One of the things I love about travel is trying out new restaurants, and when I find a good one, I tend to stick with it.
Over the course of the past few years I've spent a lot of time in the southeast United States, so I thought it might be a good idea to highlight a few of my favorite places in a handful of cities I frequent. Of course, there are other eateries that I enjoy-- BBQ joints deserve their own separate post-- but these are the ones that really come to mind when I think of great food.
Here's my short list, in no particular order:
1. Hot and Hot Fish Club, Birmingham, Alabama
Of the restaurants mentioned in this post, Hot and Hot is the one I most recently found. I took my wife there on a date recently and it didn't disappoint.
Hot and Hot's gotten rave reviews from a variety of sources, and I first heard about this place when it was featured in a magazine I was reading (though I can't remember which magazine off the top of my head). It specializes in fresh, southern food, and it's frequently changing menu is loaded with interesting dishes. When my wife and I went, she got the Simple Grilled Tuna and I tried the Hot and Hot Southern Bouillabaisse. Both were excellent.
Chris and Idie Hastings run the Hot and Hot and Chef Chris came out from the kitchen to greet some guests near our table. Seemed like a nice guy. The restaurant was cozy and busy, just like you'd imagine a hip, southern restaurant being. My wife and I will be back sometime soon and consider the Hot and Hot a nice addition to our restaurant rotation. The Hastings can be followed on Twitter at @HotnHotFishClub .
2. McCrady's, Charleston, South Carolina
I must begin with a confession: I love Charleston. It's a super-cool town with great food, amazing history, and lots of Southern charm. Of all the excellent restaurants in Charleston, though, my absolute favorite is McCrady's.
McCrady's is named after Edward McCrady, the guy who in 1788 built the original structure that now houses the restaurant. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and Landmarks and is one of the draws of dining in this establishment.
The Executive Chef of McCrady's is Sean Brock, whose award-winning cuisine has been featured on numerous television shows and in many periodicals. Chef Sean maintains a blog that you can check out here , and his personal website is here . He can be followed on Twitter at @hseanbrock .
Whenever I am in Charleston, I try to hit this spot. It has incredible food in a very cool location. Be sure to check it out if you're ever in the area.
3. Halyards, Saint Simons Island, Georgia
My family and I call Saint Simons Island home when we're not traveling hither and yon for work or pleasure. It's a great community located just off the southern Georgia coast, and it's also home to some great places to eat.
Whenever my wife and I want to join friends for a great meal, we head over to one of our favorite restaurant haunts: Halyards. Everything I've had at this place has been excellent.
Halyards is run by Chef Dave Snyder, who also owns and operates the popular restaurant Tramici .
Since I am a creature of habit, I get the same thing every time I visit Halyards-- the Grilled New York Strip with sweet potato fries, sauteed Shiitakes, and soy lime butter. This is also a favorite meal of my buddy, PGA Tour pro Zach Johnson, who was so happy to be eating there one recent evening that he actually texted me a photo of his own New York strip. I've posted Zach's steak photo for all you golf fans out there.
4. Kinkead's, Washington, DC
Okay, so this really isn't the southeast per se, but Washington, DC, is really its own little territory so I'm still going to count it.
Every year we have the Expedition Medicine National Conference in DC and my wife and I always try to swing over for one meal at Kinkead's.
Described as an "American Brasserie," this restaurant has some of the best seafood I've ever eaten. Plus, since this is DC, it is an interesting place to do some people watching and check out the other tables filled with foreign diplomats and recognizable politicians.
Kinkead's was founded and is run by Chef Bob Kinkead and, as would be expected, has won many prestigious awards for culinary excellence.
So there you have it-- four of my favorite restaurants in the southeast United States. Stop by these fantastic locations sometime and tell them you read about them on the ExpedMed blog.