Having not dined at Anson in years, we made our first visit of sorts recently and did not find it as our memories expected.
Situated right off of Market Street, its right in the thick of Charleston as tourists know it. You’re sure to get a few wafts of that awesome smell of horse from the stables next door.
Anson has a sort of interesting vibe going on: while they offer a very traditional Southern menu, the white table clothes and price point of all entrees and wine leave you expecting a much more upscale culinary experience.
From your first glance at the apps, you’ll see what I mean about the very traditional Southern menu: I mean it’s pan fried everything - fried okra, cracklin’ calamari (I won’t be fooled, Anson), fried oysters, fried crab cakes, fried green tomatoes and pan-fried pork belly. And don’t think they stop there: all of those fried dishes are either dunked, drizzled or doused in oil, apple butter, aioli or jelly. It is an almost identical menu to 82 Queen but 82 Queen has a much more casual, laid back Charleston atmosphere.
That said, the two cornmeal-crusted, deep-fried Southern apps we tried were delicious. The FRIED GREEN TOMATOES were spot on. Topped with goat cheese, a roasted red pepper and corn mixture and then drizzled with a chipotle aioli it was a very palate-pleasing way to start the meal. The addition of goat cheese was an awesome touch.
The CORNMEAL FRIED OYSTERS ($12) came highly recommended by the waiter and we now know why. The five oysters were quite large, especially when coated in all of that corn meal, and made for a rather filling dish. They had all of the ingredients of a delicious food: sweet glaze from the green tomato chow chow, a rich and fatty flavor from the chipotle aioli combined with that fresh, crispy, salty and rich flavor of the oyster.
McCown started with the GOLDEN BEETS salad ($9) with feta cheese, pecans, radish, arugula and banyuls vinegar. Very good flavor and worth getting again.
I went with the CLASSIC CAESAR salad ($9) to avoid the WEDGE OF ICEBERG SALAD– turns out I messed up because I still got one of those good ole’ salads where 60% of it is stalks with the rest being actual edible leaves. I would skip this one in the future.
In my view, the only entree they have on the menu is the WHOLE CRISPY FLOUNDER ($28). Served bone-in, it’s simple and delicious. They essentially take a whole flounder, score it on both sides, lightly fry it and serve it accompanied with an apricot jelly sauce. It is always a rather large portion and ends up being plenty to share as long as you have a few starters. They used to have this at the Charleston Garibaldi before it closed and it was a dish worth returning for time and time again.
We of course washed it all down with a few desserts that were again classic but very good.