Do you find yourself struggling for ideas on a random Tuesday? Can you feel the weight of extra cash weighing you down? Do you have a deep yearning for various seafood delights dressed in mayo and piled high on buttery rolls? Would you like to wash these down with glasses of bubbly refreshment? A Charleston seafood-roll crawl is just the thing to solve those issues. Grab a partner or two and hit these five Peninsula locales for a romp through some of Charleston’s best seafood restaurants.
Some key details to know ahead of undertaking this food crawl:
• five restaurants
• five different rolls
• five different types of seafood
• glasses of bubbly wine and cold beer, some in excess of five
Scallop Po’ Boy at 167 Raw
Stop number one, 167 Raw, is a little out of the way from the other rolls, and there is invariably a line, so it’s a good place to start. 167 has a lobster roll on the menu and a few other seafood rolls it calls po’ boys, but the star of the show for this crawl is the non-traditional scallop po’ boy. It’s thick scallops glazed with a honey sriracha and mounded in a buttery griddled EVO split top bun with a thin spread of sriracha aioli. All that goodness is topped with two sauces: a sweet beet brown butter and savory green goddess dressing.
Lobster and King Crab Roll at The Darling Oyster Bar
Next stop we grabbed a seat at the raw bar at the Darling Oyster Bar. Perfect for King Street people watching while we waited for roll number two, the lobster and King crab roll. Chunks of lobster and ribbons of King crab are dressed in mayo with celery and sliced scallions and piled overflowing on a buttery griddled Butcher & Bee roll. For the side, we chose the Old Bay hush puppies with sorghum butter. The crisp outer shell and the ubiquitous seafood seasoning countered the rich lobster and crab perfectly.
Lobster Roll at The Ordinary
No Charleston eating adventure that includes seafood would be complete without a stop at the Ordinary. And no seafood roll crawl could be considered legitimate without including the king of them all — the lobster roll. The Ordinary’s take on this classic is all about simplicity. It’s large hunks of lobster tossed with house-made mayo and celery, piled on the Ordinary’s own rolls with a sprinkling of chives. If so inclined you can order it hot and, instead of mayo, the lobster is dressed with just butter and sea salt. The lobster roll is only available on Tuesdays, so plan your crawling accordingly.
Fried Oyster Roll at Chubby Fish
New Elliotborough bistro Chubby Fish’s menu is seafood focused, utilizing local seafood with “innovative preparations”. The oysters (in this case South Carolina Sea Clouds from Edisto) are soaked in buttermilk with fermented fresno chili hot sauce, then fried light and crisp. The clean briny bivalves are dressed with a ramp tartar, stacked on a buttered and griddled EVO roll and topped with capers, shredded iceberg lettuce and parsley. The fried oyster roll is served with paper thin chips lightly seasoned with malt vinegar that are so light that we barely noticed, or cared, we ate a whole plate full.
Crab Roll at Little Jack’s Tavern
It’s hard sitting down at the Little Jack’s bar and not ordering a Tavern Burger (or two), but when you’re on a mission, you stick to the mission. After acclimating to this idea, we ordered the blue crab roll and a couple cocktails (because you always get cocktails at Little Jack’s). Little Jack’s also takes the approach that simple is better. Blue crab, celery and capers are dressed with mayo and stuffed in a split-top roll from Pane di Vita that is slightly denser and less buttery than its peers. And, if you have any room after crawling your way around Charleston, the sticky toffee date cake is worth punching an extra hole in your belt.