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Beer-Braised Barbecue Sandwich at Hello My Name Is... BBQ
Pork is braised for 18 hours in Holy City Brewing beer and served on brioche. Top it with pickled veggies, blue cheese, slaw, jalapeños, and even barbecued bacon, then slather it in one of their creative homemade sauces for an amazing roadside attraction.
Pan-Fried Sweetbreads at McCrady's
$8/a la carte
Sweetbreads are a delicacy that must be experienced by all, and there's no better place to get them than McCrady's. The dish changes frequently but Chef Sean Brock's current installment is pan fried then dressed in housemade General Tso's sauce, served with a 65-degree egg yolk, miso broccoli purée, and shiso, and garnished with furikake.
Picnic Sampler at Hominy Grill
Hominy's take on the old-fashioned Southern relish plate is perfect for sharing: tangy pickled okra, a pickled egg purple from beet juice, a scoop of pimento cheese, and thinly sliced country ham. A sampler of down-home flavors.
Applewood-Smoked Chicken at JB's Smokeshack
J.B.'s may be a barbecue joint known for its pulled pork, but truth be told, it's what they do with chicken that earns them a place on this list. The fried chicken is among the area's best, but the applewood-smoked chicken is the king among cluckers.
Carnitas Enmoladas at La Norteña
The Carnitas Enmoladas is a rich, chocolatey plate of tender pork so succulent it's almost impossible to eat it all up. Almost.
Cowboy Beans at Taco Boy
They're rich, succulent, and swimming in a spicy brown sauce. No matter what flavor of taco or quesadilla you order, cowboy beans are the perfect side.
Forget tortillas, pitas, sandwich bread, or any other carbohydrate that you can slap some stuff inside of. The toasty texture of a roti can't be beat, especially when it's filled with Chucktown Chicken and pickled veggies.
Sashimi and Tuna Oyster at Cypress Lowcountry Grille
This tiny bite marries Lowcountry and Asian flavors in a dreamy union that is cool, briny, and spicy all at the same time. Simple. Genius.
Fresh Garden Salad at Nirlep Indian Restaurant
Yes, there are plenty of tasty Indian treats on Nirlep's buffet, but the tangy-yet-fresh garden salad sends us back to the bar more than anything else.
Shrimp Crabmeat Wontons at Carolina's
Our good friend, the late Rose Durden, originated these wonderful bite-sized morsels when she headed the kitchen at Carolina's years ago. Although Rose is no longer with us, you can still get a taste of her culinary genius, as they've never left the menu.
Ponzu and Truffle Tuna Sashimi at Social
Social's new executive chef Doug Svec has revamped the wine bar's menu with addictive dishes like the tart ponzu and truffle tuna sashimi with hot and sour cucumber, local radish, and candied lemon. Ask one of the "wine studs" for the perfect glass to pair it with.
Ceviche at Coast
$11.99, $12.99/lobster, $10.99/baby octopus
Coast has a traditional ceviche, with fish, lime, and red onion, but they also offer lobster, octopus, and shrimp versions for good measure. Served with an inventive cocktail, they make a great starter for a progressive dinner tour of the Upper King Street dining district.
Lowcountry Carbonara at Tristan
No dish is more representative of Chef Nate Whiting's playful postmodern blend of classic and modern than the Lowcountry Carbonara. Brown-seared local quail is topped with bacon creme fraiche. The "impasta" — sweet onions cooked till they're meltingly tender — stands in for the spaghetti, and it's all topped with a tiny poached quail egg.
Beef Brisket at Fiery's Rons Hometeam BBQ
Central Texas barbecue and classic French techniques merge in pitmaster Aaron Siegel's beef brisket, which is marinated with wine and spices then slow smoked until it's tender enough to melt in your mouth.
Rice & Bean Bowl at Dell'z Deli
$6.50/cheese, $5.50/no cheese
Dell'z rice and bean bowl is one of the best lunch values in town. It's packed with rice, black beans, salsa, fresh avocado, and, for an extra buck, gooey melted cheese. It's healthy, filling, and affordable, like everything else on Dell'z menu.
Pork Ton Toro and Peekytoe Crab Cake at Circa 1886
Take fatty pork cheek and braise until tender, pair it with a peekytoe crab cake, sit it on some forbidden black rice, and you have a wholly unique dish with rich, Asian flavors and succulent proteins. Chef Marc Collins conducts bold experiments with flavor over at Circa 1886, and this one is irresistible.
34-oz Long Bone Tomahawk Rib Eye at Halls Chophouse
What could be more decadent than a steak that costs $85? But when it's dry-aged for 45 days and comes with a giant bone sticking out the end, this is a worthwhile splurge. To get your real money's worth, you should most definitely pick up the bone and gnaw those tasty bits off.
The Rib at Fat Hen
This sucker is a full-on, bone-in, melt-in-your-mouth 16-ounce short rib slathered with a dark barbecue sauce that comes quivering on the plate. Think steak and bacon, all wrapped into one, and smoked until it falls from the bone. Bring a bib and a hearty appetite.
Bouillabaisse at Fish
Take a Master French chef who runs a seafood restaurant and watch him throw together a simple pot of this classic stew. The bowl of fragrant bouillabaisse comes overflowing with chunks of fresh fish and shellfish and leaves behind a puddle of broth, perfect for dipping bread into.
Gnocchi with Pork Bolognese at FIG
Chef Mike Lata turns out many succulent dishes. And he's known to pull recipes that become too popular, lest they suffer as cliché. This dish, however, never goes out of style. The elements may shift with the seasons, but when FIG does gnocchi, it's always light and airy, and the pork bolognese is worthy of the highest praise.
Smoky "Buffyaki Style" Chicken Wings at Husk
If you don't like smoke, there's no point going to Husk. And the Smoky "Buffyaki Style" chicken wings are about as smoky as it gets. You will lick your fingers clean.
Southern Crab Salad at SNOB
Many worthy dishes exist on the menu at SNOB, but our go-to lunch option is a well-done classic. Chunks of fresh blue crab mixed with basil, bell peppers, and shallots come nestled on a bed of lettuce, making for a refreshing midday meal.
Garganelli with Milk-Braised Pork Ragu at Wild Olive
$9 sm/$16 lg
The hand-rolled noodles are only part of the charm of this dish. The real sexiness lies in the milk-braised pork ragu, which comes with caramelized onions, rosemary, and parmesan — a bewitching flavor combo that you just can't stop eating. Order the large portion.
Homemade Pretzels at the Gin Joint
Forget those little bowls of salty nuts. The ultimate cocktail companion is a warm, soft pretzel at the Gin Joint. Made from scratch, it's served with a little ramekin of melted sriracha-laced cheese and a brilliant housemade porter mustard.
Slice of Pizza at Gilroy's (after 2 a.m.)
By the light of day, a cheese-laden, greasy slice of Gilroy's Irish pizza pie may not seem like the thing to eat. But when the bars just let out and you and your five friends need a way to soak up the alcohol, suddenly it's haute cuisine, and the perfect end to a tour of Charleston food. Don't forget the ranch.