Hughes repeatedly (and refreshingly) showcases seasonal produce without reducing it to a vehicle for pork. Soft lettuces hold lacey strands of pickled Vidalia onions and steamy-crisp hush puppies. Roasted beets are gorgeous, paired with cauliflower giardiniera, celery leaves and escarole; a long buttermilk cheese straw, a touch stale on one visit, came balanced over the top. A perfectly pan-seared drum fillet was nearly outclassed by its supporting items: creamy, cardamom-scented grits, artichoke barigoule and more of those fried pickles.
Don't sleep on the she-crab soup, "the product of expert stock-making." Nor should you skip dessert: the "classically southern roster of sweets enhanced by chefly expertise" includes fried lemon curd handpies, chicory au lait pot du crème, and homey chess pie.