Poogan’s Porch (Charleston, SC)
On our one and only night in Charleston, we decided to check for a pet-friendly dinner spot so that poor Knox wasn’t left alone in the hotel room or the truck. We looked up Charleston on BringFido.com (a great directory of pet-friendly restaurants, attractions and lodging around the world) and happened upon Poogan’s Porch, a farm-to-table restaurant specializing in Lowcountry cuisine.
According to our dinner companions for the evening, Scott’s cousin Nathan and his wife Sara, Poogan’s Porch is an institution in Charleston, better known for its food and its ghost story than its namesake and willingness to host dogs in its porch and outdoor seating areas. Apparently “Poogan” was actually a dog that claimed the porch as his own when the restaurant was established in 1976 and would greet restaurant patrons. A memorial to little Poogan is located right inside the gate of the restaurant property.
But enough about the dog and the history. Let’s talk about the food!
We gave a short description of She-Crab soup in our post about Red’s Icehouse. The Lowcountry soup served at Poogan’s was definitely a heartier, meatier version though. Well flavored with a hint of sherry and thickened with lots of crab meat, this soup was incredible.
Pork 3 Ways
The Pork 3 Ways was true to its name and provided 3 different pork dishes – pork belly with smoked gouda, country ham mac & cheese, and pulled pork BBQ. The pork belly was incredibly tender and tasty although any hint of the smoked gouda was lost on both of us. The mac & cheese was creamy with enough salty, crispy bits of country ham for amazing flavor. Although perfectly tender, the pulled pork BBQ was drenched in way too much sauce.
The brisket was also wonderfully fork-tender but again was lathered with too much sauce. This, like the pulled pork BBQ, would probably be better if the sauce were dialed back at least 50% or simply served on the side. Also, neither of us could taste any of the bourbon used to braise the meat.
Collard greens are a staple of Southern cuisine, and the folks at Poogan’s definitely know how to cook greens. These were well-flavored and cooked to the point they practically melt in your mouth.
The broccolini was tender yet still slightly crisp and had a slight garlic flavor. There isn’t too much more to say about it except that it disappeared quickly from our plate!
Mashed Potato Roll
We really aren’t sure how to properly describe this second side dish to the brisket. It appears that mashed potatoes were mixed with some cheese, formed into rolls and then breaded and fried. This dish was good though bland – perhaps more cheese or spices would help pump up the flavor.
OMG, the wonderful yeast rolls that were served alongside our appetizers were incredible. Crisp crust with a soft interior and served with a dish of butter that satisfied even Scott’s love of that condiment (i.e. bread is just a vehicle for butter).
The porch tables were actually handled by 2 servers. Both were friendly and knowledgeable about the food, the drinks and the history of the restaurant. They made sure that Knox had a full bowl of water, too. And when asked, one of them regaled us with the tale of the ghost story, which she thinks is false, and the ghost story that she thinks is actually true.
Not including our drinks and the portion of the tip related thereto, we spent $68. The portions were large, and the quality of the ingredients used to prepare our meals was evident. For 2 people trying to travel cheaply, this was definitely a splurge meal and way pricier than what we want to spend, but we knew going in that a farm-to-table restaurant would mean we had to bite the bullet on price for incredible quality.
The Doggy Bag, By Knox
Yet again, Mommy and Scott picked a place that really gets the importance of dogs in this society…though perhaps not quite as well as Red’s Icehouse. I again received an ice cold bowl of water, but no doggie biscuit. And other than a few bites of Mom’s bread, I didn’t actually get to eat anything until we got back to the hotel room, but I blame that on Scott & Mom not wanting to let on how spoiled I really am. When I did get some of the pork, brisket and mac & cheese, it sure didn’t last long! Yummy!
I do want to point out that perhaps the proprietors of Poogan’s should consider some way of enclosing the porch. According to Nathan, a “cold front” moved through while we were at dinner. All I know is that there was wind, there was rain, and there was a wet dog! I tried to get as far under the table as possible to avoid the rain but with all the humans at the table, their legs didn’t leave much room for me. Needless to say there was a very damp dog returning to the hotel room that night! I give the food a 5, but the rain
After such abuse by the weather gods, I did let Sara pet me without snarling. See what a good dog I am?