82 Queen is deluxe and expensive: soft white tablecloths and suave service; dinner for two easily will top $100. 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 this one is a cut above because it uses 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.