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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hominy Grill

We arrive to Hominy Grill early to beat the lunch crowd and good thing we did — the wait at noon was 45 minutes.

The place was more low key than I imagined given it's mentioned in a national food magazine on a regular basis. It was quaint and fitting for a romantic southern town. The specials were written on a chalk board (side note: soup of the day ... tomato bacon), and the waitresses wore khaki shorts and tee shirts.

When the menu came I was already drooling. Things like the fried green tomatoes, grilled eggplant and herbed goat cheese sandwich, and the pecan-crusted porterhouse pork chop with spiced peach sauce had my taste buds running laps in my mouth. I knew what we had to do. Each of us ordered something different and we all got to taste something. Below are the heavenly items we got to sample.

Picnic Sampler: pimento cheese, shaved country ham, okra pickles, picked eggs and toast. 
That was the best pimento cheese I've ever tasted. I can't stop thinking about it. The ham was basically prosciutto, and I layered some of the pimento cheese spread on the toast with the ham on top. So much flavor.

okra and shrimp beignets with salsa and cilantro-lime sour cream
I really don't need to say any more ... the description is sufficient. 

shrimp and grits with mushrooms, scallions, bacon and cheese

The only other time I've had shrimp and grits this good was by James Beard award-winning chef John Currence at City Grocery in Oxford, Miss. You'd think with all of the goodness in this dish it would be hard to screw up, but very few people get it right. The grits need flavor but can't be too rich. The shrimp are easy to overcook and sometimes this dish can be too salty. Not at Hominy Grill. Everything was perfection.

sesame-crusted catfish smothered in sauteed okra
and a peanut sauce, sitting on a bed of deep fried cheese grit cakes. 

Ever since a friend of mine wrote a feature story on catfish and how northern folk view this bottom dweller, I haven't been able to bring myself to enjoy it until I tried this. Thank you Hominy Grill for kicking me off the catfish wagon. 

the famous coconut cake
I've read about this heavenly cake in Bon Appetit magazine, but I've had a ton of coconut cake and am pleased but indifferent. I had zero apathy for this cake. It was dense, rich and had some of the best cream cheese icing I've had. None of that lemony stuff either, just a good traditional cake.

boiled peanuts
You can't go to Charleston without trying a boiled peanut. It took me a few minutes to get used to the foreign texture, but soon I was asking for seconds. I also advise that you don't leave Charleston without going to Hominy Grill.

Next post: sights I saw on my 5 mile run this morning.