Restaurant Review: Acme Lowcountry Kitchen

A great restaurant for any southern food lover.

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The "Lighthouse" entree, courtesy of TripAdvisor.

Acme Lowcountry Kitchen

Location: 31 J C Long Blvd, Isle of Palms, SC

Introduction (Jack)

Charleston is a city known for its culture, history, and most importantly, its food. As a result of being a coastal city, much of that food culture revolves around seafood based dishes, such as the famous Southern shrimp and grits. Acme Lowcountry Kitchen, located on the Isle of Palms, is one such eatery that has taken advantage of this attraction to Southern cuisine and has established itself as one of the Lowcountry’s premier casual-upscale style restaurants. On their website, they state that they serve “upscale, yet casual elements of traditional coastal cuisine with classic fare.” Honestly, we couldn’t have put it better ourselves. 

 

Food (Davis)

At heart, Acme provides fresh, local seafood that satisfies even the pickiest of soul food lovers. Jack and I were quickly greeted with large menus boasting southern fare; pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes, and hushpuppies come to mind. What impressed me most, however, was a large portion of the menu dedicated solely to “local shrimp and grits.” With ten varieties to choose from, the choices ranged from a classic “Charleston” (consisting of blackened shrimp, sausage, and roasted tomatoes) to the upscaled “Matt & Kat’s” (Consisting of fried shrimp, braised short ribs, and a red wine thyme demi glace). Will I ever know what thyme demi glace is? No. Did I want to try it? Without a doubt.

I came with one mission, though; I needed to try their crab cakes. Glancing at the menu, there was only one entree that included them. Called the Lighthouse, the dish promised seared shrimp, scallops, and a crab cake. Jack opted for a pasta dish: blackened shrimp with Alfredo sauce. To round out the meal, we ordered calamari as a starter and a slice of key lime pie for desert. Undeniably, the seafood was delicious. That was expected. The surprise came however, with the two sides I ordered. The grits’ consistency and flavor were rivaled only by my mom’s home cooking. Further, my Carolina red rice was the most flavorful I’ve ever had. With Jack’s bowl of pasta and calamari plate in front of me, we had a feast. The drawback? Price-point. When it was all said and done, our bill soared to $77.52. Thrifty raptors beware.

Rating: 9.3 (Davis), 9.2 (Jack)

Service (Davis)

Let it be known that this review should be taken with a grain of salt because Jack currently works as a food runner and busboy at Acme. That said, I can’t help but feel like we got an all-star treatment from our wonderful server Beth. With her knowledge of the menu and restaurant, I mistook her for a manager at first. This speaks very highly of the Acme serving staff. Further, Beth was attentive and eager to ask us about our senior year and the colleges we hoped to attend. As Jack pointed out, “we have a policy of never leaving glasses less than halfway full.” With Beth’s vibrant attitude, I like to think that the serving staff upholds the policy in more than a physical sense.

Rating: 9.0 (Davis), 9.5 (Jack)

 

Setting (Jack)

One of the most important elements of any restaurant is the setting, and so far in this series we have experienced chill burger-joint vibes and traditional Korean decor. Acme, on the other hand, truly feels like Charleston. Salt-streaked wooden flooring, comfortable booth seating lining the walls, and beer glasses embalmed with “Keep Calm, and Eat More Local Shrimp” makes every customer, and each employee, feel like part of a family. I (Jack), of all people, would know. All of the employees, both in front and behind the kitchen door, make every person who walks through the door a priority. Along with this, the traditional Southern style of cuisine complements the relaxed atmosphere of the restaurant, as Acme excels at creating high quality ‘comfort’ food to match its ambiance. 

Rating: 8.8 (Jack), 8.6 (Davis)

One of the two bars at Acme.

Conclusion (Both)

After my first trip (Davis) to Acme, I can easily say that it will soon become a staple for my Charleston restaurant rotation. It shines as a high-quality example of southern food and hospitality. In the coming year when I am away at college, I will no doubt be thinking of this establishment when I need some southern food. 

This trip to Acme was one of many for me (Jack), as I am currently employed there. However, working at a restaurant and eating there are two very different things, and the quality of food and service Davis and I experienced while eating there was unparalleled in comparison other Charleston restaurants in the same class as Acme. In my opinion, a restaurant that makes you want to go back again and again is a restaurant that is definitely doing something right. Do I have to go to Acme after school to work a shift today? Maybe. Do I still want to take my friends and family so that they can live through one of the best eating experiences of their lives? One-hundred percent. Can I afford it? Um, I’ll get back to you that one (spoiler alert, probably not). Until next time, and thanks again for joining us for yet another edition of Restaurant Review.  

Overall Rating: 9.07

 

Jack

Food: 9.2

Service: 9.5

Setting: 8.8

 

Davis

Food: 9.3

Service: 9.0

Setting: 8.6