Q: Do you know where the best fried oysters are east of the Cooper?
A: I'm not sure how far east of the Cooper you wish to travel, but I was really impressed with the fried oysters at The Bent Rod in McClellanville (although the restaurant only serves them in r-months, so this advice isn’t relevant in summertime).
Closer to Charleston, I like the fried oysters at Long Island Café, Acme Lowcountry Kitchen and Page's Okra Grill best, although my favorite fried oyster dinner might be the one served at The Wreck, which comes with red rice, cole slaw and a fried hominy square.
Still, your question reminded me of a possible fried oyster destination I hadn’t yet checked out. If you are overdue also for a visit to The Grit Counter, I’d strongly suggest adding it your lunch rotation: Grace & Grit this past spring opened the daytime auxiliary to its sit-down seafood restaurant in the venue vacated by Welkin Coffee, and it’s terrific.
When I reviewed Grace & Grit, I likened its grits menu to an ice cream counter, largely because the number of varieties was overwhelming and most of the preparations skewed sweet. But now the restaurant really is offering what amounts to savory grits sundaes, allowing customers to choose grits type, sauces and toppings. Think of it as the Southern version of Kairos, which also got its start in Mount Pleasant.
Like all places that give civilians license to assemble their own bowls, The Grit Counter has a menu rife with potential hazards. Surely, no good can come of tossing a fried green tomato atop smoked pecan-and-maple grits with Kalamata olives and beer mustard sauce. But what’s important is each individual item that I sampled was excellent (save for the grits, which are too rich for my taste). And the standout was the fried oyster, plump within its slip of well-seasoned batter.
In fact, you don’t even have to fuss with the grits, whether flavored with Brussels sprout pesto, pimento cheese or blueberries: The Grit Counter, 320 Wingo Way, serves a $12 fried oyster po’-boy. Enjoy!