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'Porky Hash' at Poogan's Smokehouse; 'Moist Chunks of Fish' at Mercantile

What the critics are saying this week.

Poogan's Smokehouse
Poogan's Smokehouse
Emma Humphries

Charleston Scene critic Hanna Raskin thinks that even the snobbiest of food snobs in the Holy City will appreciate East Bay "barbecue playhouse" Poogan's Smokehouse. "Yet my guess is most Charlestonians, even those with strong opinions about the right amount of vincotto to put on a plate, would be pleasantly surprised by Poogan’s Smokehouse," she writes. While Poogan's address lends itself to tourist traffic, Raskin believes locals should visit for "... dependable food and polished cocktails ..."

The critic recommends the hot chicken sandwich or short rib po-boy at lunch. Smoked sausage, "robustly porky hash served over rice," and the heightened version of pork-and-beans get a thumbs up for dinner choices. Everything considered, Poogan's newest venture gets three stars for food.

City Paper critic Allston McCrady sees potential in grab-and-go market/restaurant Mercantile. She had an idea of a bustling food hall in her mind, but found something different on her visits.

As of right now, Mercantile's to-go items can't rival the freshness of Caviar & Bananas' build-your-own salad bar or the breadth of their prepared foods section. The beer options are more limited than Bull Street Gourmet. Merc's cheese selection is nowhere near as robust as goat.sheep.cow's. The meat counter has nothing on Ted's Butcherblock. Its charcuterie program can't compare to Artisan Meat Share. And the pantry is more gifty than useful — the wall at Two Boroughs Larder has cooler items for sale. That said, I see potential here.

But, if you're not there for market items, how is the food? "Mercantile's menu brims with comfort foods and indulgent portions," McCrady writes. He favorite dishes were the grilled mahi tacos ("delicately moist chunks of fish nestle into sturdy, charred tortillas ...") and the bahn mi makes her "swoon." She concludes her review by stating, "It will be interesting to see Mercantile evolve as it listens to patron feedback," and promises to revisit the establishment.

Poogan's Smokehouse

188 East Bay Street, , SC 29401 (843) 577-5665 Visit Website

Mercantile and Mash

701 East Bay Street, , SC 29403 (843) 793-2636 Visit Website

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