McCrady's: A Weekend in Charleston


After eating lunch at Chef Brock's Husk, we wanted to do something a little fancier for dinner. What better than to try Chef Brock's other restaurant, McCrady's?

With the entrance in a charming but small alley, we weren't sure what to expect. As soon as we walked in though, we were in love. They've taken a historic building and really allowed the space to showcase its classic beauty. The exposed brick, the heart-pine floors, beamed ceiling and fireplaces are all original to the space and give the dining room a warmth that sets the stage for the meal ahead.

After reading through the menu, there were simply too many dishes we wanted to try, so we opted for the tasting menu. My husband got the wine pairing and I promptly ordered a cocktail.

Instead of whiskey, I opted for gin. There were a couple of locally distilled gins on the menu and our waiter happily poured us some samples to taste.  My cocktail, Out on the Tiles, contained gin, sweet vermouth, sure, amaro, and grapefruit garnish. While not as complex or surprising as the drinks at Husk, it was a beautiful cocktail, well-made, balanced and delicious. I sipped it while they sent out our first three "snacks."

Pictured at the top, the snacks started with a bite of house cured pork loin, as delicious as any bite of charcuterie I've tasted, a fried potato bite with caviar, and the most interesting of the three, a housemaid cracker with powdered popcorn on top. I don't even know how to describe it, a thin, ultra light/crisp wafer, barely topped with a mayo/aioli spread, then covered in the lightest, puffiest popcorn snow. It was at once familiar (who hasn't had buttered popcorn) and yet completely (specifically texturally) surprising. The level of craft and artistry present in those three snacks had me super excited for dinner. I couldn't wait to see/taste the courses ahead.

Our first dish was a Crab Salad of sorts, with sorrel, yuzu, pole beans, and green plums.

A perfect starter, the crab was sweet, the pole beans were thinly sliced and crisp, and the tart green plums were a first for me, absolutely delicious and somehow more of a vegetable than a fruit with their tangy sweetness and hint of bitter. Rounded out with the yuzu, it was lovely indeed.

The next course was shrimp, technically a massive, head-on prawn, with zucchini, charred shishito, finger lime, and shiso.

I'm not gonna lie, that prawn was the best prawn/shrimp I've ever tasted. Delicately sweet, absolutely tender, this was clean shrimp flavor like you'd find at the finest sushi restaurants, but dressed up in a gorgeously mild chile sauce. To be honest, my husband is not a pepper/chile fan, so he could've done without the shishito sauce, but he greedily stared at my plate, hoping to snag a bite of my prawn once he finished his.

The seafood theme continued as roasted snapper was next, with english peas, celery, basil and polenta di riso nero.

This course was simple perfection. The snapper was perfectly cooked, beautiful crispy/crunchy top, gorgeously sweet, soft and tender inside. The polenta was basically a porridge made of local black rice, and these flavors melded wonderfully. This dish was flawless execution highlighting simply top notch ingredients. I'm not much of a fan of foam, but even it served its purpose nicely, adding a wispy herbal aroma with the tender basil, and the gently cooked celery completed the dish with a needed textural component. By this point, I was in heaven. It was my favorite dish of the night.

I was so in love with everything I was tasting, I actually started eating the next two courses before I took the photos, so I apologize in advance for the sloppiness of the dishes, these were not as they were brought out, but after I had already begun digging in.

Up next was an add on. McCrady's had sweetbreads on their menu, but sadly not a part of the tasting menu for the night. I cannot help myself from ordering sweetbreads when I see them on a menu, so we added this course. I'm so glad we did.

The sweetbreads were pan-fried with sunchokes, sunflower seeds, olives and broccoli. This was my husband's favorite course of the night. Again, McCrady's had flawless technique, the sweetbreads were lovely and crisp on the outside but buttery and unctuous inside. The sunflower seeds were cooked almost like a risotto and the combination with the sunchokes, olives and broccoli was as surprising as it was delicious.

From here we moved to roasted quail with beets, raspberry, arugula and cardamum.

Sorry for the messy photo, I started eating before I realized I'd forgotten to take a picture!
This was a lovely course, although the quail itself was very similar to the quail I had for lunch at Husk. The earthy beets and sweet raspberries worked amazingly well together against the richness of the meat. Very enjoyable.

For our last savory course, they served pork on asparagus and creamed leeks with mint and spruce jus.

I was getting pretty full at this point, but couldn't deny it was another example of flawless execution. I can only write "delicious" so many times, but darn it if this wasn't another delicious dish. The pork was gorgeously tender and juicy while the creamy leeks and asparagus kept the feeling of the plate remarkably light. Exactly what I needed after 5 previous courses, three snacks, a cocktail, and constant sips of my husband's wine.

The dessert courses were a tad underwhelming. This is standard for me, I'm not usually hungry at the end of a multi-course meal so a dessert needs to be truly exceptional to get anything other than a general positive note.

Starting top left is a dewberry (local Charleston berry) granita with pistachio and basil. Tasty and pretty refreshing. The top right corner and the bottom left corner is the same dessert, soft  milk chocolate custard with rye and banana. I enjoyed the chocolate, the banana ice cream as well as the rye berry garnish, but could do without the rye crisp on top. And very lastly they brought out madeleines and macarons, both were rather ho-hum, but honestly, at the end of the meal, I was downright stuffed, so it didn't really matter.

All-in-all, it was an exceptional dinner at McCrady's. I would most happily eat here again and the courses were some of the very best things I ate in Charleston. If you are in the mood to splurge, the tasting menu is the way to go, although I'd skip the wine pairings (they were just average) and either order a bottle or stick with the lovely cocktails.

2 Unity Alley
Charleston, SC 29401

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