Charleston is home to 10 percent of the South’s 30 best restaurants, according to Southern Living.
Leon’s Oyster Shop, FIG and Husk earned spots on the list issued today by the magazine. Only Nashville received more mentions, with The Catbird Seat, Rolf & Daughters and Little Octopus scoring spots alongside Husk, shared by both cities. “While some diners may be inclined to argue in favor of one location over the other, we think that’s like comparing apples to okra,” the editors write, explaining the dual attribution.
Savannah also performed well, with The Florence and The Grey both making the list.
While Charlestonians are unlikely to dispute Southern Living’s conclusions, the magazine’s supporting details were initially sketchy. The entry for Leon’s Oyster Shop was illustrated by a photograph of another restaurant, and the blurb identified owners Brooks Reitz and Tim Mink as chefs; FIG executive chef Jason Stanhope’s recent James Beard Foundation award was erroneously credited to founding chef Mike Lata.
Southern Living corrected both factual errors after they were pointed out via Twitter. The photo is still posted (Not only does the pictured bar not look much like Leon’s, but Charlestonians very rarely wear leather coats and stocking caps, like the guy in the back corner.)
Still, the magazine praised chef Ari Kolender’s “crispy, spicy, fried fowl, and simple, well-executed seafood offerings,” correctly calling out the chargrilled oysters; FIG’s “cheesy tomato tarte tantine (sic) topped with olive puree” and the “salt-cured fish, Benton’s bacon-infused fried chicken (and) the main-course-worthy veggie plate” at Husk. (The fried chicken is only regularly available in Nashville, but you get the idea.)
The complete list is here.