I've been to this place 3-4 times in the last year. The food is actually pretty decent, but the atmosphere and service not so much. We go in there for dinner during the week when it does not seem to be very busy. The acoustics are terrible and the food is always slow to come out. I would go there more often for the food, but I just get annoyed with the lack luster service and too laid back attitude from the staff.
I usually try to give a restaurant 2 chances before I critique but this place was so absurdly overpriced it's not worth it. Overall, the meal was good and the chef creative, but the dining experience was horrible. The atmosphere is frenzied with staff buzzing everywhere, not congruent with a relaxed beach environment. Our server was prompt but startlingly loud. Our bread was OK but had a cinnamon taste, that's fine but with olive oil?? The food came out quickly adding to the fast pace feel. OK, I get the point, in-out-next. I would label this place as a tourist trap with no focus on repeat business. Far too many excellent restaurants in Charleston that deliver the whole package for me to come back again. Good luck.
I found the bar staff to be a bit overwhelmed with a normal bar crowd and a bit disingenuous. Waitstaff was great!
Not sure if it was because it was restaurant week or what, but I was expecting a lot out of this restaurant. My appetizer (crab cake) was pretty good, but those I were with (there were a total of 8) were just simply unimpressed by there courses. The entree was decent honestly, but my friends at my table seemed to be picking at their food somewhat, and my entree definitely had something left to be desired. 82 Queen has a reputation for being one of the better restaurants in Charleston, which means a lot in this city, and unfortunately there was nothing to set it apart (except for the whopping price--Thank goodness for restaurant week). Needless to say, I probably won't be going back to pay regular prices for mediocre food.
Also, something that really bummed me out was that I had tasted the mac & cheese from 82 Queen at the Charleston MacOff, and it was absolutely phenomenal there. When we ordered a side at the restaurant, it was nothing like what they were serving at the competition. It was still good, but at the MacOff it was oozing with different types of cheese and had all sorts of spices and collards mixed in with cream cheese and absolutely baked to perfection. Tonight I was served something that I could've made (probably better, honestly).
Overall, pretty unimpressed, and yes, I understand that restaurant week is busy, but when you run and operate a really nice and well-respected restaurant, restaurant week isn't an excuse to slack off on service or the food, and my party definitely have had better elsewhere.
Admittedly this review may be a tad bit on the long side. There is just so much to say about Husk, that try as I might to make it manageable, it may not be. There, you’ve been warned.
We were excited to be having dinner at Husk with friends. One of our favorite restaurants in the city is McCrady’s where Sean Brock is also the chef. I was thrilled to see as reported by the Post and Courier that opening night was like a well-oiled machine, as there are usually a few speed bumps with a new restaurant opening.
Our reservations were for a Monday night. You would think that a Monday would not be that busy, but it certainly was. Nestled between the restaurants 82 Queen and Poogan’s Porch lies Husk. It is a beautiful conversion of a 19th century home with a “freestanding” bar in an adjacent building – also breathtaking.
After many ooh’s and ah’s (by us) we were met by a group of hostesses and quickly seated in a quiet room upstairs. The room had about 8-9 tables. The décor was also simple, yet extremely well done. There was no background music playing when we arrived, but that came on a little later and added to the atmosphere.
Our waitress, Kaitlyn, would prove to be the highlight of the night. She was personable, attentive, suggestive, and extremely well trained. She mentioned that she had one week of “sit down” training and then another week of “Friends and family” and local chefs for dinner as practice. When we asked how business was she stated that they have been sold out every night. No surprise here, this had to be the hottest game in town.
When reviewed the drink menu we were surprised to see wines categorized by minerals, i.e. “granite”, etc. It was very confusing. There beverage list also was a listing of classic Southern cocktails, also interesting, but not that inviting.
Kaitlyn was very helpful with the wine selections and when I went to order a Stoli Cosmopolitan (I know, passé), the Husk standard of “If it’s doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming in the door.” came into play. Kaitlyn explained that since they could not get a “southern produced” cranberry juice they do not serve it. She quickly enticed me with a classic southern cocktail, a “clover club”. Unfortunately her description was much better than the taste. It was also served in an old fashioned champagne glass. A different spin, but I found myself thinking that the drink was very small, like a Dixie riddle cup.
I would also mention that they were out of sparkling water and the soda water served with lime was rather flat. But hey, they’re busy, these are just small details.
Hot, fresh baked rolls topped with honey, a little salt and local benne seeds arrived right after the beverages did. They arrived in a small burlap bag (next to the Pork Rinds in the photo above) that we thought had to have something to do with grains, seeds, rice, but it didn’t. Kaitlyn explained that they are old coin bags from a local bank. I still don't understand how they fit with the rest of the themes, but they were definitely a conversation piece. Also served with some “flair” as the top was removed, was some orange butter. I thought the gentleman who delivered it said “honey butter”, but it was actually pork butter. Yes, you heard me correctly. Made from pork lard, homemade mustard, ketchup and hot sauce combo, certainly an acquired taste. Personally it reminded me of bacon grease and did not care for it. We all thought this was not a value add.
Our appetizers, HUSKpuppies and Fried Pork Rinds took 25 minutes to arrive. I thought “Ut-oh, no one else around us is eating either.” – Usually a sign of a kitchen in trouble. Both of the dishes were hot and flavorful, the puppies served with an interesting spicy dip. But I thought that they might have been a tad over cooked (the HUSKpuppies, that is).
