On a quiet street off the highway in Graniteville, Bush’s flies the frying beacon high. Here you can savor firm, sweet shrimp (jumbos or Calabash minis), creamy slabs of flounder, lasciviously large oysters, tender scallops, soulful catfish, and a wide variety of other flatfish such as whiting, croaker, mullet, and bream, all encased in a thin, crisp, boldly seasoned coat.
If you are allergic to fried food, there is an all-you-can-eat crab legs deal in the $20 range – about twice the price of most meals. And if you are a fish frowner, try the pork chops. They are boneless and they are haloed by that fine, fragile crust that gives the seafood its flavor glow.
People who visit in a more adventurous mood can opt for such non-mainstream menu items as catfish stew or chitlins (by the pint). The menu even offers Buffalo wings and a half-pound hamburger described as “incredible.” I asked the waitress exactly how incredible the burger is and she replied, “Not.” Seafood is the name of the game.
Whatever is at the center of the plate, side dishes are essential. These range from uniquely South Carolinian hash and rice to all-American mac ‘n’ cheese that are gentle and creamy. I am enamored of the collard greens, which have all the tonic punch one expects, but with a completely unexpected sweetness that makes them into a whole other kind of very happy vegetable.
Dining is in a single, fairly small room where tables are set up in rows reminiscent of a commissary. This makes for a convivial meal. Although I was a stranger when I first visited, by the end of the meal the staff and other customers had me feeling like a regular … which I have since become.