Noisy Oyster provides the pelican pouches of area citizens with fresh, locally-caught fruits-of-the-sea. Inspect the extensive dinner menu before commencing incisor insertion into an appetizer such as the twistedly-tasty shrimp corn dogs—a skewer pierced with five battered jumbo shrimp, deep-fried to crispy resistance, and served with a side of sweet and spicy Chinese mustard sauce ($8.99). The baked seafood au gratin layers fresh shrimp, meaty scallops, and fresh fish medallions within the mortar of a decadent blue crab stuffing, Jack and cheddar cheeses, and a Parmesan cream sauce ($16.99), and the low-country crab cakes feature loads of crab meat with a blue crab hollandaise ($16.49) on top. Those abstaining from oceanic eating can direct their eyes toward the super cheeseburger ($6.49, add bacon for $0.79), or the spicy barbecue chicken pizza ($11.99), while those abstaining from eating in general can explore the drink menu. Quench thirst with house specialty jungle juice ($6.99) or the noisy oystertini, a spicy mixture made of Tabasco, horseradish, and vodka ($6.50).
The Crab Shack takes local focus to a whole new briny depth by plucking all their seafood from nearby waters. The menu of seafarer's feasts includes the parmesan-coated smoked crabeque sandwich ($11.99), tasso-gravy-covered lowcountry shrimp and grits ($15.99), and the frogmore bucket, which is stocked with two-dozen large shrimp, steamed with a special butter sauce ($23.99). Patrons can also order the she-crab soup, a trademark dish served with a heaping dose of feel-good, as all profits go to the Hollings Cancer Center.
Given its signature touches, Sapphires Sports Bar & Grill is more of a biography than a bar. Green Bay Packers memorabilia speaks to owner Mike's affection for the team, as do the wings specials and festive gatherings on game days. Co-owner Charlene has likewise left her mark—each table is scattered with a variety of wine labels, the results of her years spent scouting for fine food and drink as a former Delta flight attendant. By putting their personal touches into the decor, the owners hope to invite guests into a memorable setting, and by employing several of their relatives, they strive to foster a warm, welcoming atmosphere around the venue's copper bar.
Beyond being a catalog of hobbies and hospitable staff members, Sapphires is also an homage to accessible gourmet. Its menu—inspired by a mix of timeless grill food and Charlene's gourmet tastes—surprises seasoned pub-goers with items such as the smoked-salmon pizza, a disk of rosemary focaccia adorned in capers, red onions, and bites of fresh fish. Even the list of 19 wing sauces denotes sophisticated cooking, dressing chicken in sweet-and-spicy plum, garlic thai, and bourbon-style marinades, instead of traditional flavors such as "smoke" and "yummy." Guests can compose signature burgers with made-from-scratch patties, or peruse the night's specials for examples of international recipes.
Situated in the historic downtown Market area, A. W. Shucks wrestles fresh fish from the clutches of pouched bills and musical mermaids daily and offers them a far more flavorful fate. The restaurant's dinner menu features a wide range of Lowcountry fish favorites and more crustaceans than you can waggle an ommatophore at. Start by savoring a cup of Charleston she-crab soup, a blend of blue crabmeat, fresh roe, and a hint of dry sherry($4.29), before diving into a martini glass of raw shrimp cocktail ($7.59) or a flounder fillet, breaded and fried until golden and fried ($17.99). Thrill-seeking crowds can crowd around A. W. Shucks "legendary" casserole as it tells jaw-dropping-and-closing stories of sautéed baby shrimp and scallops getting baked au gratin in a pool of lobster cheese sauce with Carolina deviled crab ($16.99).
Traditional Fried Seafood | Lowcountry Staples | National-Landmark Building | Vintage 1940s Vibe |
Who's in the Kitchen? Chef Frank McMahon has had a storied career so far. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America and completing an externship in Germany, the Ireland native quickly scored a gig working under Eric Ripert, the world-renowned chef at Le Bernardin in New York City. He tapped into this experience while cooking at some of Charleston's finer restaurants, including McCrady's and Elliott's on the Square, before opening up Hank's.
While You're Waiting
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Peruse the eclectic collection of women's clothing, accessories, beauty products, and gifts at Worthwhile (268 King Street).
After: Nurse a pre-Prohibition-style cocktail at The Gin Joint (182 East Bay Street), which is home to one of the best mint juleps in America according to Imbibe magazine.
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Get your seafood fix at Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar (205 East Bay Street), which slings up a menu of fresh, seasonal fish and Southern favorites.
There are countless fish in the sea, but only a handful of restaurants that know exactly how to prepare them. Which is why Justin and Jamie Parfrey leapt at the chance to become the new owners of Starfish Grille in May 2012. To make the causal eatery feel like their own, they retooled the lunch and dinner menus to showcase such coastal dishes as fried oysters, maryland-crab cakes, and platters of fresh seafood. The menu also wanders over dry land to serve up ground-chuck burgers, barbecue chicken, and sirloin steaks. Diners sit amongst the eatery's beach-themed decor, which includes sea-foam-green booths, wooden waves that divide the dining room, and servers who announce their presence with a "surf's up."