Charleston is one of those cities that immediately makes you fall in love. It has it all – beautiful architecture, exquisitely executed food and some of the warmest and most attractive people I have ever seen all in one city. My recent trip there consisted of half the time with friends and half the time alone which allowed me a variety of experiences to choose from.
One such experience I want to focus on today is my meal at SNOB (Slightly North of Broad), my first dining experience upon arriving in Charleston.
I stumbled upon SNOB while I was waiting for my friends to get into town. I had just dropped off my things at my hotel and wandered into SNOB based on that “good feeling” you get when first exploring a new city. The food gods were indeed on my side that day!
When I walked in, the place was packed. I approached the hostess stand and asked if they had a table for one – almost 100% sure that, by the looks of it, there would be a long wait. As fate would have it, there was one seat available at the chef’s table. As the hostess walked me over I passed dishes of scallops, roasted lamb and duck. “What’s that?” I ask the hostess and pointed at a group of teenagers spooning into a dessert. “It’s our sour cream apple pie” she said with a smile. We both knew she needn’t say anymore.
As I sat facing a bustling kitchen filled with baskets of fresh produce and delicious scents and sounds, I picked up a cooking magazine made available for chef’s table diners to browse from. My waiter came a few minutes later and asked me if I was ready. Without looking at the menu I asked “What would you recommend for someone’s first meal ever in Charleston?”
“The Maverick Shrimp & Grits” he replied not skipping a beat.
“Sold.” I laughed handing him the menu.
Like I said, the food gods were with me that day. The shrimp was fresh, meaty and sauteed perfectly with fresh tomatoes, green onions, garlic, and Geechie Boy yellow grits. Although originally served with sausage and country ham, I had it without any pork due to dietary restrictions. I had never had shrimp and grits before and I am pretty sure this may have set the bar pretty high in the future. The grits were just the right consistency and the sauce had hints of white wine.
The service was wonderful, the waiter was knowledgeable, recommended some must see sites in the area and even charged my phone for me while I ate. I was so full afterwards that I begrudgingly passed on the apple pie. But I will be back for more SNOB on my next trip to Charleston.
Oh yes, that pie will be mine.