The Artisan Meat Share, Meats on Meats on Meats

Before I get to my review of The Artisan Meat Share, I’d like to take a quick aside.  It’s no secret that I have a HUGE crush on Charleston and its incredible food and beverage scene; however, my original concept for Holy City Handcraft was on the things that I create or bourbons I’ve discovered. Which is why the sub-title of the blog is ‘whiskey. provisions. cocktails. blog.’  and why my posts have covered things like a viral pot roast recipe, a local collaboration on a cocktail and that whiskey you’ve never heard of at your local liquor store.  Until now, I’ve kept the “provisions” part pretty ambiguous. Provisions by the way means:

pro·vi·sion (prəˈviZHən) v. – to supply with food, drink, or equipment, especially for a journey.

This post is my way of extending my definition of provisions from not only the food I create, but also to the food I eat and love at restaurants in Charleston- i.e. I’m entering the Charleston food scene!  I know that I’m joining a large (but supportive and talented) group of Charleston food bloggers that are already doing this, but I will in no way be competing with them.   On the contrary, don’t be surprised to see some collaborations between me and other Charleston bloggers very soon.  This new chapter for Holy City Handcraft is my way of getting to know the chefs, bartenders and establishments in the Holy City while also sharing all of the city’s culinary experiences with my readers.

Now that I got that out of the way… Lets talk about the Artisan Meat Share!
 artisan meat share charleston
“In the fall of 2009, Cypress debuted the Artisan Meat Share – a CSA-like concept with various pick-ups throughout the year. The contents of the package depend on seasonality and what’s most readily available, local and fresh. Cypress’ Artisan Meats have always had a dedicated section on the dinner menu, in addition to a home on the bar menu. Now, Artisan Meat Share offers Chef Craig Deihl’s award-winning meats to customers on a daily basis, plus the welcomed addition of gourmet sandwiches, fresh butcher shop products, house-made condiments and more.”
artisan meat share charleston
Located on 33 Spring Street in Downtown Charleston. ‘AMS’ as its called, is the brainchild of Chef Craig Deihl of Cypress, known for his expertise in cured meats.  From what I gathered, Chef Deihl has produced over 90 (YES, 90!) types of charcuterie, all of which are prepared, stored and cured at Cypress then transported to AMS.  The idea behind AMS was to provide a place where guests can enjoy Chef Deihl’s award-winning charcuterie, freshly butchered meat and delicious sandwiches any time of day.

 

The Restaurant

Walking in, you’ll immediately notice the meat counter where they sell house-made condiments, sauces and sides, along with a good amount of freshly butchered offerings like pork chops, ribs and ham.artisan meat share charleston
artisan meat share charleston
artisan meat share charleston
The decor of the restaurant is simple, rustic and homey.  The seating is fairly limited but we felt completely comfortable having a seat at the counter for lunch.  I think the idea was for the King Street crowd to swing by and pick up sandwiches to go during their lunch hour or on their way home since AMS is only open until 7PM every day.  There is a large chalkboard near the entrance to let the patrons know the specials of the day.artisan meat share charlestonartisan meat share charleston artisan meat share charleston artisan meat share charleston artisan meat share charleston
The restaurant has plenty of hidden bar space along the walls and storefront windows for seating, along with the lunch counter where customers can be served.  artisan meat share charleston artisan meat share charlestonOtherwise, the typical walk-in customer will saunter over to the well-lit ‘Order Here’ sign towards the back of the restaurant to place their order.artisan meat share charleston artisan meat share charleston artisan meat share charleston
As you order at the counter, you’ll be treated to the most beautiful view of the house cured charcuterie (like I said, ‘Meats on Meats on Meats’), as well as a piece of pig skull art for your viewing pleasure.  
artisan meat share charleston
artisan meat share charleston

artisan meat share charleston

artisan meat share charleston
This is where head cheese comes from, kids.

These cured meats are sliced to order for their sandwiches.  They can also be purchased by the pound for that monster sandwich you’ve been dreaming about or to make your own impressive charcuterie board. I should add AMS also has meat boards to enjoy in the restaurant or to go.

artisan meat share charleston
Here is JD Deloach in action, slicing some fresh meat!
artisan meat share charleston
Tools of the trade.
artisan meat share charleston
Fennel Salami Cotto
artisan meat share charleston
Freshly sliced by JD Deloach.

