When a chef’s last name is Bacon, you can’t help but love his food. Especially when it’s as locally influenced and flavorful as it is at Charleston’s Macintosh. Here, executive chef Jacob Huder and chef-partner Jeremiah Bacon pay close attention to their ingredients, sourcing them from nearby whenever possible.
The menu changes daily, but we have come for Bacon happy hour, merrily named after the acclaimed chef. The bar is packed with other like-minded diners, so the hostess graciously flips some chairs from a nearby table and adds them to the end of the bar. It’s the perfect spot to fuel up and watch the crowd.
The happy hour’s current theme is street food, but it changes with the seasons. We start with an absurdly oversized dish of tater tots piled with confit pork, pickled jalapeños, and a lime crema. The pork is sweet and tender, and while I at first think the tot-to-pork ratio is awry, I soon discover there’s another layer of pork below the top one.
A small slider — amazingly, medium rare — comes surrounded by thin, crisp French fries. The bun is salted just-so, and as soft as an Hawaiian roll. The whole thing is so good that we are tempted to order a full-size burger, but we resist.
It is necessary to save appetite for bone marrow bread pudding. This is not on the happy hour menu, but rather a side on the regular menu, and fair game to order pretty much any time. It’s a beautiful slab of pudding: almost sponge-like, its richness buttery and flavorful. It’s been known to grace both the brunch and dessert menus, and I can see why.
Finally, the PBLT, a double-wide slider with tomato, lettuce, and a slab of pork belly. That sweet bun is back, and the pork belly is more lean than I expect, which gives it a chewier consistency.
Named after the street that used to run right where the restaurant sits, The Macintosh is an excruciatingly modern haunt. But it is loyal to local ingredients and traditions, putting a respectful spin on classics.