Tick tock, tick tock, time went on. Forty minutes, yes, forty, after the delivery of our appetizers our dinners arrived. During the time we were waiting Kaitlyn made some idle chit-chat and then did the “missing (wo)man formation” and we didn’t see her. We didn’t blame her though, it appeared that Husk’s kitchen had stumbled, and we were right.
I also want to add that as we are waiting the table next to us is delivered what appears to be HUSKpuppies, only theirs are this wonderful light golden brown, and very appealing. I asked Kaitlyn what they were and she confirmed that our suspicion was right - we were served very overcooked, but tasty puppies. I had puppy-envy.
When our meal was delivered it was a big disappointment on many fronts. First, none of the items were hot. I mean zero, zilch, Zippo. I’m ok waiting a long time for a meal, but after the waiting, I want it to be great. The Duo of VA Lamb, Stew of Anson Mills Farro, Tomato and Courgettes with Green Tomato Jam appeared to be the most flavorful. The Wood Fired Keegan Filion Chicken, Potato Gratin and Bok Choy, Sage-Lemon Jus was served in a unique skillet, but as it was delivered it was tipped in some way that everything was pushed to one side and the details of the presentation were completely lost.
The Hagood Mills Cornmeal Dusted Triggerfish, Potato Puree, Red Mustard Glaze and LA Citrus Glaze was nicely cooked but the glaze was a very odd, shocking green overpowering sauce that took away from the meal.
The TN Foie Gras and Sausage Stuffed Quail with Cornbread Puree and Sea Island Red Peas, Apple Jus was not good. The quail was overcooked and the peas undercooked. I thought about sending it back, but knew it would be an eternity before we got it. The side of SC Lady Peas, Butter Bean and Tomato Succotash that we ordered for the table was undercooked and ice cold.
Kaitlyn checked back and we said things were ok. She apologized for the kitchen’s delay. We later would overhear her at the table next to us upon introducing herself that “Things had gone so smoothly every night, except tonight.” A gentleman (a manager?) stopped by our table and asked if our dinners were “to our liking”. None of us responded and he turned and walked away. Talk about a missed opportunity.
If the kitchen is going down in flames at a new opening, I get that. I’ve personally been involved in well over 100 restaurant openings and things often don’t go as planned. But I would have expected a much better meal service. If our meals aren’t great, heck, we’ve waited about an hour as it is, start them over and get it right. Let us leave with, “It took some time to get dinner, but boy, was it terrific.”
We passed on dessert and asked for our check. Kaitlyn explained that our drinks were being comp'ed because of our long wait. Comping two glasses of wine, a cocktail and a glass of soda just didn’t do much to make up for the long wait.
On the drive home we of course, talked about our experience. We said we would give Husk another try, but maybe after the first of the year when they’ve gotten their sea legs. Our review certainly won’t hurt them as people always want to give the hottest spots a try. Upon leaving at 8:30ish, there was a 90 minute wait – on a Monday night!! Poogan’s Porch and 82 Queen remained almost empty with parts of the restaurants darkened. For more on ths post visit us at http://diningaroundcharleston.com
OK, I know I'm going against the grain here because Sean Brock is so well-regarded, but I found Husk to be a challenge. The menu is heavy on pork, and if you like pork in its many forms you'll do fine. But I went with a friend and her husband and she doesn't eat pork so she was restricted to only one dish on the menu - a fish dish that was beautifully prepared and very tasty.
We were seated upstairs in an absolutely beautiful room. However, because the kitchen is downstairs, the wait staff has to carry your food up the main stairs with guests coming up (and back down) to be seated. It slows the service a little.
Also, the only bar in the restaurant itself is a service bar, so if you want anything other than the 4 types of vodka available at the service bar (which my friend's husband wanted), you have to wait till the server gets it from the full bar located in a separate building next door. It's a little strange...
Three stars is a kind rating. We were told this place was the best in Summerville. Well, if this is the best, I will cook every meal for as long as we live here. I give them three stars b/c they tried, I hope, to make it a nice restaurant. Frankly, the food just really isn't that great. Where we are from, eating is an event. This restaurant might make it a year back home.
I have visited twice before, once at 10pm on a Friday and again at midnight on a Thursday. The bar itself is nice with a cool outdoor patio in the back. The bartenders are OK, not the best, not the worst. Both times when I visited all the bartenders were males, no cute girls. The service was good and the bartenders are on par with the rest of Charleston I would say.
The bar itself has a good crowd, typically a younger crowd. I rate this bar as average, a neat spot but offering nothing really new or special. I don't see what they have to offer over the neighboring bar O'Malleys, which has much better food and service and doesn't feel as cramped.
Overall I would give a three-star rating
PS Beware of testimonies by users who registered the same day as the review and only have 1 post.
Okay, I visited from Toronto, Canada and I have to say I was a bit disappointed. My family and I ordered brunch. It was very busy but the wait wasn't too bad. My sister ordered the pork chop special and it was rather dry and the sauce was nothing special, I had the eggs with grits, double smoked bacon and ordered a side of sausage. The double smoked bacon was good but only two slices, I expected maybe one more; the real disappointment was the sausage, tiny and horribly dry!! The real praise is for their desserts, my mother ordered the butter milk pie and I had the chocolate pudding. OMG, this could have been the best dessert I have ever tasted, the pudding was so rich and smooth!! I had a few bites of the buttermilk pie and I was impressed although I had nothing to compare it to. Next time I am in Charleston, I think I will just order dessert;)
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