While Sunday may be known as a brunch day, Butcher & Bee, Upper King’s newest lunch and late night spot, is ushering in the return of Sunday supper–family-style. This week will once again feature chef Benjamin Dennis and his lowcountry-local, gullah-geechie inspired menu.
Chef Dennis is a native Charlestonian who, although formally trained in the Caribbean, credits his grandparents with teaching him how African slave ancestors cooked food fresh from the land and used meat as a seasoning rather than a main course. Those techniques have been passed down through the generations, but with modernization much of it has been lost.
Dennis has taken those lessons from his grandfather and incorporates it into a slow cook menu that brings out that culture and heritage. “My grandfather always talks about growing up off the land,” Dennis says.
“Gullah Geechie food is lowcountry food. It’s about getting back to sustainable living and getting back to true roots of having a garden and eating fresh foods.”
Dennis uses seasonal vegetables and seafood from many of the areas best farms and fisheries such as Joseph Fields Farm, Dirt Hugger Farm and Backman’s Seafood. This week’s three-course meal starts with oysters married with conch and a crab butter on Awendaw grits. The second course is spring squash with zucchini gratin, greens stewed with ground peanuts and coconut milk, and shark steak braised with fish broth, slow cooked with sweet peppers, chilies, garlic and butter.
“Ground nut stew, ground nut chicken is African cooking. If you look at old Charleston Receipts or recipe books they call for stews with ground peanuts or benne seeds or sesame seeds. And the shark tastes like a scallop, its amazing.”
Dessert will be a local classic, Charleston chewies, a brownie like confection made with brown sugar and nuts.
Chef Dennis believes Charleston’s Butcher & Bee is an optimal location for the family style suppers with its community style tables and informal atmosphere. With the momentum and publicity of Charleston’s culinary scene, he sees an opportunity to revive the evening Sunday meal without the usual downtown pretentiousness or spending a fortune.
WHEN: Sunday at 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Butcher & Bee
654 King Street
Charleston, SC 29403
RESERVATIONS: Sunday supper costs $20 and reservations are suggested.
There are water and sodas for sale but if you want something more spirited the dinner is b.y.o.b.