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82 Queen

82 Queen St., Charleston, SC - (843) 723-7591
Posted By Michael Stern on 11/3/2008 8:11:00 AM
82 Queen is deluxe and expensive: soft white tablecloths and suave service; dinner easily can hit $50 per person, plus drinks. So it is not typical Roadfood. Maybe it isn't even Roadfood at all. But if you have money to spend and want to eat some of the most inspired versions of coastal Carolina's regional specialties, many of which are hard to find at any restaurant, it is a destination to treasure.

Number One on my list of must-eat meals is shrimp and creamy grits. There are good versions throughout the Lowcountry, but chef Brad Jones enhances the formula by making his with barbecued shrimp – muscular sweeties whose coat of fire is dramatic balance for the earthy grits below. Enriched with cheese, sprinkled with a bounty of crisp bacon pieces and chopped green onions, this is an unforgettably good meal. The same good grits serve as a pedestal for grilled mahi mahi, adorned with pumate butter and fried green tomatoes. If you need to wait at the bar for your table, the not-to-be missed munch plate is fried oysters, which are little lodes of marine meat encased in crisp, Tabasco-charged crust, served with crushed red pepper marmalade.

A whole section of the menu is devoted to "Lowcountry Specialties": crab cakes with hoppin john, frogmore stew (a hearty gallimaufry of shrimp, sausage, corn, okra, and potatoes), and good ol' buttermilk fried chicken served with skillet cornbread and a luxurious portion of macaroni and cheese. Sunday brunch features a spiced shrimp boil, crab benedict, and a BLT that promises a quarter pound of bacon.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Tabasco Fried Oysters
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Barbecued Shrimp & Grits
Peach Praline Cobbler
Jambalaya
Key Lime Pie
Crab Cake
She Crab Soup
Frogmore Stew
Biscuits
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My nomination for the best plate of shrimp and grits anywhere, at least since the Old Post Office on Edisto Island closed. The shrimp are firm and fresh, glowing with zesty sauce, and the grits are a fabulous conundrum of rugged grain and dairy plushness. The wicked duo is abetted by melted cheddar, apple-smoked bacon, and chopped green onions.
"My nomination for the best plate of shrimp and grits anywhere, at least since the Old Post Office on Edisto Island closed. The shrimp are firm and fresh, glowing with zesty sauce, and the grits are a fabulous conundrum of rugged grain and dairy plushness. The wicked duo is abetted by melted cheddar, apple-smoked bacon, and chopped green onions."
Michael Stern





'Me-oh-my-oh!' as Hank Williams once sang; this is some mighty good jambalaya, made with shrimp, crawfish, tasso ham and rice enriched by hunks of spicy sausage.
"'Me-oh-my-oh!' as Hank Williams once sang; this is some mighty good jambalaya, made with shrimp, crawfish, tasso ham and rice enriched by hunks of spicy sausage."
Michael Stern


The bar is lively and the indoor tables are cozy, but the romantic place to eat is outdoors on the patio, either in the open or in a charming gazebo.
"The bar is lively and the indoor tables are cozy, but the romantic place to eat is outdoors on the patio, either in the open or in a charming gazebo."
Michael Stern


To start the meal: fine, fragile biscuits
"To start the meal: fine, fragile biscuits"
Michael Stern


The single hors d'oeuvre crab cake is accompanied by charred tomato remoulade.
"The single hors d'oeuvre crab cake is accompanied by charred tomato remoulade."
Michael Stern


Sweet and velvet smooth, she crab soup is presented with a cruet of sherry to add at your pleasure.
"Sweet and velvet smooth, she crab soup is presented with a cruet of sherry to add at your pleasure."
Michael Stern


Most cobblers tend to be somewhat cloddish. Not this peach praline wonder, topped with cinnamon ice cream that melts fast atop the luxurious hot dessert.
"Most cobblers tend to be somewhat cloddish. Not this peach praline wonder, topped with cinnamon ice cream that melts fast atop the luxurious hot dessert."
Michael Stern


Here is a dish with which the kitchen takes no liberties: Key lime pie, made according to tradition with sweetened condensed milk and full-flavored little limes from the Conch Republic. The crust? Graham cracker, of course.
"Here is a dish with which the kitchen takes no liberties: Key lime pie, made according to tradition with sweetened condensed milk and full-flavored little limes from the Conch Republic. The crust? Graham cracker, of course."
Michael Stern


Even more mundane breakfast items are a notch above at 82 Queen.  The french toast is tall and eggy, the thick bacon is apple smoked and served with bourbon maple syrup.
"Even more mundane breakfast items are a notch above at 82 Queen. The french toast is tall and eggy, the thick bacon is apple smoked and served with bourbon maple syrup."
Cliff Strutz



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