Let me present some photographs from a meal a couple months ago at McCrady’s, in Charleston, South Carolina. This was my fourth visit, but only the second time I opted for the tasting menu. My first foray was impressive, but this recent visit was simply extraordinary.
Chef Brock wasn’t there – his right hand man, the young Jeremiah Langhorne, was the producer of this show, which was a top five meal for me. There have been grumblings surrounding the conceit of tasting menus and the patience required, the endless face stuffing from a parade showy dishes, but on occasion I have a meal that reminds me of the intent.
I won’t attempt to rewrite what has already so recently been described (and so eloquently) by the fantastic writer ChuckEats, but this meal was much more than a slideshow of ability. It progressed in some ways to be expected, beginning with the early offering of “bites”, the wonderful bread, the sparse and modernly eloquent plating, disseminating a variety of techniques and ingredients. This theme is easily found in many restaurants, on many tasting menus – what made this meal stand above execution was the cohesiveness, the theme which struck a cord with almost every bite – fire and depth. Be it the aroma of the oysters surrounded with embers, the fleck of singe on every mussel, the aromatic funk from aged duck, the richness of Carolina heirloom rice, or the deft grill marks on swordfish with squid ink, the progression of flavors parlayed from one plate to the next in memorable fashion.
Months later, I still think about it and go through the photos. Truly a great meal.
cured pork shoulder
crab, horseradish ice
Capers Blade Oysters Cooked in Embers with Country Ham Fat and Elderberry Capers
Mussels, Truffle and Cabbage
Charleston Ice Cream
Swordfish, Truffle Squid Ink
Berkshire Pork, Turnip, Kale and Beech Mushroom
Duck Aged and Roasted on the Bone, Fermented Walnut and Creamed Farro
Kaffir Lime, Benne and Mead
White Chocolate, Jasmine Egg Yolk, Sumac and Chamomile