In keeping with Eater tradition, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types and bloggers. To kick it off in Charleston, Eater asked the group eight questions, ranging from the restaurants they frequent most to the biggest surprises of the year. Responses are in no particular order, and readers are encouraged to leave answers in the comments.
Q. What was your single best meal in 2015?
Timmons Pettigrew, author of Charleston Beer and contributor to Eater Charleston:
The Chef's Menu at Gan Shan Station in Asheville blew doors. In town — the Fermented Charleston dinner at Coast Brewing Co.
Hayley Phillips, assistant editor for The Local Palate:
I had a Wreckfish at Chez Nous … ordered it on a whim. The fish practically melted on my fork — it was so tender and buttery and insane. Also there was a tortellini at Mercantile and Mash I have to give five stars
Robert Donovan, photographer and contributor to Eater Charleston:
Grand Gelinaz Shuffle at McCrady's.
Peg Moore, contributor and food critic for The Mercury:
I am torn between the baby lamb chops at Muse and the perfect bleu steak at Barony Tavern and a lunch at Barony Tavern of fresh fish and mixed veggies. Best dessert to rival the coconut cake is the vacherin at Rue de Jean — if you get the right server at Coast, he will get it for you.
Erin Perkins, editor Eater Charleston:
My best meal was my thirty-something birthday dinner at FIG. A few friends joined me for what turned to be a tasting of almost the entire menu. Chef Jason Stanhope really knocked it out of the park that night. The meal started with a vermillion snapper with an amarillo chili "leche de tigre," sweet potato, Greek yogurt, salsa creolla, and Hackleback caviar — it was the best small bite of the year.
Of course, after FIG, the evening somehow ended with green beers at Upper Deck Tavern, but isn't spontaneity the heart of fun?
Kinsey Gidick, managing editor for the Charleston City Paper:
Kevin Johnson, Andrew Wiseheart, and Steven Satterfield's dinner at The Grocery during Wine and Food Festival. The meal was dubbed "Not just for vegetarians anymore" and it was incredible. We're talking parsnip cappelletti with duck consommé, pickled yellowfoot, turnips, and cracklin's; beef terrine with urfa; and beet red velvet cake to finish it off. It was my introduction to Satterfield's cuisine and I've since become a major fan-girl. My copy of his Root to Leaf cookbook is now dog-eared and covered in stains from the various recipes I've attempted this year.
Hanna Raskin, Food writer and critic for the Post & Courier and author of Yelp Help: How to Write Great Online Restaurant Reviews:
The Nat Fuller Feast, organized in homage to a nineteenth-century African-American chef who hosted a reunification dinner almost immediately after the Civil War, was an extraordinarily important step toward acknowledging the racial dimensions of our dining culture, and its potential for influencing societal change. Those of us who were lucky enough to be there had the chance to marvel over a crazy quilt of condiments with neighbors we'd never before met, but the event's reach went far beyond McCrady's tables set with watermelon pickles and walnut catsup: Apparently groups visiting Charleston are now asking for feast reenactments on their itineraries.
Emma Humphries, Instagram superstar and photographer for Eater Charleston:
Brunch at Magnolias — chorizo-wrapped sweet potato pancakes topped with a sunny-side up egg.
Angel Postell, contributor to The Daily Mail:
Bread plate at Spero · Pork rinds and wahoo (don’t know exact dish) at Lucca · Country Captain at Glass Onion · The Ark of Taste dinner at The Grocery was special and delicious. · The crepe that Jason Stanhope did at Gibbes Taking the Street party · Green Onion Soup at The Ordinary · The Park Cafe’s soft shell crab dish (have photo not name) · Sorghum pie at Fig · The dinner Andy Ricker and Andy Henderson did at Edmund’s … the rice ball dish was so great and amazing · Corned beef tongue At CWFF via jeremiah Bacon · Jeff Allen’s Me So Crazy chili at Basico contest · EVERYTHING at Knife in Dallas….holy shit amazing good · The Andy Ticer, Michael Hudman and Reid Henninger Collaboration dinner was really special and great food. Reid did some awesome stuff that is now part of the menu. · The Galinaz Dinner ... it all!!!!!!!!!!!!! but the bread course probably the best · Nutella pizza at Indaco
See what readers said was the best dish in the forums.