Category Archives: Charleston

The Ordinary

Our last meal of 2023 culminated with a seafood blowout in Charleston, at a joint called The Ordinary.

We started with a massive seafood tower, filled with all sorts of delicious raw and cooked goodies.

The best of the tower was probably the peel and eat shrimp, which was a shocker for me.

This oyster slider was superb too. Highly recommend it.

I also liked the smoked mussels here as well.

This clam toast was salty, and it ate more like a panzanella. But I did enjoy it.

This rock shrimp fried rice ate more like couscous or broken rice, and it wasn’t fried at all. That said, it was still very tasty.

For sides, we did the roasted squash and sweet potatoes. I could have passed on these.

Our two main fish dishes were roasted tilefish and mustard crusted flounder. Between these, the flounder was the easy winner. It was the best part of the meal.

This was a pretty good meal overall, and I would definitely recommend it to people heading down to Charleston and looking for good seafood.

THE ORDINARY
544 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

Fig

For our final meal of the trip to Charleston, we went to the often difficult to reserve Fig with a couple that I’m friends with who live nearby. I managed to score a last minute reservation at 9:15pm, and we ended up closing down the joint at close to midnight. It turned out to be our overall best meal of the trip. Let’s get into it…

We started with a bunch of items that we all shared. Broiled oysters aji dolce, chicken liver pate, raw hogfish (similar to snapper) with rice and popcorn (crazy!), lamb bolognese ricotta gnocchi, and wagyu beef tartare.

These were, each of them, all-star level dishes, and I am hard-pressed to pick a favorite among them. I would order each of them again in a heartbeat, but I think I was most surprised by the hogfish. It was so unique, and I’m a sucker for popcorn. The gnocchi was definitely meant to be a main dish, but we shared among the four of us.

For mains, we also went heavy with five dishes. Baked wreckfish, sautéed flounder, mustard crusted swordfish, Berkshire pork milanese and lump crab spaghetti with lemon and bottarga.

Again, everything really incredible. I think, though, what stood out the most to me was the swordfish. The capers and mustard crust really paired beautifully with the medium-rare cooked fish. Loved it!

For dessert, we went with these lemon curd cream puffs, which were really nice.

I highly recommend Fig if you’re in Charleston. Absolutely delicious!

FIG
232 Meeting St
Charleston, SC 29401

Lowland Tavern

This newly opened Charleston joint converts an old downtown townhouse into an elegant bar and restaurant space that serves up some modern American cuisine.

We started with some lighter bites, the tuna crudo (more like poke), and a celery salad.

Both were really nice and fresh, but the celery salad stole the show, of all things.

For entrees, we had a pasta dish consisting of a bolognese style sauce with shells, and grilled triggerfish with collards in broth.

Between these, the fish was the slight winner for me. While the flavor of the pasta sauce was delicious, the pasta itself was overcooked and a little mushy for my liking. The fish was a nice leaner style, tighter muscle flesh type of white fish. It reminded me of chicken breast!

For dessert, we had the banoffee pie, which was an absolute stunner, and easily the best dessert of the trip.

I would definitely go back here on future trips to Charleston, especially for the gorgeous bar in back.

LOWLAND TAVERN
36 George St
Charleston, SC 29401

Oyster House

My first bite during my second visit to Charleston was Oyster House. We just stopped in for a drink and a snack before getting onto a horse-drawn carriage tour of the city. We tried a nice variety of both local and northeast oysters. I think we liked the Lady Fingers the best (long ones).

The shuckers were awesome, and it was a nice treat to sit at the raw bar instead of the regular bar or a table.

OYSTER HOUSE
35 S Market St
Charleston, SC 29401

Little Jack’s Tavern

This is the one spot in Charleston that I wish I could do all over again.

We had just eaten two meals, but we had to pop in to try the burger (shaved among four people).

The burger was simple, and small. It was also, however, delicious, as were the garlic fries. I wish I had more of an appetite, because I would have liked to try the steakhouse bacon, the coulotte steak, and a few other items. Next trip I will definitely go back here.

LITTLE JACK’S TAVERN
710 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

Leon’s

Leon’s is a popular fried chicken joint in Charleston. We popped in there for a taste of their chicken, as well as their broiled oysters, for which they are equally famous.

We ate a shitload of oysters while we were down in SC. These were nice, but not our favorite of the trip. I think we tend to lean more toward raw than cooked though. These, however, were still good.