 

The Food (Full Menu)

Since I knew my fiancé and I would be walking around downtown for a few hours afterward (#bridalbootcamp), I knew I would want something that would leave me feeling satisfied but not overly stuffed.  Trust me, it was a tough few minutes, just staring at the menu trying to decide what to get.  With items like the Hot Fried Chicken & Biscuit ($10) which featured ‘nduja hot sauce, pickles, lettuce, and black pepper mayo, or the Vietnamese inspired Bun Mi ($10) pâté, smoked ham, kimchi mayo, carrots, soy pickles, cilantro on a steamed bun — I knew there was no way we’d make a bad decision.  I’ve had sandwiches every time I’ve been to AMS previously, so I figured I’d switch it up.  In the end, I went with the Special of the Day: Black Garlic Congee with Crispy Fried Tripe ($12) and a side of Kim Chi ($3) and my fiancé ordered the Chef’s Salad with their house-made Green Goddess dressing ($11) and a side of their Pea and Peanut Salad ($3).

artisan meat share charleston

Up first was the Black Garlic Congee with the Crispy Fried Tripe. If you’ve never had black garlic before, I suggest you go on Amazon right now and try to order yourself a couple bulbs (affiliate) or make it yourself. Its texture is creamy, similar to that of a slow roasted garlic.  The flavors are soft, delicate and a very similar taste to a sweet balsamic syrup.  This flavor played well with the Congee, which is made with rice and has a porridge like consistency.  The Congee is then garnished with what seems to be crushed peanuts soaked in Szechuan chili oil and chopped scallions, which added only a moderate amount of heat (it didn’t blow my head off) and a nice contrast of texture with the crunchiness of the peanuts.  The tripe… Oh the tripe… aka the second stomach of a cow.  Listen, you’re going to have to take my word and step outside your comfort zone, I’ve eaten tripe almost my entire life (I’m Filipino), but this is some of the best prepared tripe I’ve ever had.  This tripe had to have been braised or pressure cooked for hours to tenderize an otherwise very tough, inexpensive ‘cut’ of meat.  It was then lightly breaded and fried and served  on top of the Congee. I have no idea why Filipinos have never thought to bread and fry tripe, but it was incredible.  It was the perfect accompaniment to Congee, which was the real star of the show.

artisan meat share charleston
Black Garlic Congee with Crispy Fried Tripe

artisan meat share charleston

I also had the AMS house-made kimchi – it was salty, funky and had a crispy freshness, which is what I look for in a kimchi.  I will say, that I am used to a spicier kimchi and this could’ve used a touch more of that ‘kick’, but it was delicious nonetheless.  
House-made Kimchi
House-made Kimchi
My fiance ordered the Chef’s Salad but requested to substitute the Parmesan vinaigrette for the Green Goddess dressing, served on the side.  The salad was MASSIVE.  I don’t even know if I I could’ve polished this one off by myself and for $11 for the entire bowl, it was a great deal.  The salad included peppery arugula, chopped egg, shredded cheddar cheese, ham, turkey, roast beef and sliced sweet onion.  Every bite seemed like a mouthful and she definitely had to take the leftovers home.  I tried some of their house made Green Goddess dressing and it was great – sweet, tangy, and earthy.  

artisan meat share charleston artisan meat share charleston

artisan meat share charleston
AMS Green Goddess Dressing Made with Fresh Herbs
She was also generous enough to share some of her Pea and Peanut Salad.  This side is a steal at only $3 for this bowl that involved perfectly cooked green peas, boiled(?) peanuts and sliced radishes tossed in that unreal Green Goddess dressing.  This was marvelous, I wouldn’t mind having it all to myself when (not if) we come back.
artisan meat share charleston
Pea and Peanut Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

artisan meat share charleston

 

Verdict

Again, this wasn’t my first time at Artisan Meat Share, I wish I had been a food blogger a year ago so I could’ve shared some of the amazing food/meats I’ve had here.  But Chef Deihl’s James Beard Award nomination is no fluke- he and his team know what they’re doing with the cured meats and dishes being served at AMS.  Our total bill came out to under $35, which included our two meals, two ‘starters’ and two coffees.  We had a great meal, left satisfied and didn’t break the bank and didn’t feel overly stuffed before our 2 hour walk.  Next time we come back, we’ll be taking advantage of their happy hour special which includes a charcuterie board and a bottle of wine (or 4 servings of beer from their taps) for only $30.  Or if any of you try, let me know what you think!

 

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33 Spring Street, Charleston, SC 29401
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