For our final meal in Charleston, an extra-ordinary dinner at The Ordinary.
Our party of six was seated on the second floor of the former bank building, offering expansive views of the “Southern seafood hall” and oyster bar. I do believe that the award for the city with the grandest dining rooms goes to Charleston!
Adam Nemirow and Chef Mike Lata, the team behind Charleston’s beloved restaurant FIG, opened The Ordinary last year. The menu highlights the “merrior” of the Coastal Carolinas and the East Coast, according to the restaurant’s website.
I’m not quite sure how Hawaiian rolls ($4) fit into the local “merrior,” but no matter… As soon as I spotted them on the menu, I knew they had to be mine. Though not quite as sweet as King’s Hawaiian Rolls, these were warm, fluffy, and benefited from a generous slathering of butter.
The Astronomer and I, along with The Astronomer’s sister, joined forces to explore as much of the menu as possible this evening. We passed on the larger format dishes and went wild with a selection of cold and hot small plates.
First up, smoked fish pâté served with pumpernickel ($13). Cold, creamy, and smoky, the pâté was lovely—I bypassed the bread and ate it mostly straight up.
Equally chilled and delightful were the “Pickled White Shrimp” with cumin and coriander ($15). The seasoned and snappy shrimp made my lips pucker in the best way.
And then there were magnificent oysters: Otter Island Wilds, Capers Blades, and Standish Shores. A plethora of garnishes were on hand including a blood orange mingonette, red wine mignonette, and freshly grated horseradish.
Best of all were the oysters prepared “Moscow style,” with a dollop of creme friache, vodka, and caviar! Oh, to slurp like Czars and Czarinas!
Next we moved on to the “hot” dishes. Prepared in the style of Vietnamese banh mi, the oyster sliders ($5) on Hawaiian rolls were savory, spicy powerhouses. I was impressed that the briny morsels were able to stand out amid the plethora of fixings.
I may have stolen one of The Astronomer’s brother’s white shrimp hushpuppies with tartar sauce ($12). I may have enjoyed it very much, with more tartar sauce than actual hushpuppy.
My favorite dish of the night was a surf and turf combo featuring crispy oysters and beef tartare ($15)—my kind of pairing!
For dessert, a bowl of cool Carolina Gold rice pudding topped with a collection of bitter, tart, and sweet citrus segments. Delicious!
And that, my friends, wraps up culinary coverage of Charleston. Traveling abroad certainly has its merits, but discovering new parts of the U.S. can be pretty spectacular too. In addition to eating extremely well in Charleston, I loved the city’s rich history, architecture, and one-of-a-kind beach-meets-plantation vibe. I highly recommend you make your way here.
544 King Street
Charleston, SC 29403
You fed me so well, Charleston! Thank you.