To round out our tour of the South (and chef Sean Brock’s restaurants), we went to McCrady’s, the first restaurant Sean Brock opened. It is higher-end than Husk, but with a similar philosophy of showcasing Southern ingredients. It’s real good.
Jesse: From the street, McCrady’s doesn’t look like much. It actually looks like it could just be your generic steakhouse from the over sized pictures of their dishes filling the window space. But the entrance to the restaurant is around the corner through a tiny alleyway. The brick walls and the gas lantern (customary Charleston style) which lights their simple, but elegant sign give you a clue as to what you can expect inside.
Julian: The restaurant gives you a piece of its history when you get there. Apparently the original McCrady’s Tavern is over 200 years old, serving as a watering hole for political meetings before and during the Revolution. I like hearing about that kind of stuff.
Jesse: Definitely interesting history, it’s hard to not wonder about it walking into such a cool space. For those not interested, they don’t force you to pick up the piece of paper which describes their history, but for us the read was quite enjoyable. Speaking of cool information, our waiter was the most informed waiter I’ve ever experienced…or probably will (not counting the cooks at the Catbird Seat who were also our servers). Julian and I tend to ask a lot of questions about the preparation of our dishes, and once our waiter caught wind of our interest, he let loose descriptions of how our food was prepared as if he were the designer of the dishes himself.
Julian: And there was a lot to explain with these dishes! They are doing some pretty cool things with food at McCrady’s. And not just for the sake of doing cool things, but because it actually improves the flavor of the dishes. I really appreciate that in a restaurant. All of the flavors worked really well together and were totally refined. The chicken that my dad ordered was actually my favorite thing. They used transglutimase (meat glue) to hold together the chicken leg meat, so it looked like a solid cut of meat. Very modern technique, but done so as to utilize the whole chicken and to improve flavor , not for shock and awe.
Jesse: My red snapper was the best fish I’ve had so far on the trip. I’m not one who usually finds fish delicious, but this was a dish I would label so. My beef coulotte also hit the spot. Banana and benne sauce with charred egg plant and squid ink puree… yes, I like banana sauce on my meat– not something I thought I’d ever say. Thanks for putting banana sauce on my meat Sean Brock.
Julian: Ha, I think after eating at all of his restaurants we’ll be taking more than just beef and bananas away from Sean Brock. The guy is pioneering a Southern food scene and bringing back food traditions that have almost been forgotten. All while serving really good food. I think one big take away that I got from both Husks and McCrady’s is how to strike the balance between teaching guests where food came from and why it is special, while also keeping the dining experience enjoyable and fun. He’s the man.
Grouper with Edisto potatoes, carrots, fennel, and whey
Beef Coulotte with charred eggplant, banana, benne, and basil
Fromage blanc creme with berries, red fife, and chamomile