Is Charleston, SC's Husk the Best New Restaurant in the U.S.? Bon Appetit Says So.

Husk's Southern Fried Chicken Skins

When Andrew Knowlton published his list of the 10 best new restaurants in the U.S. last month in Bon Appétit, it was met mainly with incredulity on the part of the dining public.

Husk occupies a handsome two-story house in the historic district of Charleston. Walk-in tables are on the upstairs balcony.

The list has a certain off-the-wall quality about it, favoring adventuresome places likely to have a lasting influence on the restaurant industry. But since the places were so new, I had no way to judge it, other than believing that M. Wells belonged on the list. How to test it? I decided to go right to the top and check out the number-one restaurant on the list, Charleston, South Carolina's Husk.

It helped that I was going to the Association of Food Journalists' annual convention there already. But the minute the tiny jet's wheels hit the tarmac, I was plotting how to get in. A call placed a few days earlier demonstrated that no reservations were to be had on the days I was available. Who could be surprised, given Husk's number-one ranking in Bon Appétit?

But I did learn that a handful of outdoor walk-in tables were available every day, assigned within the first half-hour to those that were in line when the place opened at 5:30 p.m. I went right from the airport to the restaurant, and was first in line. The restaurant occupies a white, two-story frame house that might almost be accounted a mansion. The place has an easy Southern air about it, even with employees dressed in tan slacks and blue shirts scurrying around. Seating was nicely spaced in a series of rooms on both floors.

The soft homemade rolls come topped with benne seeds.

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