To illustrate why Edmund's Oast earned a spot on its list of 50 nominees for its "America's Best New Restaurants 2014" list, Bon Appetit wisely chose a picture of the restaurant's pickled shrimp on rye. The dish speaks to chef Andy Henderson's comfort with funky flavors; command of technique and finely-tuned aesthetic sense, all of which also turn up on the restaurant's rightly lauded charcuterie plate.
Indeed, the photo may make more sense than the accompanying blurb, which begins: "Forget what you know about Charleston restaurants: At this modern temple to craft beer, there's not a gas lamp in sight." (OK, there are gas lamps aplenty in deep downtown, but I can't think of the last time I had trouble reading a menu because the interior gas lamp was too dim.)
Also, the wooden-celinged room doesn't really qualify as "sun-drenched." But restaurant and drinks editor Andrew Knowlton is on firmer footing when he recommends the shishito peppers and sweet-corn custard. Plus, locals know the pictured shrimp toast makes an ideal breakfast, if you can manage to not polish off the plate at suppertime.
Other Southeastern nominees for the final list of 10, which will be revealed next Tuesday, include Atlanta's Lusca and Gunshow; El Camino in Louisville and Rhubarb in Asheville. Interestingly, although Nashville is generally recognized as the region's trendiest food city these days, it doesn't have a representative among the nominees.
Nashville is home to seven of the restaurants named this week to Southern Living's list of "100 Best Restaurants in the South." But Charleston fared even better: In addition to Edmund's Oast, Jennifer V. Cole cited Chez Nous; Cypress; FIG; The Obstinate Daughter; Husk; The Ordinary; Two Boroughs Larder and Hominy Grill. The complete list is here.