FOOD & WINE

Southern comfort: Lunch at Hominy Grill

September 20, 2015
One of the windows at Hominy Grill
One of the windows at Hominy Grill

One of the windows at Hominy Grill

Hominy Grill is such an institution in Charleston, South Carolina that there aren’t many times of day, regardless of the day of the week, when you won’t find a line of diners waiting outside the door in the courtyard for a table.

Part of the restaurant’s charm is its location on Rutledge Street, off the main commercial drag, in a largely residential area. The throwback decor of the multii-room house is casual and welcoming, too: half curtains on the windows, schoolhouse pendant lights and fans hanging from the old tin ceilings, white wainscoting on the walls with blackboard menus above announcing the daily specials.

One of the light, airy dining rooms in the house

One of the light, airy dining rooms in the house

The tables are covered with brown paper to absorb the water that spills out when you break open the boiled peanuts brought to the table, a Southern amuse bouche of sorts.

Warm, boiled peanuts

Warm, boiled peanuts

We arrived with friends just after noontime and were able to order a variety of low country classics from a robust menu divided into appetizers, snacks, sandwiches, salads and hot plates such as ribs and fried chicken.

The most impressive part of the menu is the exhaustive choice of sides including mac & cheese, squash casserole, cheese grits, lima beans, deep-fried cheese grits, collard greens, a vinegar-based cole slaw, pickled cucumbers and onion, jasmine rice, mashed sweet potatoes and more. Biscuits and corn bread come with many dishes and can also be ordered a la carte.

We started off our meal by sharing an appetizer plate of fried green tomatoes that seemed like they hadn’t quite ripened enough.

Fried green tomatoes

Fried green tomatoes

We ordered four plates: barbecued chicken on a Kaiser roll; sautéed chicken livers with country ham gravy; a vegetable plate with three sides and cornbread; and the signature dish, Charleston Nasty biscuit with fried chicken topped with cheddar cheese and sausage gravy.

Barbecued chicken sandwich with a mashed sweet potato side

Barbecued chicken sandwich with a mashed sweet potato side

Sauteed chicken livers with grits and cole slaw side

Sauteed chicken livers with grits and cole slaw side

Vegetable plate with collard greens, tomato pudding and grits

Vegetable plate with collard greens, tomato pudding and grits

Charleston Nasty biscuit with fried chicken topped with cheddar cheese and sausage gravy

Charleston Nasty biscuit with fried chicken topped with cheddar cheese and sausage gravy

The pièce de résistance of the meal was the delicious, homemade chocolate pudding topped with whipped cream, kindly served with four spoons. With a perfectly smooth consistency, this sweet indulgence will remind you of your childhood, if you ever enjoyed “cleaning” your mother’s pot of warm pudding right off the stove.

Chocolate pudding with whipped cream

Chocolate pudding with whipped cream

Hominy Grill Chef/Owner Robert Stehling was named best chef in the Southeastern United States in 2008 by the James Beard Foundation. Lunch at Hominy Grill offered us a fun opportunity to sample many Southern comfort foods at a reasonable price. While the dishes weren’t as tasty or inventive as some we had at other restaurants in the city, the service was friendly and efficient, and the setting relaxed and informal.

It could be deadly to eat this high-calorie, high-cholesterol food regularly but on a trip to Charleston, Hominy Grill is a nice place to experience authentic low-country home cooking with few embellishments.

Sign outside Hominy Grill

Sign outside Hominy Grill


IF YOU GO

Hominy Grill

207 Rutledge Street, Charleston, South Carolina

Open 7 days a week, check hours; reservations only available for dinner (free parking next to the building)

*See four of the most requested recipes from the Hominy Grill

On Eater: How to make the Charleston Nasty Biscuit 

 


Some prior posts about the cuisine of Charleston on More Time To Travel:

  • Reply
    Laura
    September 21, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Nice cameo, Irene 🙂 I would love to try the bbq chicken sandwich with the mashed sweet potatoes! I’m sure the spuds are loaded with butter and taste great! Which plate was yours, Irene?

    The cookbook looks interesting!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      September 21, 2015 at 10:38 am

      🙂

      I picked the vegetable plate because I wanted to try all the sides. My friend’s sweet potatoes were sinfully delicious~

  • Reply
    Sand In My Suitcase
    September 22, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    The grits part looks less than appealing to us :-). But the fried chicken looks good – though rich!

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