The Most Southern Restaurant Ever

Photos by Terry Manier

A look inside Chef Sean Brock's new restaurant, Husk

>Click here for behind-the-scenes look inside the restaurant

Charleston, South Carolina, is no stranger to restaurant buzz, but lately there’s a roar about chef Sean Brock’s new establishment, Husk. We stopped by earlier this week to find out if the food and drink lived up to the hype, and came out preaching the Brock gospel. (Click here to see a gallery of photos from our visit.) If you haven’t heard, Brock abides by one rule at Husk: All ingredients must come from the South, from the triggerfish and the pork to the mustard and the butter (both of which are whipped up in the kitchen). “This isn’t about Southern dishes,” says Brock, “it’s about Southern food. And no one has better ingredients than the South.”

We started our night at the bar, which is housed in an antebellum kitchen house adjacent to the main restaurant. (Alcohol is the only ingredient that doesn’t need Southern roots to make it under Husk’s roof, but items such as sweet vermouth are made on site, and the bitters are aged behind the bar in miniature wooden barrels.) In addition to a list of very creative—and truly Southern—cocktails (try Rosemary’s Baby, a modern take on the Negroni), there are fifty-some Kentucky bourbons to choose from, and a rumor has it a barrel of twenty-year Pappy Van Winkle is soon to arrive.

At dinner we let Brock make the suggestions and in no time were digging into a number of appetizers, including Carolina Gold Rice middlins with South Carolina shrimp and wood-fired mushrooms. Main courses included cornmeal-dusted North Carolina flounder with Sea Island peas and beans, and wood-fired Georgia chicken with potato confit and cider-braised cabbage. But don’t expect to find these exact dishes if you snag a reservation at Husk. “Every night at 12:30, we gather in the kitchen and take stock of what we have and what’s coming in the following day,” says Brock. “It’s the weather, really, that writes our menu.”