Anson - Charleston, SC
Do you ever have a favorite restaurant that you go back to again and again. Especially one in your vacation town. It's a place that you have created memories in, and look forward to a great meal year after year. That's how I felt about Anson, until now.
I've been going to Anson since forever it feels like... a good 10 plus years. I've spent New Year's at the bar, my mother's birthday upstairs, and a fun night with friends in one of the downstairs booths. Every single meal has always been amazing, so I am so sad to say that the meal I had recently was nothing short of lackluster.
We arrived for our 8:30 reservation at 8:35, only to be told our table wasn't ready yet. We just decided to eat at the bar. Let me tell you this isn't a great option. Our bartender tried to take care of us, but the other waitstaff didn't really seem to care that he had several customers at his station. In fact, they seemed a bit surly waiting for their drinks. Where was the liveliness I had known for so long at this same spot?
This night's meal included roasted oysters, which were very good. I followed it with a beet salad. It was pretty. It was good. But it was nothing remarkable. In fact, it was something I could easily have had in my own kitchen, up to and including the spooned out blob of goat cheese that tasted more store bought than fresh from the farm. Same for the shrimp and grits. This town is full of restaurants carrying the dish. Every chef has a spin on it. Apparently, at Anson, it's bland. My friend had the hormone-free, free-range chicken with fried macaroni and cheese and collards. She wasn't a fan of the collards, but she isn't Southern, so I tried them. Needed sugar or vinegar... either would have helped. The chicken was dry and flavorless. We determined as slightly chunky office workers that this is what fresh air and exercise can cause. A highlight... the macaroni and cheese. But then really, how can fried cheesy goodness be bad? I may be trying a gluten-free version of this at home.
Other than the chicken, honestly, it wasn't a bad meal. It just wasn't memorable. With my family, we rate every vacation by the food we eat and the memories made at that table. I'm sorry to say Anson won't be a part of that anymore.