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Dave's Carry-Out

42 Morris St., Charleston, SC - (843) 577-7943
Posted By Michael Stern on 11/2/2008 3:32:00 PM
Dave's Carry-Out, a tiny corner storefront with only two tables for eating on premises and a reputation for staying open long into the morning when everything else in town has closed, makes a specialty of frying. While nearly every meat-and-three restaurant deep-fries something to anchor its meals, Dave's does little else. Not to dis Tuesday's jumbo turkey wings and red rice or Thursday's melting-tender Cornish hen with hoppin' john, but it is Dave's every-day shrimp that must be eaten -- taut pink crescents veiled in a film of crunch so elegant that they put me in mind of the legendary frying done by the long-gone Edisto Motel. It is hypnotic to watch the cook (Dave's son) bread every single one individually, tossing them into a fry basket that gets dropped into hot oil above the pieces of fish and pork chop that sizzle down below. Yes, everything goes into the same hot soup, and everything comes out with its own flavor -- pork, fish, chicken -- haloed by a multi-flavored zest that is the hallmark of Lowcountry cooking.

About two years ago, Dave's moved from its original oil-saturated disreputable location to the current corner storefront, which is freshly-painted and ship-shape. While purists bemoan the cultural elevation, the current Dave's is a restaurant where anyone will feel welcome, any time of night. As the name suggests, it is designed mostly for the take-out trade. Still, when it's crowded, as it inevitably is late at night, you can wait up to an hour for your food to be cooked and plated (in Styrofoam). Everything is cooked to order, order by order.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Shrimp Platter
Pork Chop Sandwich
Seafood Platter
Cornish Hen
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Dave's magnificent seven dollar fried shrimp platter includes a bed of red rice or french fries, but the devil crab on the right is two-and-a-half dollars extra ... and well worth it.
"Dave's magnificent seven dollar fried shrimp platter includes a bed of red rice or french fries, but the devil crab on the right is two-and-a-half dollars extra ... and well worth it."
Michael Stern





Each day of the week, Dave's offers a non-fried lunch. Thursday's is Cornish hen with a choice of white rice or hoppin john, the latter a hearty dish in which chopped black-eyed peas enrich the long grain rice. At the upper left are lima beans and to the right, green beans. Note all the good pig meat mixed in with the vegetables.
"Each day of the week, Dave's offers a non-fried lunch. Thursday's is Cornish hen with a choice of white rice or hoppin john, the latter a hearty dish in which chopped black-eyed peas enrich the long grain rice. At the upper left are lima beans and to the right, green beans. Note all the good pig meat mixed in with the vegetables."
Michael Stern


Wings in the soul food restaurants of Charleston are gigantic. Most places offer them bathed in hot sauce. This crunchy, meaty quartet is plain: add your own Texas Pete if desired.
"Wings in the soul food restaurants of Charleston are gigantic. Most places offer them bathed in hot sauce. This crunchy, meaty quartet is plain: add your own Texas Pete if desired."
Michael Stern


I ordered a pork chop sandwich and, sure enough, underneath this big, succulent fried pork chop are a couple of pieces of bread.
"I ordered a pork chop sandwich and, sure enough, underneath this big, succulent fried pork chop are a couple of pieces of bread."
Michael Stern


Dave's official hours are Tuesday through Friday for lunch and supper. Although the official closing time is 11pm, it is not uncommon to come here at 3 or 4 in the morning and find the place packed with a motley assortment of hungry Charlestonians.
"Dave's official hours are Tuesday through Friday for lunch and supper. Although the official closing time is 11pm, it is not uncommon to come here at 3 or 4 in the morning and find the place packed with a motley assortment of hungry Charlestonians."
Michael Stern


Some of the best fried shrimp anywhere, as served in the extremely humble corner store known as Dave's Carry-Out.
"Some of the best fried shrimp anywhere, as served in the extremely humble corner store known as Dave's Carry-Out."
Michael Stern


Terry McCray carries on the tradition of seafood excellence begun by his father Dave.
"Terry McCray carries on the tradition of seafood excellence begun by his father Dave."
Michael Stern


This humble corner store serves some of the most delicious fried shrimp anywhere.
"This humble corner store serves some of the most delicious fried shrimp anywhere. "
Michael Stern



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