March 7, 2019
We’re not sure if you’ve heard, but HUSK is kind of a big deal right now. Since opening his homage to southern cuisine in 2010, executive chef Sean Brock has gotten his share of attention. He won a James Beard award for his work at the Charleston institution McCrady’s and was nominated for a Beard award in the category of ‘Outstanding’ chef for his work at HUSK in 2015 and 2016.
Both comedians Aziz Ansari and Stephen Colbert have sung his praises.
Find out how to get into HUSK, what to order — and where to go if you’re just too late for a res here.
The Story Behind Husk
The first HUSK restaurant opened in Charleston in 2010.
The restaurant’s menu features elevated lowcountry recipes and southern ingredients. Its motto? If we can’t source an ingredient from the South, it’s not going in one of our dishes.
This mentality forces the chefs to think outside of the confines of traditional cooking.
HUSK’s Chef: Sean Brock
HUSK is the brainchild of chef Sean Brock. Brock started his career at McCrady’s, a high-end Charleston institution. After a major hiccup on his first night as executive chef, Brock vowed he would make it up to the restaurant. He didn’t take a day off until the restaurant received its first good review.
Brock continued his work at McCrady’s, and in 2010, he opened HUSK — which has been lauded by many foodies and critics as the must-visit restaurant in Charleston.
In addition to the James Beard awards Brock was nominated for and won mentioned in the intro, he has also won one for his book, “Heritage.”
He was featured on season 6 of “Chef’s Table” and his story was highlighted in articles in both GQ and The New York Times.
While we don’t want to spoil the whole story for you (it’s heartbreaking and beautiful, and you really should watch his “Chef’s Table” episode or at least read the GQ article if you have the chance), what you should know is how much Brock gave up for his career.
The GQ article in mention is titled, “How Visionary Chef Sean Brock Nearly Went Blind.” Yet, the magazine has taken a liking to Brock and featured him in many of their food columns in the past few years.
HUSK’s menu can change at a moment’s notice — and does change from week to week. Each item on the menu features a southern ingredient, be it pimento cheese, pickled veggies, country ham, chicken or pork rinds.
At lunch, appetizer courses usually include crostini with housemade cheese and pickled veggies, HUSK pork rinds, a salad and a fusion dish — such as southern falafel.
Main menu items are as laid back as the appetizer course. You’ll usually find shrimp and grits in some form, the HUSK cheeseburger, fried chicken and a fish option.
Sides almost always include HUSK cornbread, veggies and grits.
At dinner, you’ll find entrée-sized versions of the lunch menu items and elevated southern cuisine. Oysters on the half shell are a common starter — as is HUSK pimento cheese. Instead of a burger, you’ll see beef tartare and Tennessee strip steak. Sides at dinner are usually similar or elevated versions of the ones offered on the lunch menu.
Prices range from $12 to $20 at lunch and around $30 for a dinner entrée.
Other Ways to Visit HUSK
Since HUSK’s inception in 2010, Brock has opened two other locations in the South: one in Greenville, South Carolina, and one in Nashville, Tennessee. Both locations offer similar menus to the location in Charleston; however, they focus on ingredients found a little closer to home than Charleston.
Charleston Restaurants Like HUSK
If you’ve already visited HUSK and want to check out something new (or, if the “Chef’s Table” hysteria hasn’t died down by the time you embark on your trip), check out one or more of these restaurants.
If you can’t snag a table at HUSK, you can always check out a few of the restaurants that Chef Brock worked at before he launched his passion project. Until late 2018, he was associated with both McCrady’s Tavern and McCrady’s — and won a James Beard Award while working at the latter.
Sean Brock was also behind this casual mexican eatery inspired by his love of tacos. He tested 40 types of corn for his hand-ground masa at this hip yet affordable eatery on East Bay Street. Don’t miss the benne seed salsa!
Babas on Cannon
Eater has declared Babas on Cannon to be the hottest restaurant in Charleston right now. You can decide for yourself (as long as you can snag a spot). Hopefully, if you can’t get into HUSK, you can still get into one of Charleston’s hottest spots.
Babas specializes in light lowcountry fare. You’ll find sandwiches and salads on the menu for lunch and light snacks, wine and cocktails on the happy hour menu.
If you’re looking for something equally legit as HUSK — but a little more low-key — check out Hannibal’s. You’ll find all your lowcountry favorites here, like shrimp and grits, lowcountry crab and fried pork chops. Just without all the fuss.
The Glass Onion often ranks right up there with HUSK. You’ll find okra beignets, fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese and pork with grits on the menu. You can even order a plate of french fries doused with béarnaise.
Another favorite Charleston restaurant is Hominy Grill. Like Hannibal’s, this one is a little more laid-back. Yet, it has a homey dining room that’ll make you think you’ve wandered into someone’s grandma’s house. They have all your favorite staples, but they’re especially known for their shrimp and grits.
Want to discover more southern cuisine? Check out our self-guided Charleston food tour, or take a guided tour with our partner, Charleston Culinary Tours. We offer discounts when you book one of our history tours and a food tour or carriage tour.