it was absolutely incredible!
Frozen parfait of grits, geranium and preserved dewberry at McCrady’s
Seafood and Oyster Hall
544 King St
Charleston, SC 29403
I feel like the most talked about Charleston restaurant in 2013 was The Ordinary, so there was absolutely no way I could overlook it. That said, I think maybe my expectations were raised a little TOO high. Not that it wasn’t great – it absolutely was. But, I just wasn’t completely blown away by it. I love seafood, and we all know we don’t get nearly enough of it here in Nashville, so it was nice to have all of those fresh options right in front of me.
Everything was delicious, and the service was top notch, so I say if you are in Charleston for a few nights, it’s definitely worth a visit. (Be sure to check out chef/owner Mike Lata’s other restaurant, Fig too. It was my favorite Charleston meal on my last trip!)
Oyster Sliders at The Ordinary
The Ordinary’s pickled white shrimp
Soft Shell Crab and an amazing panna cotta with rhubarb and strawberries at The Ordinary
479 King St
The one restaurant I knew very little about and just chose on a whim was The Macintosh. Surprise, surprise– I believe it was my favorite meal of the trip! One thing I can say with absolutely no hesitation is that their vegetable plate is unequivocally THE best vegetable plate I’ve had the pleasure of devouring. So, any of you vegetarians out there reading this, definitely put The Macintosh on your Charleston itinerary!
Gnudi at The Macintosh Charleston
The Macintosh’s Spring Vegetable Plate with Anson Mills’ Farro Piccolo, Mushrooms, Seasonal Vegetables
Steak at The Macintosh
479 King St #200
Charleston, SC 29403
You know me, I’ve got to seek out the best cocktails in town too, and my heart was happy at The Cocktail Club. Located just above The MacIntosh, if you have dinner there (and you really should go to dinner there), it’s a no-brainer.
Cocktail Club’s Double Standard (serrano infused gin, cucumber vodka, ginger, cilantro, celery, bitters) and bacon spiced popcorn