Yesterday, Wednesday October 12, 2011, we had lunch at Hominy Grill in Charleston SC. Map Link
This was our first trip to Hominy Grill. At first, I was somewhat reluctant to go her to eat, as when I was young, growing up in Charleston, this was a poor, rough area - not an area I would have been willing to get out of my car, let alone consider eating!
However, our hostess at the cottage we are renting in the historic part of Charleston, assured us this was no longer the case.
She was most certainly right! In traveling along Ashley St, I was amazed at how much the area had changed. Once wonderful elegant homes that had fallen into disrepair and trash when I lived her in the 60s, have been 'gentrified' with new owners, fixed up with new families living in them! It looks like the Medical College of Charleston has continued to move northwards, with their solid influence changing the makeup of the whole neighborhood.
We entered Hominy Grill via the courtyard on the south end of their building, and were seated in the original structure, which apparently used to be a barber shop - can't confirm, as we didn't actually ask, but there's a pair of 'barber poles' located just inside the old entrance.
In looking over the menu, we saw appetizers, sandwiches, small plates and large plates. I quickly looked to see if they had an oyster poorboy, but none was presented. In reviewing the rest of the menu, my goal was to have something of a signature dish from them, so that meant a lot of their sandwiches weren't being considered. Moving onto the small plates, which represented my desire for a smaller lunch, I didn't spot anything that could be considered unique, which lead me to their full plate lunches. There, I spotted their signature dish, shrimp and grits.
With a name like Hominy, how could I go wrong with this Charleston area staple?
So, even though it was a larger lunch than I was seeking, and the price a little higher than what I was wanting to pay for lunch ($17), I elected to take this choice, while my wife got their 'three vegetables plate'.
Well, I'm glad I made this choice!
Diners sit in close proximity of each other, so our dining neighbors wanted to know how I liked my shrimp and grits, while also mentioning this was supposed to be 'the best of any other restaurant'. I replied that I hadn't given that any thought, but that they were really good, and after more reflection, decided he reference was correct - they were indeed the best I've ever had anywhere!
My wife liked her vegetable plat; I loved my shrimp and grits! We liked them so much, we bought their recipe book!
These creamy, cheesy grits have bacon mixed in, while the shrimp have been sauteed in bacon oil. So often in this dish, the shrimp has a rather dull effect; not these shrimp! The are exploding in flavor in their own right, taking center stage just over the top of the grits. So, instead of being the underdog in this fight, the shrimp come out on top, bursting with flavor! These may be the best tasting shrimp, in any dish, I have ever had! And, coming from Charleston, and growing up eating at Calabash NC., that would be saying something!
We'll be back, and back, and back!