When I grew up in the late 80’s and early 90’s, we hardly ever went out to eat. Part of it probably had to do with culture; in Sweden at that time fast food restaurants were still new and rare, so everybody would pack a picnic when going on road trips and excursions. Going out to restaurants was something you saved for special occasions, like someone’s birthday. In my family, part of it was money too. We weren’t poor, but we never had enough to splurge on random dinners on the town or exotic vacations abroad. And if for some reason we did have a little to spare, it was more reasonable to save it for a rainy day. I think this might be why I like fine dining so much now, that it still feels kind of new and that I still get that special occasion-feeling whenever I go out to eat.
Last year when I was in Charleston I got the opportunity to eat at Husk. The restaurant, which makes classical Southern food with a twist, had been featured on a Swedish television show where a well-known chef goes around the world and works at different fine dining restaurants. The guy running Husk seemed to be quite the original (read: scary and angry) but the food looked absolutely amazing. I was dying to go there.
The Charleston-trip was sort of a spur of the moment, so I hadn’t made reservations in advance. I figured getting a table on such short notice would be tricky, but we managed to get a table for Monday lunch. I was extremely excited as we waited on the porch to get in. This is the first reason I loved Husk, by the way: the actual building. It’s right in downtown Charleston, one of those old, white, majestic Southern houses with a big front porch with swings. You just want to move in and live your life right there, surrounded by grits and rocking chairs.
The decoration was kind of understated, but in a good way if you know what I mean. Nice but not fancy. Our waiter was extremely friendly and professional at the same time, he could have sold me pigs faeces and I still would have tipped him because you could feel this was the kind of place where every little thing and guest mattered. We started of with glaced pork belly wrapped in lettuce, along with the best cornbread I’ve ever had. Then I had ribs with some kind of dirty and delicious rice with a very interesting seasoning. It was fantastic, but I almost regretted my choice when I saw the burger. After this, I was on the verge of severe food coma, but since I was there and all, I had a fantastic, rich chocolate cake for dessert. It was like eating one gigantic, gooey truffle that kept melting in my mouth forever.
Although this was what I would call a pretty big lunch, I don’t think it was that expensive (maybe also because I didn’t pick up the bill). If you look at the whole thing, you would expect it to be a lot pricier, but I still think it was within reason. Husk is just another great example of Southern hospitality. So as long as you get in, you can just as well go all in.