Just returned from a weekend in Charleston, too. Went with 3 other couples so I had the advantage of seeing, and, in some cases, sampling more than my own meal.
But, prior to getting to Charleston, we stopped in Levy, SC at The Pink Pig BBQ. This place was mentioned on several websites. They also sell their sauces to some department store chains. It's on SC 170 - about 15 miles off 1-16 on the way to Hardeeville.
The "Q" was pretty good. Most of our party had the chopped pork, Brunswick Stew, and slaw. I had the ribs and they were good. The place was immaculate and lots of fun - pink pigs everywhere. Hey, if you are in the neighborhood, I say try it.
They had 3 types of sauces - One was Gullah (?) which I believe has some place in Black History. If not, I apologize. In any case, it was a vinegar based sauce. But, this particular one was thick and not like the NC thin vinegar based sauces I like.
In Charleston, our first meal was at The Boathouse at Branch Creek Inlet - Isle of Palms. There is another one in downtown Charleston, too. The place was right on the water, very busy, very noisy and very good.
The group's orders included panko breaded fresh flounder, which I tasted - excellent. Also, beautiful, perfectly done think center cut salmon, very good lump crab cakes, and Mahi Mahi. A side order of their creamy grits was wonderful. The prices were reasonable.
Had breakfast, also on Isle of Palms, at a place called the Sea Biscuit. It was nothing special. But, a drive around the island's rebuilt beach homes (Hugo) was great. Some major league homes in the $3.5 to $5 mil range. Very nice.
We stayed in Mt. Pleasant. In hindsight, that was a mistake. Lots of construction going one - Suggest staying in the city.
Second night's dinner was downtown at 39 Rue de Jean. Nice looking Bistro type place. Very crowded, but not noisy. The food was very good and again very reasonable. I had a good NY Strip with peppercorns.
My only criticism was the pomme frites were nothing more than "friendly" fries and that was a disappointment. But, the steak was very good.
Others in our party had salmon, free range chicken and a terrific double pork chop that was first brined for several days in an apple juice mixture.
We went for dessert at the Peninsula Grill - Great idea!! One of the people in our group had heard about a terrific banana pudding like dessert and I already knew of their famous coconut cake. So, we decided to give it a try.
This place was absolutely beautiful. A major league restaurant with a nice artwork, beautiful decor, and a great open kitchen design. The chef is apparently one of Charleston's most well-known. He is a friend of Tyler Florence's from FoodTV.
We had the coconut cake, which was fantastic. Both the banana dessert (forget the name) and a chocolate praline bread pudding were wonderful, too. A well-heeled crowd filled this place. Very impressive...
Too bad we did not have more time to try some of the other places we had on our list like SNOB, Hanks, Jestine's, etc.
We took a horse carriage tour - Highly recommend it. It was great. We left right from a barn (Palmetto Tours)and had a very knowledgable tour guide. They had the most amazingly beautiful roosters in the barn. Kept our attention and lessened the awareness of the barn smells. Anyway, we saw quite a bit of the city. We also did a walking tour as well.
For whatever its worth, we tried comparing Charleston to Savannah. To a person, we all favored the architecture of Savannah and their beautiful squares. But, as far as dining goes, there are so many more restaurants to choose from in Charleston.
I say, hit both towns. You won't be sorry.