The chicken was the real star here. The skin was super crisp on the outside, with nice, tender and juicy meat beneath. The spice on the skin was just right. A little heat – red pepper type – creeps up on you at the end. Awesome.

They also do a nice frozen gin and tonic.

LEON’S
698 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

Home Team BBQ

Our third BBQ stop in Charleston was Home Team BBQ, just around the corner from Lewis BBQ

Everyone I spoke to about BBQ in Charleston mentioned this place for their dry rub wings, so we saved some room after Lewis and gave them a shot.

The wings were indeed excellent, and far superior to Rodney Scott’s wings. The dry rub had a bit of spice and a bit of sweet. Very nice. We also tried the smoked meatloaf that was on special. It was okay, but not worth getting again in my opinion.

The best sauce was probably the mustard or the HT hot on the far left (not including the Alabama white, which was great on the wings).

HOME TEAM BBQ
126 Williman St
Charleston, SC 29403

Lewis BBQ

Lewis BBQ is a fine example of Texas style ‘que nestled in the heart of whole hog heaven in Charleston.

Here, we tried the brisket, the pork spare ribs, the hot guts and chili cheddar sausages, and come green chili corn pudding.

The brisket was the best here. Smokey, flavorful, juicy and tender.

The links were nice, but they had a bit too thick of a casing around them. Too chewy.

The corn pudding was interesting and unique. I liked it.

From what I tried in Charleston for BBQ, this was the best spot.

LEWIS BBQ
464 N Nassau St
Charleston, SC 29403

Rodney Scott’s BBQ

Our first BBQ stop in Charleston was local legend Rodney Scott’s BBQ. Rodney is known as a master of whole hog Carolina style BBQ.

We tried the pulled pork, pork shoulder, pimento and cheese links, smoked wings, coleslaw, collard greens and banana pudding.

My favorite items were the links and the pudding, but I’m a sucker for links.

Between the two pork items, the shoulder took the W.

The wings were great, but we later had some better wings elsewhere, so it’s tough to rant and rave about these ones. The Alabama white sauce was excellent though.

I could pass on both the slaw and collards.

Both my wife and I preferred “Kathy’s Sauce” from all the available bottles.

That about does it! Some good Que!

RODNEY SCOTT’S BBQ
1011 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

Oak Steakhouse

Oak Steakhouse overall score: 83

My wife and I visited Charleston for the new year, and I was determined to try another steakhouse in the wonderful city. This time I hit Oak. Read below!

Flavor: 8

We had the dry aged rib eye as well as the filet mignon steak frites. Both were juicy, well seasoned and flavorful, but the age didn’t really come through too strongly on the rib eye. That said, both were cooked to medium rare perfection. 8/10.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

There’s a good selection of cuts here, and most claiming to be dry-aged for around 60 days. The selections are prime Certified Angus Beef brand, so they are generally going to be high quality.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portion sizes are good here, with most individual steak entrees ranging from 14-22oz. The plating is standard, minimalist elegance; common for steakhouses.

Price: 7

The prices here are a bit high for a non-NYC steakhouse. Charleston is an expensive city too, but I felt like $115 for my steak was a bit hefty.

Bar: 9

The bar here is very nice. I was almost hoping we would have to wait for our table when we checked in, because I kinda wanted to sit there with a martini for a few minutes.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There was a special 30oz dry aged porterhouse offered, which wasn’t on the menu. As for other meats, I did see some lamb, chicken and pork. A nice spread!

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We started with three appetizers: a pair of oysters Rockefeller, a pork belly dish, and beef carpaccio. All were good, but I feel like the carpaccio could have been larger.

We took down some crispy fried Brussels sprouts with bacon as a side. These were great.

The sticky toffee pudding a la mode was a nice dessert option.

Seafood Selection: 8

There was a curry red fish on the menu for the night, which sounded delicious, but I had my mind on other things. If the oysters were any indication of how the seafood is prepared here, I’m sure it would be good.

Service: 10

Service was great here. They even took note that it was my wife’s birthday, and they were kind enough to comp the dessert. They even included a little happy birthday chocolate and a candle.

Ambiance: 9

This joint is inside an old downtown townhouse, so it is really nice inside. The only downer is the middle floor which, if seated there, I imagine it can get both hot and annoying due to the proximity of bathrooms.

OAK STEAKHOUSE
17 Broad St
Charleston, SC 29401