We will be in Charleston for a conference for 5 days in mid-October. We will be forced to eat at the conference for some of the time, but should have at least 3 dinners, 3 lunches, and possibly a breakfast or two available.
We are primarily interested in trying dishes that are signatures of Charleston and the Lowcountry environs. We will eat at hole-in-the-walls and will drive a good distance for must-have specialties. We have the budget to also eat at upscale places, but would do so only if they focus on these kinds of dishes/flavours (as opposed to great restaurants that don't necessarily reflect the local cuisine). We do not care about a balanced diet and will eat only one ingredient for a meal if it is worth the experience.
After reading through various threads here, thumbing through some other books and websites, we have come up with the following ideas. Please help us edit this list as we have too many options to try.
Bowens Island Restaurant - for the oysters, possibly the hushpuppies
Charleston's Cafe - Island potato casserole
Dave’s Carry-Out - fried shrimp and other fried seafood
Fishnet Seafood - Jesus crab, fried fish
Gullah Cuisine - gullah rice, fish-head stew
Hominy Grill - for the shrimp and grits, the purloo, Country Captain
H&R Sweet Shop - lima beans
Page's Okra Grill - fried flounder, pimiento cheese
Seewee - fried seafood
The Wreck - she-crab soup, fried seafood
Second tier on our list include Bertha's Kitchen, Diana's, Ernie's, for various simple dishes. Let us know if any of these should be promoted up the list.
Hyman's appears to be not strongly favoured, but we heard that the crispy flounder is good there. Yes/no?
We hadn't really looked at BBQ in Charleston as we were hoping to hit Duke's in Orangeburg as we will be in other parts of SC for a few days before Charleston. However, if there is a must-have place in Charleston, we will consider it.
If we do one upscale meal in Charleston, FIG appears to fit our interests and also seems well regarded. Husk, McGrady's seem more focused on local ingredients, but not indigenous flavours/dishes exactly. Other sites also mentioned 82 Queen, Anson, and Magnolia's, but we haven't seen as much praise for these on Chowhound. Any opinions?
Thanks in advance for further advice and suggestions.