This past weekend we went to the Charleston Food and Wine Festival in South Carolina. I hadn’t been since I was in college (I attended CofC as they call) and it really exceeded my expectations. Starting on Wednesday, there were a whole host of events taking place throughout the entire weekend. Ranging from brunches (even a drag brunch!) to wine tastings, to exclusive bourbon tastings to multiple course dinners, there was something for everyone. The main event however, was the culinary village. This is where all of the biggest names in the biz set up shop either for a food tasting, beer tasting, any hard alcohol you could dream of tasting, and wine tasting! I can’t wait to post about all of it throughout the week.
However, this particular post is about Leon’s Oyster Shop. After a long weekend of partying with food and wine, we decided we needed to sit down and have a serious meal. I had heard RAVE reviews about Leon’s not just from Charleston locals, but in newspapers, magazines and online publications. I mean, Bon Appetit even wrote about this place! I knew it was going to be good…but little did I really know until I got there.
We were in need of a walk, so we actually decided to walk from our B&B downtown all the way up to Leon’s, which I think was close to a three mile walk. It. Felt. Great. When we finally reached our destination, it was the cutest place you had ever seen. The painting on the outside of building was so unique, plants everywhere, the most colorful outdoor seating area, it was just…special. Then we walked in. It was the same type of feeling complete with twinkle lights hung around the wood beams lining the ceiling.
We ended up seating at the chefs table. Would highly recommend because we were able to see everything that was coming out of the kitchen to get some ideas. Truthfully, we based all of our decisions on what we saw! Oh and we asked our super sweet waitress. I’m pretty sure she didn’t stop smiling the entire time. Even when she was talking….it was fascinating.
So we started off with these charred oysters, hushpuppies and a salad. A ton of food I know, but we couldn’t resist! The charred oysters had some lemon, parmesan, parsley and buuuuuuuttttttter. I extended butter because man, that butter. I’m like dreaming about it. But truly, all of it together was so rich, and the oyster was so fresh, it’s still mouthwatering just thinking about it. I can’t recommend it enough. The hushpuppies had some spice to them, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and came with this UNREAL (Sean wanted to take a tub home with us unreal) honey butter. Then the salad. Oh my word, that Iceberg Stack. I’ve never had one like it. The chop of the lettuce was on point, not too thick of a piece of romaine, not to skinny, just right, and round! The breadcrumbs on top were toasted to perfection, but the star of the show was the dressing. It was fresh dill, buttermilk, lemon and I think small pieces of heaven. It was bright, citrusy and light, but felt decadent at the same time. Just wonderful.
As if that wasn’t enough food, we then moved on to a fried chicken sandwich and a fried oyster sandwich. Both of which I can’t say enough good things about. The fried chicken was spicy, great mayoey sauce on there, and such a soft bun. The oyster sandwich was SO light. As if it was just a fried oyster sandwich that was floating on a cloud. The sauce was light, the oysters were lightly fried, even the bun somehow was melting in my mouth. YUM! I truly don’t think I could’ve eaten more. I would have too because they even had milkshakes on the menu….um, yes please!
All in all, the entire experience was so lovely. Between the ambiance, the staff, the incredible food and even the walk before and afterwards, it was no wonder that this place had quickly become a Charleston institution.
Stay tuned for more weekend fun in Charleston! Looking to go there soon? Let me know! Would love to hear what cool places you’ve heard of!