Is there a stretch of asphalt in America that boasts as many great restaurants as Bay Street in Charleston? Walk into almost any doorway along this bustling thoroughfare and you will encounter a friendly welcome and excellent meal. But if you have to make a choice, you can’t go wrong under the distinctive awning of High Cotton.
My wife and I were in Charleston a few weeks ago and breezed into High Cotton without a reservation. Our timing was excellent, as we were quickly seated at a high-top in the high-ceilinged, airy dining room. We immediately felt like we had entered the home of a good friend, an atmosphere made even more relaxing by the sound of live music from the corner.
Being in Charleston and just a few blocks from the Atlantic, we opted to start with mussels, along with the house salad. Despite a pledge to avoid indulging in bread, we succumbed to the aroma of the fresh baked loaf hot out of the oven. At this point we could have gone straight to the dessert menu and been perfectly satisfied.
But, since we were in the heart of one of the country’s true culinary capitals, we soldiered on.
Envious of the pork chop I spied draped over a platter on a neighboring table, I ordered one for myself, with Brussel sprouts and roasted red potatoes crammed around the edges. Flavorful and tender, this chop rivals those served at Perry’s in Austin (almost!).
My wife chose a filet at her preferred “rare side” of medium rare, and it arrived as ordered. She proclaimed it to be one of the best she has experienced, although I could not attest to that as she kept her plate close and was apparently not in the mood to share so much as a morsel!
Regrettably, there was simply no room remaining for dessert. Not even the tempting lemon cake I spied at the next table. Perhaps on our next trip we will start with dessert.
And there will be a next trip to High Cotton. The Hall family, who own several of Charleston’s finer dining establishments, recently added High Cotton to their portfolio, and it fits in nicely with their well-known attention to detail, superb food, and friendly service. High Cotton is a bright star in the constellation of Charleston restaurants.
199 East Bay Street
Charleston, SC 29401