Monday, June 4, 2007

Morgan Creek Grill

View of Isle of Palms Marina
Originally uploaded by weezienyc.

As I mentioned last week, I’m going to spend the next couple of days reviewing the highlights of my tasting trip to Charleston. Since we visited so many places, I’m going to limit my posts to the places we enjoyed most and hopefully, will be featured in the book.

One of the first places we visited was Morgan Creek Grill at the Isle of Palms marina, just outside Mt. Pleasant. This spot, located a stone’s throw away from Wild Dunes resort is frequented by both locals and tourists coming by car, boat, and foot to enjoy not only some of the best in Low-country cuisine, but a gorgeous view of the Intracoastal waterway.

We planned our visit well, arriving mid-afternoon on Sunday just in time to catch the Sunday brunch, which featured live music on the upper deck and my personal favorite, a Bloody Mary bar. While the bar offered a fantastic array of mixers, add-ins, and hot sauces and the music was the perfect addition to a breezy sunny day, both paled in comparison to the dining experience.

We started off with the Charleston she-crab soup and the House-made chilled crab dip, followed by, of course, Morgan Creek Grill’s take on Shrimp and Grits. My sister has never met a she-crab soup she didn’t like, so it goes without saying that she enjoyed it. I wasn’t up for eating warm soup in the warm sun, so I stuck to the crab dip which I must say was amazing. It was creamy and thick, yet spread-able on a delicate water cracker and had a spicy kick that was noticeable without being overwhelming. But these appetizers were simply a warm up to what proved to be a delicious bowl of shrimp and grits, described on the menu as “Shrimp Simmered In A Brown Tasso Ham Gravy And Served Over Stone Ground Grits.”

Shrimp and Grits
Originally uploaded by weezienyc.

While the grits needed salt and seemed a little stiff, it was a detail easily overlooked once they were totally immersed in the shrimp and gravy. Just like the crab dip, this dish had an unsuspecting, yet welcome spicy twist that I’d not yet experienced in what I’ve come to know as traditional shrimp and grits, or grits served with shrimp in a Tasso gravy.

Many people ask me “What is Tasso Gravy?” Tasso gravy is an essential element to the traditional Lowcountry shrimp and grits recipe. Honestly, it wasn’t until I started making Shrimp and Grits myself, and therefore began researching recipes years ago, that I realized that Tasso wasn’t a spice, but is actually a lean and highly-seasoned piece of cured pork or beef, native to Louisiana.

I enjoyed our visit to Morgan Creek Grill and would have loved to spend the afternoon listening to music in the sun and making my own spicy Bloody Mary’s to compliment the spicy and delightful food we so thoroughly enjoyed.


Anonymous said...

I give up...

You are a web site the unlocks the secrets to southern cuisine..

You display a beautiful plate of shrimp, taso gravey and grits...

NO recipe...!?

sarahmcsimmons said...

I have posted my own recipe until Morgan Creek shares theirs with me.

Thanks for the suggestion. Try this one and let me know what you think.


sarahmcsimmons said...


Madge said...

Thanks for writing this.

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