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The Early Word on Low-Country Hot Spot Carriage House

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Carriage House
Carriage House
Photo: Jason Little

It has been about three months since the team that brought us the Bedford opened Carriage House, an ode to South Carolina's famed low-country cuisine. Since then, Chef Mark Steuer has amassed quite a following and some pretty nice reviews, not to mention the highly coveted "So Hot Right Now" award at last month's Eater Awards 2012. What are the people saying, though? For the most part they are buying into to Steuer's low-country cooking and have flocked to the Carriage House band wagon.

The Authentic News: One Yelp review was impressed, more than anything, with Carriage House's authenticity: "Carriage House definitely delivers on the promise of low country cuisine (heavy seafood and pork focus) and could rival some of the best places in Charleston itself. Every dish seemed to be better than the last." [Yelp]

The Shrimp and Grits News: Another giddy Yelper was particularly impressed with this low-country classic: "This was one of the best dining experiences I had in a long time. Our waiter was funny and attentive, but not overbearing. Shrimp and grits were so good, me and my husband agreed we would come back just for that! Best dish of the night. We also tried melon and cucumber salad which was delicious, totally stealing the idea. Pork belly salad was another hit, however it was a little heavy on dressing, I love acidity, but this dish was a little too much for me to finish it. The clams were good and had a delicious bread that also came with seafood and rabbit sausage boil. We couldn't finish that one so took it home and it tasted just as good the next day." [Yelp]

The Poor Service News: An Open Table reviewer, though happy with the food, did not enjoy the overall experience: "Went for Brunch - service terrible we had to constantly flag the waitress down. While food was good they very small portions and I left hungry." [OT]

The Rice Ball News: Over at Chicagoreader.com, food critic Mike Sula was particularly taken by the arancini: "a trio of "Carolina rice balls"—deep-fried arancini made with the aforementioned heritage rice—is incorporated with pimiento cheese, dressed with pickled cabbage, and sauced with sweet-potato puree and smoked pork neck gravy. The result is a thrilling collection of textures and flavors—sweet, sour, and savory; soft and crunchy—that hits all the pleasure centers, a formula that snack-food manufacturers are forever trying to put in a bag." [CR]

The Fried Chicken News: Many reviews mentioned the fried chicken as being especially exceptional, but none describe it better than Michael Nagrant at the Sun Times: "Though fried chicken also is everywhere, it's impossible to discount Carriage House's silky, juicy rolled thighs glistening with local honey served with a bottle of housemade sweet potato hot sauce. The hot sauce in particular is engaging because it is not all vinegar and pepper, but instead full of a slow-building heat and a nice sugary starch. The chicken comes with flaccid bread and butter pickles, which I somehow miss, and thus, order an extra side of. I feel the waiter should caution me here, but he just eggs me on." [ST]

The Trying Too Hard News: Though she seemed to thoroughly enjoy her meal, Julia Kramer of Timeout Chicago thought there was a little too much tinkering going on in the kitchen:"This delicate balance between tradition and reinvention is Carriage House's sweet spot—but it's a spot the kitchen hasn't entirely snuggled into yet. The bitter bourbon mustard that accompanied the pickled eggs in the picnic board: Why try so hard? And Steuer's elaborate fried chicken thigh, a deboned, rolled, sous-vided piece that immediately breaks off from its uncharismatic coating? Seems to me a strange case of attempting to fix something that is not broken." [TO]

The "Holy Fuck" News: Twitter is abuzz with Carriage House praise: "Just got back from @CarriageHouseWP home of the holy fuck what did they just serve kitchen staff. 2013 Michelin star bound." [Twitter]

The Delicious News: The Chicago Tribune's Phil Vettel heaped the praise all over Carriage House, but focused much of it on one particular dish: "Among the suppers, the Low Country boil couldn't be more traditional, a deep bowl of goodies including shrimp, clams, rabbit sausage, corn and red potatoes in a light-on-the-tongue but flavor-packed broth; resting on top are griddled slabs of house-made pullman loaf, so buttery they reminded me of French toast" [CT]
— Aaron Baer-Harsha

Carriage House

7485 Main Street, , MI 49757 (906) 847-3321 Visit Website

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