High Cotton: Maverick Southern Rabbit and More in Charleston

Restaurant Sign Charleston

The logo appears true to the High Cotton name, living in luxury.

I’d eaten at every other Charleston-area restaurant from Maverick Southern Kitchens, but for some reason, it took over eight years to have dinner at High Cotton, a downtown standby that delivered one of the only meals to elicit a rave review from my father in the past five years. The duck purloo that he loved so much wasn’t on the menu, but just about every other dish that Executive Chef Anthony Gray and his crew produced was excellent.

To drink, we ordered a caramel-hued Brooklyn Brown Ale and The Charleston Cocktail ($9), a mix of local Firefly sweet tea vodka, Madeira, lemonade and mint infused syrup. The drink was like a supercharged Arnold Palmer with some of the best qualities of a Mint Julep.

Southern Food Charleston

Pan Fried Rabbit Livers ($7) turned out to be a rich but terrific starter with crisp-crusted chunks of tender organ meat on white corn grits, dressed with smoked bacon, sweet pepper relish, roasted garlic and Marsala jus.

Salad Charleston

Bosc Pear, Beet and Lolo Rossa Salad ($8) was too salty, but was otherwise outstanding, with varied color, flavor and texture. The salad also included candied walnuts, Carolina feta and aged sherry vinaigrette.

Soup Charleston

Maine Lobster Bisque ($5 cup) was rich and not very creamy (a good thing), but only contained “buttery lobster meat” scraps.

Southern Food Charleston

Prosciutto Wrapped Rabbit Loin ($23) featured juicy white meat medallions, smoky Hoppin’ John risotto studded with braised greens and a healthy Carolina mustard BBQ sauce drizzle.

Fish Charleston

High Cotton also has a way with fish, serving beautifully seared fillets atop Carolina rice with green beans.

Vegetables Charleston

The meal’s only weakness: sides. Vidalia Onion Creamed Peas ($4) weren’t creamy, didn’t display the advertised smoked bacon and could have done without the shower of breadcrumbs. Roasted Cauliflower ($4) centered on an oversized, dry floret, and needed more pine nut pesto.

Dessert Charleston

An ultra creamy Milk Chocolate Pot de Crème ($6.50) was a satisfying special topped with chocolate whipped cream, a question-mark-shaped peanut butter tuile cookie and crunchy chocolate dots.

I purposely waited until the very end of 2008 to assemble by Best Of lists, knowing I’d find some powerhouse meals in South Carolina. High Cotton certainly qualified for inclusion.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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