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Revisited: 101 things to savor, slurp, and suck down

*annotated by Aaron and Elise Richard



We asked the Richards to give us a breakdown, dish by dish, of what they thought of our list. Here are their their scores, based on 10 being perfect.

She-Crab Soup at 82 Queen

Although we typically have a high threshold for richness, this one went too far for our tastes. The delicate crab flavor was masked by the overwhelming thickness of cream and roux. The only redeeming flavor from the soup was the kiss of sherry on top.

Aaron: 3 -----Elise: 2

Roasted Oysters at Bowens Island Restaurant

You can get fresh local oysters all around town, but the casual and inviting environment is what makes this place special. It is one of the few places that you can watch every step of your meal's creation right from your table.

Aaron: 7.5 -----Elise: 7.5

Provided by Callie's Bisquits
  • Provided by Callie's Bisquits

Callie's Biscuits

Not sure how she packs so much butter into that dough, but these never disappoint! Amazing naked, but further amplified with a little fresh jam on top. A great appetizer to have at your next house party, but be prepared to pay a premium for these gems.

Aaron: 7 -----Elise: 7

Provided by Charleston Grill
  • Provided by Charleston Grill

Crab Cake at Charleston Grill

Worth every penny! The term "cake" devalues this dish ... it is essentially a ball of perfectly seasoned crab meat garnished with local shrimp, with just the right amount of citrus. This is a restaurant that we have skipped over many times to hit the newest hot spot, but this dining experience made it clear why Charleston Grill has such staying power.

Aaron: 10 -----Elise: 9.5

Fried Chicken at the Griffon

We experienced two failed attempts at ordering this until we were informed that it is served at lunch on Wednesdays only. We think the gimmick of limited availability has created a false perception that one is getting a "special." The chicken was moist, but had no flavoring and was accompanied by dry mac and cheese and greasy collards. Skip the chicken and order their fish and chips.

Aaron: 5 -----Elise: 5

Shrimp and Grits at Hominy Grill

In the endless battle of best shrimp and grits, this place is a solid competitor. This has just the right amount of pepper from the gravy and we love the smokiness the bacon adds. They use lemon juice to brighten it up and mushrooms to add a layer of earthiness that ties it all together.

Aaron: 9.5 -----Elise: 8.5

Sweet Tea at Jestine's Kitchen

We are both true Southerners and can appreciate that this is a classic. However, we felt that this was more of a science experiment testing the limits of dissolving sugar in water. Overall, this drink was too sweet to enjoy even on a typical steamy Charleston afternoon.

Aaron: 7 -----Elise: 5

Lima Beans at Martha Lou's Kitchen

Good Southern cooking is achieved by balancing the star ingredient with just the right amount of fat and salt. Martha Lou's has this perfected. The tender beans were served in a bath of thick gravy and seasoned perfectly with pepper and pork. We recommend that you pair these with their fried chicken.

Aaron: 8.5 -----Elise: 8

Provided by Peninsula Grill
  • Provided by Peninsula Grill

Coconut Cake at Peninsula Grill

Even if you don't like coconut, you will love this cake! This is everything that a coconut cake should be in flavor and in presentation. It was so good we attempted to recreate it from the online recipe, but learned this one is best left to the pros.

Aaron: 10 -----Elise: 10

Provided by The Glass Onion
  • Provided by The Glass Onion

Sarah's Pimento Cheese with Crackers at the Glass Onion

This appetizer is your typical Southern pimento cheese. Not our favorite in Charleston due to the strong black pepper flavor and a lack of sharpness from the yellow cheddar they use.

Aaron: 6.5 -----Elise: 5.5

Frogmore Stew at Gilligan's

This experience was a letdown in both food quality and atmosphere. The stew was disproportionately high in white potatoes and onions and tasted of little but Old Bay. The stingy use of shrimp and sausage was inadequate for the price, and the ambience was just too cheesy.

