Growing up in New Orleans nurtured my taste buds. We have jazz, Mardi Gras and a culturally diverse history. But none of these would be what they are without food. Food permeates the streets of New Orleans and shaped the way I see the world.
As you can imagine, this set the bar pretty high when it came to food in other cities. Different places I went to had certain culinary specialties, but nothing compared to food from “home”. Then I came to Charleston. As I walked down the cobblestone streets lined with palm trees, it felt reminiscent of New Orleans. I knew both cities exuded a similar charm, but I wanted to come to know the character of Charleston. Naturally, I did so through food. I slowly made my way to different restaurants in the city to find out what they had to offer on a college student’s budget. Bite by bite, I’ve been tasting the soul of this city and writing all about it in my CisternYard blog, The Frugal Foodie.
After a few hits and misses, I found the restaurant Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar. In my opinion, Amen Street is the best restaurant I’ve been to thus far in Charleston. Its cuisine is excellent and the ambience it offers is unique. The restaurant is lined with wood paneling, and features surprisingly romantic oyster chandeliers. Live jazz music plays as you shoot back oysters and sip on your drink at dinner. Amen Street reminds me of my favorite dimly-lit restaurants in New Orleans – Low Country Style.
Amen Street’s shrimp and grits with homemade Tasso ham and roasted tomatoes is their true standout. If you’re on a budget, the mussels appetizer is enough for an entrée and is soaked in the same savory tomatoes. Every dish I’ve tried at Amen Street has been delicious, from their low country classics to the baked brie pastry appetizer and their Tuna Carpaccio. Even the sides stand alone as great food. The creamed corn side drenched in butter and the hush puppies dipped in honey make me feel like the Southern girl I never was.
Finding Amen Street was like finding an old friend. I’ve only been going for a couple years but I feel truly at home there with friends and family. And now, I crave Amen Street’s shrimp and grits almost as much as my dad’s Creole gumbo.
*The views in this article represent the opinion of the author, and not those of CisternYard News.