This "town afloat on bacon-washed bourbon" is getting some buzz from the big city press. Local cookbook authors Ted and Matt Lee paint Charleston as the mascot for the changing face of Southern cuisine in the most recent issue of T Magazine. Their stunning feature (check out those pictures) highlights the city's new class of chefs, dishes and restaurants, like Sean Brock's dazzling Victorian Husk on Queen Street, pimento cheese-laden broccoli from The Grocery, and the crazy innovative flavors at Xiao Bao Biscuit.
The Lee brothers compare Two Boroughs Larder's bold dishes (Szechuan peppercorn spiked escargot anyone?) to Momofuku in New York, but Empire State South chef Hugh Acheson notes that daring, even Asian-inspired, cuisine has always been at home here:
Southern food is a beautiful hodgepodge to begin with, a puzzle of Gullah, spice route, Native American, European and the West Indies," he said. "It's a food that welcomes cultures to the table.
The article also illuminates some of Charleston's trendier spots like Mike Lata's oyster-shucking masterpiece The Ordinary, the sometimes Middle Eastern-influenced farm-to-sandwich shop Butcher & Bee, and new-ish juice bar (though Sprout definitely came first)Dellz Vibez, which has a juice shot happy hour.
But to say any of this is new might be a stretch. New York Magazine highlighted the city's hipper spots last October and The New Yorker sang praises of our local hero Sean Brock in 2011. This could be another case where The Times Is On It, but we'll let you decide.
— Ashley Mason
· Southern Exposure [T Mag via NYT]
· Sean Brock Preaches the Gospel of Southern Food [New Yorker]
· The Retro Road-Trippers [NY Mag]
· The Lee Brothers [Facebook]