Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Charleston: Husk.

To say I was a little excited about dining at Sean Brock's Husk is a bit of an understatement: I made a reservation for my mom and me the day we decided we were taking our trip to Charleston. And man, am I glad I did—that meal lived up to our expectations and then some. Here's my adoring review, if you'd like to read it...

Charleston is by nature a food lover's town—there are great restaurants everywhere you turn—but I knew we had to get to get to Husk on this trip, simply because I didn't know when we'd be able to again (and, you know, because it was named the best restaurant in the U.S. by Bon Appetit in 2011). The restaurant is located on Queen Street in Charleston, just a quick (especially if it's cold!) two-block walk from our hotel on King Street, in a two-story building that looks like a converted home, with wide porches on both the first and second stories. When you walk in the front door, the first thing you notice is a huge chalkboard menu on the left wall that lists where each ingredient on the menu comes from; the second thing is a brightly lit sliver of the kitchen, where exceptionally well-trained servers in plaid shirts and jeans stand waiting to grab orders. "I am so excited for dinner!" I kept saying.

Mom and I sat upstairs, near a window that overlooked the street and offered a tiny glimpse into The Bar at Husk, which serves craft cocktails right next door to the restaurant, and decided to start by splitting a salad of Bibb lettuce, tender fried shrimp, hard-boiled egg, watermelon radish, traditional radish, tomatoes and house-made buttermilk ranch dressing. Our server also brought us a canvas bag of homemade buttermilk rolls topped with smoked sea salt and benne seeds—a cousin of the sesame seed, harvested locally, she said—and a little pot of honey butter, also made in-house.

By this point, we were well on our way to food nirvana, but then came the entrees: I (kind of boringly, I admit it) ordered chicken with Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and honey-thyme jus (pictured above), but you guys: this was what real chicken actually tastes like. I've been trying hard to buy better-quality meat lately, but I'm going to be honest and tell you that I'm pretty sure the last chicken I had was from a drive-through. This meal reminded me that there is just no comparison to good—and, you know, real—food, prepared really, really well. It was awesome.

Mom ordered Waygu flat iron steak, cooked medium rare and served with bright, fresh broccoli with turnip mostarda, creamy fingerling potatoes and mushroom glace, which she also loved, and we both had two glasses of wine (her a buttery Chardonnay; me a light, fruity pinot grigio), also excellent. We were sadly too full for dessert, but the offerings that night were equally as interesting and well-thought-out as the entrees and appetizers, and if I ever go back--and I'm planning to—I'm definitely saving room. Yum.

P.S. The next day, on the way back from a museum, we saw a lady delivering a pickup-truckful of fresh eggs and milk to the restaurant. Always nice to actually see a place practice what it preaches, you know?

Husk: 76 Queen St., Charleston, (843) 577-2500

Photos: My own.

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