#1 The Ordinary, Charleston, SC
Because the bounty of our waters is the next big thing
For chef Mike Lata, the term "merroir" is as much a part of his lexicon as "knife." He uses it to refer to the impact that waters of a specific place have on the taste of seafood, much like the word "terroir" is used to describe variances in winemakers' harvests. And at The Ordinary, Mike's high temple of Neptune's bounty on Upper King Street, "merroir" rules the menu. As he bounces around the see-and-be-seen two-story dining room, always the welcoming host, an earnestness befalls his twinkling smile when he describes the Capers Blade oysters harvested by "Clammer Dave" Belanger that day. Or the triggerfish, cooked schnitzel-style with a fine-crumb coating, caught by fisherman Mark Marhefka.