Aaron: 2 -----Elise: 2.5

Macaroni and Cheese at Cru Cafe´

We walked in one afternoon to try this appetizer and found ourselves walking out registered for their New Year's Eve dinner. This glorious menagerie of four bubbling cheeses is complex and delicious, while simultaneously reminding you of home.

Aaron: 9.5 -----Elise: 9

Cornbread at Husk Restaurant

This deliciously smoky, bacon-flecked cornbread arrives with wow factor in your own private cast iron skillet and drives it home with a side of sinful bacon butter. Although we both hold this cornbread in high regard, -----Elise scored it lower because she prefers a sweeter cornbread.

Aaron: 10 -----Elise: 7.5

Fried Green Tomatoes at Magnolias

Having eaten our fair share of fried green tomatoes around town, we can say that this is a real example of flavorful innovation. The tomato chutney and goat cheese pairing took us by surprise. But when eaten together, the synergistic effect of these components blew us away.

Aaron: 9 -----Elise: 9

Sarah M. Neilson
  • Sarah M. Neilson

Stuffed Hush Puppies at Fleet Landing

Hush puppies are good. Stuffing them to the brim with sweet lobster and rock shrimp is great. In addition to being delicious, we felt these were a great deal due to the generous portion of shellfish hidden inside each puppy.

Aaron: 8.5 -----Elise: 9

Fried Shrimp at McClellanville Diner

These made to order shrimp were just pulled from the creek and had a light and crispy fry. If you happen to be in the area, it's worth a stop. However, we still feel you don't have to leave Charleston to find good fried shrimp.

Aaron: 7 -----Elise: 7.5

Hash and Rice at Bessinger's

This hash is tasty, but lacks the complex, rich flavors that we expect out of the slow cooking process required to make it. The meat was ground almost into a puree, which created a thinner texture than we prefer.

Aaron: 6.5 -----Elise: 6.5

Collards at Virginia's on King

Virginia's figured out a way to maintain the inherent flavor of collards while complementing them with just the right amount of richness and acidity.

Aaron: 8.5 -----Elise: 8

Okra Soup at Bertha's Kitchen

Trust us, the exterior of Bertha's is no indication of what's happening inside. The staff warmed our souls as much as the hearty bowl of soup they served us. A slow-cooked summer garden in a bowl accented with crispy bits of bacon, this soup paired great with their cornbread.

Aaron: 9 -----Elise: 8

Fried Fish at Rosebank Farms Café

As members of their CSA, we knew their ingredients were top notch. We didn't realize the people of Rosebank Farms were also such good chefs! Once you sample this fish (along with anything else on their seasonal menu), you will find time to make the trip to Johns Island.

Aaron: 9 -----Elise: 9

Oyster Shot at Pearlz

This local treat is something we introduce to all of our out-of-town guests. This is a perfect combination of brine from the oyster, heat from their homemade cocktail sauce and kick from the private label pepper vodka.

Aaron: 10 -----Elise: 10

Mussels at 39 Rue de Jean

Although these stellar mussels are available in six flavorful baths, we always find ourselves ordering the pistou and extra bread for dipping. The chefs are heavy-handed with the garlic, so make sure you aren't on a first date!

Aaron: 9.5 -----Elise: 10

Chicken Liver Paté at FIG

This is one item worth traveling outside of your comfort zone for. This pâté melts in your mouth and is paired with just the right crispy and tangy accoutrements.

Aaron: 10 -----Elise: 9.5

Asparagus Risotto at Al di La

Elise's #1 list item. Everything about this dish was harmonious and sensual. Three seared scallops invite you into the creamy risotto, which is blended and topped with tender asparagus. You will not want to share this.

Aaron: 10 -----Elise: 10

Seafood Tower at Hank's Seafood Restaurant

This dish scores high points for presentation; you can't order this without reaction from the crowd. The ice-cold shellfish is prepped beautifully and all you need is a tiny fork. The tower is an adequate dinner for two, but if you want to go baller style, order the castle.

Aaron: 8.5 -----Elise: 8.5

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