|Scallion BBQ Glazed ribs-JUST PICK THEM UP AND EAT THEM|
Now Chef Brock has been at the top of my list for a while now, at the helm of über-modernist McCrady's , but his jump to national acclaim came with the opening of Husk, a restaurant where the Mason-Dixon line isn't just an abstract concept, but an absolute demarcation line. Every ingredient is sourced from the confines of the South, from the Manchester Farms quail, to the Keegan-Filion farms beef, to the Texas olive oil. The techniques used are a blend of the cutting edge, global inspired and the super-traditional. His famed corn bread recipe is a hand-me-down from his Appalachian heritage. Where some restaurants may be an ode to Southern cuisine, Husk is a psychotic, mentally deranged stalker whose entire house is a shrine to the staples of Dixie.
Husk is located in the heart of Charleston on Queen Street. I recommend parking just around the corner on Chalmers if you have good shocks, since this cobble stone street is one of the most beautiful in the city at night. Walking up Queen you find Husk next door to Poogan's Porch. The dichotomy of the two restaurants couldn't be any more stark. On one side you have the long established favorite of society and the tourist sect. This is Martha Stewart and Southern Living. This is the South that bores me to tears. On the other side is the trailblazing young pup, the favorite of Damn Yankee foodies and young Southern locavore hipsters. This is Anthony Bourdain and Garden & Gun. This is the New South.
What is more classic than potato soup? How about ramping up the spice level, then cooling it off with a pork belly marmalade. Okay, maybe someone should tell me what the heck a pork belly marmalade is other than FREAKING DELICIOUS. The Girl is a spice sensitive person, and the spice is to the nose running level. She cleans the bowl.
Now I'm not saying Husk is perfect. The acclaimed corn bread isn't our cup of tea, far too dense. The portion sizes are, in all honesty, TOO big. This place needs a gluttony couch for you to lay on as you slip into a meat coma. What I am saying is Husk fully embraces the farm-to-table ethic, places the South on a pedestal, and dares you to say a damn word about how polenta is so much more refined than grits. And it does so with a smile and a glass of Pappy van Winkle in hand.
The bigger question Husk raises is; what is next for Haute Dixie? Can this cuisine translate to a global scale the way other cuisines have? The inevitable variations and bastardizations will change the ingredients and the presentations, the flavor profiles and techniques, but will the SOUL remain? Will the integrity remain the farther true Southern cuisine is removed from its African slave roots? As long as we look to chefs who embrace the South heart and soul such as Sean Brock to lead the movement and not just exploitative hacks like Paula Deen, there is a chance.
Value: 5/5 (This was during the Charleston Restaurant Week 3 for $30, not regular pricing)