by Paul Bowers
Ennobling simple, fast-food fare is not a new trick among Charleston's gourmet chefs — think EVO's pistachio-pesto pizza or the Husk cheeseburger. So maybe it was inevitable that someone would spruce up the lowly churro, the fried-dough staple of Mexican street festivals and pushcart vendors. Chef Kevin Johnson serves his churros in a glass, standing up on end like a bouquet of warm, twisty, cinnamon-coated flower stems. The interior is melt-in-your-mouth soft and a joy to experience by itself, but its most important function is to sop up the trio of accompanying sauces — caramel, vanilla, and dark chocolate. The caramel enjoys the benefit of sea salt, the vanilla tastes like just-melted ice cream, and the chocolate seals the deal with a kick of smoky chili pepper. As with any gourmet take on junk food, The Grocery's churro will at once bring to mind fond memories of the dish's humble inspiration and ruin all future experiences eating the original.
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