Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fat Hen, Johns Island, SC

Eatin' Fat on Johns Island

Brunch At The Fat Hen
Fat Hen was recommended to us by Dean Rommes from Charleston Security Systems.  He gave very little information only to say that it “was the best place for Sunday brunch, by far.”  We decided to give it a try.

As we drove out to Johns Island I remember thinking that it was probably silly to have made reservations. This place seemed so remote that it probably wasn’t going to be busy, especially on Halloween.  When we arrived we realized we were sorely mistaken. 

The parking lot was packed and there were people waiting outside to be seated. There is a small patio area in the front of the restaurant and three small rooms within.   We waited for a brief time for our table and were seated at a lovely spot on the enclosed porch.

Our waiter, Joshua was laid back and very knowledgeable about the menu.  We ordered the cheese plate and charcuterie as an appetizer. (Yes, we were with another couple, although these two items along could have easily been lunch.)

As we waited to order our lunch we saw many “liters” of mimosas. I have not seen a “liter” of anything in awhile.  Come to find out that Fat Hen offers $10.00 liters of mimosas to accompany their brunch and many tables were indulging, including a table that the “Tin Man” was seated at. (Did I mention it was Halloween?).

Cheese Plate & Charcuterie
The cheese plate and charcuterie that Joshua described in detail were outstanding.  The cheese plate had three 2” x 2” pieces of cheese accompanied with grapes and toasted French bread.  We learned that the Blue Cheese was from Australia, and the rind is orange, due to the wheat the cows ate.  The other cheese selection they called “drunken” as they marinated the rind in wine for three days.  The rind was a light burgundy and the taste, exquisite. The third cheese was a Pecorino, significantly aged with a nice, light bite.

The charcuterie had local sausage, handmade pate, salmon, mustards and currant compote. We were soon to find that the food here is so good that no matter how full you are, you just want to keep eating. Out of the corner of my eye I saw our lunch arriving and internally sensed – “doggie bag”.  Boy was I wrong.

Southern Chicken Crepe
Our entrees included a Southern Chicken Crepe with roasted chicken, pimento cheese, mushrooms, artichokes, caramelized onions, chili and hollandaise sauces and mixed greens. I have never seen a crepe as light as this one was. It looked as if it was wrapped in filo dough, versus a crepe and tasted wonderfully.

Short Ribs Au Gratin
The Short Rib Au Gratin was a bit of a surprise. Although the menu listed this item being served with homemade potato chips, we skimmed over that part. So when this dish arrived looking like short rib nachos, it raised a few eyebrows.  Its flavor also raised a few eyebrows.  It was perfect.

BBQ Duck Sandwich
My Pulled BBQ Duck Sandwich was a bit of a stretch for me, but I wanted to try something new.  The BBQ duck was served with a mound of blue cheese cole slaw atop of a toasted bun.  Fresh, hot French fries accompanied it.  I have a thing about French fries. You could call this pet peeve #8.  A lot of restaurants pre-fry French fries for the “rush”. So what you receive is tepid at best, fries, many of which have died in the window.  It’s difficult to send them back or ask for others as it ruins the dining experience for others, so I usually just eat them. But these were the Picasso of fries.  So fresh, hot and crisp, that you had to wait for them to cool down to eat them. A magnificent, art form of fries.

Our last entree was ordered by a brunch purist – two eggs with sausage, toast and fries.  It was odd to have “fries” with eggs, but we muddled through finishing them :0).  The sausage was from a local farm and had us thinking about where we could buy it after we left, it was that good.

Although the dessert menu seemed interesting we decided to pass.  Joshua informed us that the pastry chef is the chef’s wife and that everything was terrific.  But we were so full from lunch that I found myself to be my own “Fat Hen”.

This is a hidden gem (literally), that should not be missed. We look forward to dinner there.

We gave the Fat Hen 5 plates out of a possible 5!

Fat Hen on Urbanspoon


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