The tasting menu experience at McCrady’s in Charleston, S.C., is the realization of chef Sean Brock’s decades-long desire to orchestrate the best dining experience imaginable. Through multiple courses, Brock surprises, challenges, and captivates guests with bold combinations, layers of complex flavors, and an almost fanatical attention to detail. “I’m obsessed with every minute that the guest has in this room,” Brock says. As the visionary behind several critically acclaimed restaurants including Husk, McCrady’s Tavern, and Minero, Brock is redefining regional cooking throughout the Southeast. But it is it at the 22-seat restaurant-within-a-restaurant in McCrady’s where Brock really lets his passion and creativity run wild. “This is playtime for me,” he says. “Just selfish playtime.”
Brock immerses the diner right away, with a trio of hors d’oeuvres. “We’re going to start the meal with three bites that will hit you with a pop, pop, pop.”
The highly trained and tight-knit staff, many of whom have worked with Brock for several years, move with choreographed precision throughout the evening. “It’s like a play. Everything is planned to the minute.”
Brock plays with depths of complexity in the savory broth surrounding a seared scallop.
With hushed voices, Brock and his staff plate with tweezers, ensuring the open kitchen remains quiet and serene. “Our responsibility in this room is to create an anti-stress environment.”
A Taste of History
The menu celebrates and elevates heritage staples like Carolina Gold, the grandfather of long-grain rice in the South.
“I purposely flavor the next dish to work with the flavor that is still in your mouth from the previous one to create specific emotions and feelings,” Brock says.
Brock thrives on creating a bond with the guests. “We are hard-wired for connection. That’s what we crave as humans and food does that for us. This is really about nurturing souls.”