Published on August 26th, 2012 | by Kevin Barron2
Review: Hominy Grill
Why You Should Go
As recent transplants to Charleston, my husband Clay and I have explored and enjoyed many new-to-us restaurants and cuisines. In the Lowcountry, restaurants must truly stand out to be successful.
With so many dining options, Clay and I could eat at a different restaurant every night and still couldn’t make it to every restaurant we want to try (we’d also break our budget!).
Charleston foodies can be selective, and we’ve joked about how long it will take us to return to restaurants we’ve tried, since we have a long list of places to try. Muddling through the one-way streets of downtown Charleston on our way home, we immediately agreed that Hominy Grill made our coveted list of restaurants that stand out.
Recently, the Foodies (Kevin and Melissa Barron, along with their daughter), contributor Ann Klein and husband Jerry, and our new friends Les and Nicole Echols visited Charleston for a Charleston Culinary Tour. Sunday Brunch is almost a way of life here in Charleston, and since they were staying for the weekend, I knew they’d want to experience this aspect of Charleston culture and cuisine.
For brunch, we settled on Hominy Grill. Hominy Grill was featured on the Food Network special America’s 10 Best Regional Classics, hosted by Alton Brown. In fact, Alton Brown even “tweeted” Pee Dee Foodie to recommend the restaurant! Rachel Ray’s $40 a Day series and the Food Network magazine also highlighted Hominy Grill, and we hoped to add yet another foodie “thumbs up”.
Clay and I arrived at about 9:45 and immediately requested a table and waited on the rest of our party. The lines outside the door were a hint at the restaurant’s popularity, but fortunately water was provided for us, and we didn’t have to wait too long in the August humidity. Hominy’s inside décor reminded me of a Southern home, much like the comforts of eating at grandma’s house or having a family Sunday dinner. Each table had homemade jam for the biscuits or toast as well as other “down home” touches such as pepper grinders- much more unique than packets of jelly or simple salt and pepper shakers.
Even though the restaurant was busy, we immediately received water when our drink orders were taken. Hominy Grill also offers several brunch specials, including brunch libations such as watermelon mojitos and Bloody Marys. I opted to stick with water, and after deciding between three entrees, I finally settled on the corn, avocado, and cherry tomato omelet, which came with home fries and wheat toast or a biscuit.
Around the table, I listened in as my fellow foodie friends placed their orders. One of the best things about eating out with foodie friends is seeing and sampling what others order, and we’re definitely not shy about this! Our selections represented the wide menu, including the “Big Nasty” biscuit with fried chicken breast, cheddar, and sausage gravy, several omelets, shrimp and grits, lamb sausage links, She crab soup, smothered eggs, and the classic two-egg country breakfast.
Even with a large party, our orders were hot, prepared correctly, and arrived quickly- so we immediately started chowing down. My omelet was described as “smoked sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, ripe avocado, and poblano sour cream”. Not usually a sour cream fan, I opted for it on the side but quickly became a convert once I tasted it. The sour cream wasn’t sour at all, but tasted like a simple, creamy, avocado sauce, so I added a bit to my omelet.
The ingredients in my omelet blended well together. The cherry tomatoes added a sweet taste, the avocado provided healthy fats, and the corn added a crunchy element. The home fries were also delicious, along with my wheat toast, which I enjoyed with the homemade jelly. I also sampled the shrimp and grits as well as a biscuit, which were both tasty. My husband tried the lamb sausage links and remarked that they tasted more like Greek souvlaki than a breakfast sausage, and he enjoyed them.
To finish off our brunch, we ordered the chocolate pudding. On The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Alton Brown mentioned this was his favorite chocolate dessert, and it didn’t disappoint us either. Comfortably full, we requested extra spoons and passed the chocolate pudding around the table to top off the brunch. The pudding was fudge like, made with semi-sweet chocolate and topped with whipped cream. It was very chocolately and rich, with a hint of sweetness from the whipped cream rather than the pudding itself. It was delicious, and while we were happy with our dessert choice, we were glad to share it since it was so rich and filling. If you visit, this is a great dessert even for a large group or family to share.
All of us enjoyed our dining experience at Hominy Grill and agreed that we wanted to return. The menu was small enough to ensure everything was cooked with good quality, yet large enough to prompt return visits- after all, I debated a long time over three options!
Our brunch at Hominy Grill was one of the highlights of the weekend, even with the culinary tour and visiting several other local restaurants that weekend. The company and cuisine were great, and I was glad to see some familiar Florence faces.
High-rise biscuit with sausage gravy
Homemade banana or ginger pumpkin bread
Big Nasty biscuit with fried chicken breast, cheddar cheese, and sausage gravy
Shrimp and Grits (shrimp sautéed with scallions, mushrooms, and bacon over cheese grits)
Huevos rancheros (poached eggs served with black beans, rice, tortillas, and salsa)
Fried green tomatoes with ranch dressing
Heirloom cornmeal pancakes
Smothered eggs (grilled ham, two poached eggs on a split biscuit smothered in mushroom gravy)
Toasted pecan pancakes with peach syrup
Grilled eggplant and herbed goat cheese sandwich with roasted red peppers and grilled red onion
Curried chicken salad with apples and toasted almonds on a Kaiser roll
Grilled chicken cobb salad with avocado, bacon, blue cheese, chopped egg, tomato, red wine vinaigrette over romaine
Southern fried chicken breast with country ham gravy
Pecan crusted porterhouse pork chop with spiced peach sauce
Sesame-crusted farm-raised catfish, sautéed okra, deep fried cheese grits, & geechee peanut sauce
Low country purloo (classic rice casserole with sausage, ham, boiled shrimp, and fried chicken wings)
Opportunities for Improvement
Since Hominy Grill was featured on the Food Network not once but twice, we were confident going in that we’d receive great food and service. None of us could find much to improve, except for wishing the restaurant was closer to the Pee Dee!
Another person in our party had the same omelet I ordered, and his omelet contained more tomatoes, while mine had more avocado (I’m a self-proclaimed tomato fan). We both enjoyed our omelets and ate every crumb, and probably wouldn’t have known had we not been sitting across from each other- maybe next time I’ll request extra tomatoes on mine. Both of us agreed we’d recommend the omelet, as well as everything else we sampled around the table.
Editor’s Note: This review is part of our “Postcards” series. Reviews and comments on restaurants that we visit when traveling outside the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina.