The anticipation preceding the opening of Husk Restaurant in Greenville was no joke. Even I found myself lurking in the windows of the rumored location to catch a glimpse at what was to come. Why is Husk’s opening so monumental for Greenville? Because not only was it named “Best New Restaurant in America” by Bon Appetit in both 2011 and 2014, but James Beard award-winning Chef Sean Brock has a vision for southern cooking that goes far beyond fried chicken.
The only other time I’ve visited Husk Restaurant was in Charleston last December, and I vividly remember sitting at the bar and telling the bartender two simple phrases “tangy and refreshing” and then sipping on one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had. From what I’ve seen so far, Husk Greenville values the art of hand crafted cocktails. The “In the Pines” put me in the Christmas spirit with a base of Pine Rosin infused gin and a touch of bitters and lime juice.
Husk embodies an ingredient-driven cuisine, meaning that not only do they locally source all of their ingredients, but they are also the inspiration for the menu each and every day. Of course there are some staples such as Fried Chicken Skins and Appalachian Cornbread, but I wouldn’t count on ordering the same thing twice. I went with a group of friends and, lucky for me, they were up for sharing a few things…
Starting with the “First” portion of the menu, we had the highly recommended Broadbent Country Ham. Think “southern charcuterie board” consisting of thinly sliced ham, three Cherokee bean cakes, HUSK apple mustard and pickled veggies. I would suggest layering a bite of the warm, slightly crispy bean cake, then a generous spread of apple mustard, slice of ham, and topping it off with your pickled veggie of choice.
Another friend of mine insisted that we order the Crispy Pig Ear Wraps. I’m not going to lie…I was skeptical at first even as an adventurous eater. Now, looking back on my meal, these whimsical little wraps were my favorite dish. I’m still not entirely sure what exactly I was eating, except that the pig ears were much more delicate than I’d imagined, topped with a drizzle of pumpkin sweet and sour sauce, and wrapped in lettuce leaves.
Not pictured is the HUSK Pimiento Cheese served with Anson Mills Benne Crackers and Ember Grilled Pork Ribs with NC Apple BBQ and Pork Rinds. Southern cuisine and pimiento cheese go hand in hand, so it’s a no-brainer that Chef Sean Brock has mastered this southern delicacy. As for the pork ribs, you simply can’t go wrong with smoked ribs, a sweet BBQ sauce…and let’s not forget the addicting pork rinds.
For “Supper” we ordered the Bear Creek Beef and NC Striper. The beef was cooked flawlessly and served with the creamiest Desiree potatoes and root vegetables. Even my friend who claims to usually be able to prepare steak better than any restaurant was impressed at the level of simplicity, yet perfection this dish possessed. Served atop Bradford Candy Roaster Squash, brown butter and pecans, the unassuming NC Striper took on the intense sweetness that appears when squash is prepared to its full potential. Each component showcases the attention and care that Chef Sean Brock puts into each and every dish.
Shockingly, the Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Sundae was the most complex dish of the night. I questioned flavors with each and every bite and am still curious as to the exact ingredients in this dessert. At the bottom of the bowl is a layer of poppycock, which is popcorn and peanuts tossed in a sweet and crunchy glaze typically made with butter and brown sugar, then a scoop of Olive & Sinclair chocolate ice cream, and what I’m assuming is a sprinkle of crushed peanuts on top. We also indulged in a Brown Butter Baked Cameo Apple served with Hickory Ice Cream. Needless to say we ended our night with a bang.
Husk Restaurant is located at 722 S. Main Street. They are open for dinner every day at 5:00. Stay tuned as they release their lunch and brunch hours coming in January 2018!