Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bowens Island, A True Seafood Dive!

A lesson in restaurant selection while travelling, trust the locals! Rachel Ray lives by that on her $40 A Day program and this is a perfect example. My friend who lives in Charleston had previously taken Wes and I to The Wreck the last time we visited. It was delicious but definitely a hole-in-the-wall kind of place. Since we were staying on Folly this time, she suggested yet another dive. She warned me that it was sketchy but as is often the case, those are the best ones! We did a drive by one day as we were coming back onto the island (because the restaurant is technically on James Island, which you have to pass through to get to Folly), and she was right it was shabby. We weren't even really sure it was a restaurant we were looking at. It was at the end of a country road and there was no restaurant structure in the normal sense. There was a sign that said, "Order Here", an eating area that looked like a shelter from a public park, and another partially burned structure from a previous fire. Yes, the restaurant previously caught fire and instead of tearing down and starting anew, they just left that one as is and built beside it. That just adds to the "dive" charm!

We decided to go back for dinner one night. They are only open Tuesday-Saturday from 5-10. So Wes and I gave all the disclaimers we could and off we went. Yes, I think everyone was a little apprehensive but the food spoke for itself. The menu was a single piece of paper in a plastic sleeve. The choices were shrimp, fish, oysters, chicken fingers (thank goodness because of the kids), and combinations of the above. My friend had told me the oysters were really good but I'm not a fan. Wes had gotten online and read reviews and heard that the shrimp were really good. So I opted for the shrimp and fish, thinking the fish might be caught fresh. All the entrees were served with fries, coleslaw, and hushpuppies. The coleslaw was unique, it was chopped cabbage that had been dressed with pickle juice! The hushpuppies were tasty and again were slightly sweet. The food was overflowing off the paper plate. The fish was the entire length of the plate and partially hanging over the plate. I must have gotten about a dozen shrimp as well. The batter was very light and everything was piping hot. As we were finishing up, the tables started filling up - everything from business men, to college kids, to families. The locals clearly know where to go for good eats.

An interesting side note, this place won a prestigious James Beard Foundation Award in 2006 for being one of eight "American Classic Restaurants" that "boasts timeless appeal and quality food that reflects the history and character of its community." Wow, James Beard? Enough said.

Rating - 4.5*

1 comment:

  1. Jason's brother lives on James Island and said that used to eat there all the time until it burned down but that is just "hasn't been the same" since the fire! Of course Jason replied - "Less flammable?" Nice.