Charleston restaurants beg a visit

The belle of South Carolina is a culinary hotbed

Thanks to chefs like Sean Brock (Husk; McCrady's) and Mike Lata (F.I.G.), Charleston has been on the minds of the food cognoscenti recently.

Then, in the past year, a wave of openings took that sterling reputation and ran with it. This sunny, cobblestoned town has now reached a critical mass of flavor: Go. Now.

The Macintosh: A recent meal here was one of the most exciting we've had in months. Jeremiah Bacon's warm pork-trotter terrine is brightened with Meyer-lemon zest; smoked ricotta and lemon cling to young green and radish leaves; and hot-and-sour soup is laden with pork belly and Carolina rice grits. Must-try: the over-the-top bone-marrow bread pudding.

Two Boroughs Larder: Nothing cuts through the haze of a night of whiskey drinking like the goat pozole at this market-cum-restaurant. The bowl is thick with pulled meat and spicy enough to induce a damp brow. Make a meal of it, or complement it with kimchi-stained rabbit fried rice and garlicky confit chicken wings.

Butcher and Bee: Only open for lunch (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and late night (11 p.m. to 3 a.m.), but the roast beef sandwich here is worth the inconvenience. Thinly sliced, medium-rare top round is piled high on ciabatta and lathered with chimichurri aioli and onion jam. Pair it with sides such as beet salad dressed in broccoli pesto and Tabasco-slicked, deep-fried fish collars.

The Grocery: The "deviled egg sauce" that accompanied the fried oysters at this airy newcomer is genius. So too is "lam," in which lamb shoulder is cured like country ham and sliced thin, and a Beeliner snapper met with perfectly roasted cauliflower and a bright caper-raisin sauce.

  • Charleston: The Macintosh

    Before dinner, stop into the bar for the Orange Ghost, made with Aperol, ghost-pepper infused St-Germain, orange juice and sparkling wine.

  • Charleston: The Macintosh

    This savory bread pudding is completely over the top, with rich deposits of bone marrow melted throughout the dough.

  • Charleston: The Macintosh

    Local triggerfish replaces the traditional salted cod in this Southern take on brandade. Fritters come with Alabama white sauce for dipping.

  • Charleston: The Macintosh

    Barely solid ricotta gnudi are braced with tomatoes and a nest of stone crab meat; preserved lemon provides a tart kick.

  • Charleston: Two Boroughs Larder

    Pull up a stool at this restaurant/market, and sample from the list of craft beers and wines.

  • Charleston: Two Boroughs Larder

    Tender sweetbreads sit in a pool of savory sauce, loaded with mushrooms, peanuts and chiles.

  • Charleston: Two Boroughs Larder

    Pork belly lardons punctuate the locally caught clams in this dish, dressed with a sake-dashi broth.

  • Charleston: Butcher & Bee

    Sandwiches and sides come out of an open kitchen during lunch and late night service.

  • Charleston: Butcher & Bee

    Like this barbecue version, sandwiches come on house-made bread with a side of pickles.

  • Charleston: Butcher & Bee

    Complete your meal with a plate of sides, such as sunchokes, butternut squash puree, and Brussels sprouts.

  • Charleston: The Grocery

    This handsome newcomer sits on Cannon Street in the Upper King neighborhood.

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The Macintosh 479B King St. Charleston SC 29403 843-789-4299 Two Boroughs Larder 186 Coming St. Charleston SC 29403 843-637-3722 Butcher and Bee 654 King St. Charleston SC 29403 843-619-0202 The Grocery 4 Cannon St. Charleston SC 29403 843-302-8825

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