One of our all time favorite restaurants in the Charleston area is Fat Hen. No matter how many new restaurants there that we try, Fat Hen is one that we must dine at on each trip to the Low Country!
The Fat Hen is owned and operated by nationally acclaimed Chef Fred Neuville and his wife Joan with an assist from their daughter Nicole in the kitchen. Fat Hen is located in the heart of Johns Island, just minutes from downtown Charleston, South Carolina and offers innovative French Lowcountry cuisine using the freshest ingredients provided by their friends and neighbors in the farming community.
Within a month Steve and I paid two visits to this fabulous restaurant. The first was in late October and the second was this past Saturday night. In October we had the best server ever, Tenia, so when we returned last week we made sure to ask for her. Tenia not only recognized us and gave us a warm welcome but she even remembered everything we had ordered! The entire staff, including Nicole, made us feel like old friends visiting their home for dinner.
And speaking of dinner – WOW – the food is sooooo good. Some of the dishes are so amazing that we have to order them each time, like their Fried Green Tomatoes with pimento goat cheese, pepper relish, tomato jam and the Oyster Stew with Benton’s country ham, wild mushrooms and grilled bread. On our last visit Steve had the French Onion Soup which was fabulous and quite cheesy. This time we shared a cup of the Crab Soup that was rich and creamy with lots of sweet crab and a hint of Sherry. We honestly could have stopped there and just had dessert but gluttons that we are we ordered entrées.
What I love about the menu at Fat Hen is that it is not only varied and seasonal but there are many entrées available in half portions which is perfect for us after all of our appetizers and their fantastic artisan bread served with fresh creamery butter. Steve had the Shrimp and Pasta which was loaded with sweet shrimp, house made pasta, caramelized onions, spinach, champagne, House Pernod, tomatoes, capers, artichoke, pistou & liaison. It was the same dish he enjoyed in October. In October I had the Crab Cake with bacon blue cheese coleslaw and pommes frites. But this time I decided to order a dish that I don’t get to enjoy too often because Steve is not a fan of duck. The Seared Duck Confit with demi-glace, smoked apricot chutney, garlic spinach and roasted lemon sweet potatoes was succulent, moist and tender with the crispiest skin ever. The leg and thigh meat was cooked to perfection with all of the fat rendered which left just meat and skin. Maybe if I made duck as good as this I could get Steve to eat it.
By the time we finished all of our wonderful savory dishes we were quite satiated but somehow we found room for one of those desserts that cannot be resisted. The Fat Hen’s Pluff Mudd Pie is a secret recipe darn it. It is a play on pluff (also spelled “plough”) mud. This Carolina Lowcountry term represents a Lowcountry entity — the slippery, shiny brown-gray, sucky mud, with a distinctive smell like none other, of the tidal flats and spartina grass salt marshes. I know the description of fluff mud sounds pretty yucky but, trust me, this dessert is anything but. It is a regal pie with an Oreo cookie crust (of course they make their own cookies) filled with a luscious Chocolate Silk Mousse and garnished with a quenelle of softly whipped cream and a swoosh of Raspberry Caramel. We practically licked our plate clean. It was the perfect finish to another outstanding meal at Fat Hen!!!
The Fat Hen cookbook was released last year. I can’t wait to get a copy so I can try to recreate some of their outstanding dishes. Of course without the local Low Country ingredients it may not be possible to make them as good as at the restaurant, but I will certainly try my best.
3140 Maybank Highway
Johns Island, SC 29455