Food Travel America / The South

Overeating at Husk, Charleston

My excitement about my trip to Charleston can be attributed almost completely to Chef Sean Brock. I saw him first on PBS’s “The Mind of A Chef” where I was introduced to the wonderful cuisine of the lowcountry. I learned there was a genuine and natural farm to table mentality, a movement towards bringing back the long-lost crops of rice and corn of the region and Chef Brock introduced local purveyors who were passionate and proud of their products. The food of the south seemed almost romantic to me.

Then there was Cook it Raw, an international food event where the world’s top chefs gather to share ideas, discuss sustainability and creativity while being in an environment with strong culinary traditions. It had always piqued my curiosity that Chef Sean Brock had been a participant in previous Cook it Raw events. I wondered about this chef from the south who seemed to be “in” with the crop of international chefs on the cutting edge. Cook it Raw had previously been held in locations in Europe and Japan and for its first event in the Americas, Charleston was chosen as the location. This caused a lightning strike of excitement for me.

Knowing I’d be in Charleston and having watched the 2nd season of “The Mind of A Chef” with Sean Brock and the Cook it Raw Charleston documentary both 3 times before I arrived, I felt I had a good understanding of the type of meal I’d be served at Sean Brock’s restaurant, Husk. I was glad I went with a big group and everyone was game to eat, because I felt we did a very good job exploring the menu for the meal.

"Husk Charleston buns"

I am not normally one to touch the bread served with a meal (filler). But slathered in the pork fat, honey butter, I couldn’t put these down.

"Husk Charleston Brock peanuts"

Boiled peanuts with pickled jalapeno. I wasn’t sure what to make of boiled peanuts when I learned of them, but loved them on first bite. I will dream of salty mushy boiled peanuts until I taste them again.

"Husk Charleston Sean Brock pimento cheese"

Grilled Ciabatta with TN Cheddar Pimento, HUSK Pickle Relish and Crispy Benton’s Ham Crumble. Another revelation… Pimento cheese is now something that I’d look for the rest of my trip and something I’ll try to recreate at home.

"Husk Charleston corn bread"

A Skillet of Cornbread with TN Bacon and Honey Pork Butter – a bit of a disappointment because I like my cornbread utterly moist (buttery).

"Husk Charleston pigs ears"

Kentuckyaki Pig’s Ear Lettuce Wraps with Fermented Cucumbers and Peppers, Cilantro – The crunchy savoury sweet pigs ears was my favourite dish of the day.

"Husk Charleston Chicken wings"

Wood Fired NC Chicken Wings with HUSK Honey Mustard, Candied Pecans

I was full after all the appetizers, but needed to soldier on, seeing as I was the one leading the charge on ordering WAY more than we needed.

"Husk Charleston Sean Brock shrimp grits"

Shrimp and Geechie Boy Grits, Herb Tomato Broth with Roasted Onions, English Peas and Broadbent Sausage was the BEST shrimp and hominy I had in Charleston. A spoonful of the cheesy grits with a hint of tomato and salty sausage was enough to make me swoon.

"Husk Charleston Sean Brock burger"

HUSK Cheeseburger with Fried Potato Wedges – The burger of legendary proportions. So rich and delicious, I couldn’t have more than 2 bites, but made sure to savour the deliciousness of those 2 bites to commit them to memory.

The inside

The burger deconstructed – Benton’s bacon & ground chuck meat are combined to form 2 thin patties and quickly seared on a hot griddle. There’s cheese and onions between the patties and the stack is topped with even more cheese. Bread and butter pickles are nestled into the bottom and the top is smeared with “special sauce” and topped with tomatoes and lettuce. I’m not a fan of a messy burger, but I sure loved my 2 bites of this.

"Husk Charleston salad"

Arugula Salad with Roasted Beets, Asher Blue and Sliced Nectarine, Candied Pecans, Summer Berry Vinaigrette – Because I knew what everyone else was ordering and felt I needed vegetables. This salad was light with a great contrast of textures. I wish my salads days at home were this interesting.

IMG_1519

Up until this point, I had been happy about being in the south and trying the cuisine. Other than Scott’s barbecue, I couldn’t say my socks had been knocked off by anything I’d eaten. My meal at Husk was finally the epiphany I’d been waiting for about lowcountry cuisine. I understood the energy and enthusiasm for the awesomeness of Charleston. It’s one of those meals that food lovers like me seek. The meal that makes a trip to a new region worthwhile.

Husk: 76 Queen St, Charleston, SC

 

 

 

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