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 best restaurant meal of 2016?
Erin Perkins, editor Eater Charleston:
Too many good meals to name, but the burger and the caviar service at McCrady’s Tavern with housemade tater tots is the stuff of dreams. I melted the first, second, and third time I had them. Oh, and Jason Stanhope’s chirashi bowl — I’ll take twelve of those, please.
Jenny Ouellette, writer:
I can't really call it a meal — but the "experience" at McCrady's new tasting room. It took a second to get used to the performance aspect of it all: entering the space all at once, then watching every person in the room (whether dining as a pair or alone) receive the exact same dish at the same time. Yet sampling each course was like being at a show of some sort. You want to know how something was done and just what exactly you're eating that tastes so perfect, but you don't even know the right questions to ask. I once heard a major choreographer say that the key to watching dance is to soften your focus and view the entire stage at once. I keep coming back to that analogy. I think the trick for McCrady's is to take it all in and simply marvel.
Kinsey Gidick, managing editor for the Charleston City Paper:
For my husband's birthday in June we invited friends to Edmund's Oast for dinner. It was a perfect early summer night and we shared a giant plate of charcuterie, drank huge Weistephaners, and generally made merry. That's the thing about Edmund's, they've created a sanctuary of great food and excellent service and I always leave feeling uplifted.
Will Chesak, Eater Charleston contributor:
John Lewis and Edmund's Oast collaboration dinner and Red Sauce Night at Spero.
Marion Sullivan, Culinary Institute of Charleston and food editor Charleston Magazine:
Miguel Buencamino, Holy City Handcraft and Eater Charleston contributor:
The smoked beef ribs at Lewis Barbecue.
Peg Moore, contributor and food critic for The Mercury:
I’m still thinking about the baby lamb chops with a cherry sauce served at Muse and the osso bucco at Circa 1886.
Stephanie Barna, founding editor Charleston City Paper:
The new McCrady’s Tavern menu was certainly the richest, with bone marrow and escargot, caviar, and calf’s head soup. Decadence and whimsy combined for an unforgettable dinner.
Hanna Raskin, food writer and critic for the Post & Courier:
Thanks to Nathalie Dupree, I had the chance to share bagels, smoked fish and babka with Mimi Sheraton at Sadelle’s in NYC. Turns out we have similar opinions about blintzes.
Brian Stetson, Eater Charleston photographer:
This fancy bowl of love Shuai [Wang] made me during noodle night. Rib meat and drippings over rice topped with pickled dikon and green onion!!!
Sydney Gallimore, Queen of the Food Age and Thrillist Contributor:
I can't pick a best. There were too many great meals to narrow it down to just one!
Vanessa Wolf, food writer and critic for Charleston City Paper:
Several good ones — nothing singular comes to mind.
Suzanne Cohen, critic for Charleston City Paper:
Enjoying the chef's table selections at Indaco was both the most memorable and also the most exciting. The chefs and servers are so polished yet make you feel so at home in their space that I think I would be hard pressed to not love every experience there. Plus, their crudo is outrageous.