Charleston is a culinary melting pot in which ethnic cuisines are often re-imagined from a Southern perspective. Minero is a classic example of this dynamic, and James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock executes his vision here and at the Atlanta location with the same finesse that's put Husk and McCrady's on the national foodie map. This Mexican-inspired eatery, inconspicuously wedged between a bevy of East Bay Street businesses, stitches the traditional fabric of Southwestern dishes to notably Dixie-ish fare. The result is a rustic, toothsome marriage of heritage flavors from two enduring culinary traditions.
"Minero" means "miner," and plenty of authentic flavors have been unearthed to create this menu. Leave your pickax at the door and take the stairs to the hip, yet casual dining room and bar. Order up your favorite tequila or mescal cocktail, then share charcoal-grilled chicken wings, served shaken with rich Valentina Mexican hot sauce in a brown bag. (Fun touch: Napkins and silverware are tucked away in a drawer inside your table.) Enjoy a small plate of shrimp and masa grits, Minero's take on Charleston's iconic shrimp and grits. The house-ground masa intensifies the corn flavor just enough to elevate this creamy, satisfying dish to repeat status. Don't miss the mula, a tasty blend of pumpkin, mushrooms and greens sandwiched between benne seed tortillas. Speaking of benne, the West African version of sesame seeds, Minero offers a toasty, spicy, buttery benne salsa that might be your next addiction.
As with many a Mexican dish, it's the tortilla that makes or breaks it. Nothing's broken here - tortillas made from heirloom Mexican and South Carolina-grown corn ensure that. Savory taco and burrito fillings - pork, chicken, chorizo and potato, and more - are enhanced by the fresh corn flavors of the tortilla. Extra hungry? Indulge in a platter - choices include charcoal grilled steak, smoky grilled chicken, pork carnitas and more sided with Minero's version of Hoppin' John, avocado and those pleasantly earthy tortillas.
More Minero fun (or not, depending on whether you consider dinner prep a joy or pain) comes in the form of a carryout taco kit, complete with everything you need to make 20 delish tacos. Add tequila and you've got a Dixie-Mex party, Minero-style.