This tasty East End dish is no trick, just all treat
Updated: Feb 22, 2021
In sharing my current quest for out-of-the-ordinary local dishes last week – and how The Block’s hot new Sunday brunch menu checked that box – I also teased a recent discovery at Tricky Fish on Charleston’s East End. And it’s gonna knock your culinary socks off.
I recently stopped by the beach-themed bar and grill for lunch for the first time since Sam’s Uptown Café and Red Carpet Lounge owner Paul Greco (you may know him as “PG”) bought the place from Keeley and Jon Steele, owners of Starlings Coffee & Provisions and the now-closed Bluegrass Kitchen.
While Tricky Fish’s menu of tacos, burritos, burgers, wings and assorted fried goodness is largely the same, it’s being spiced up with occasional specials leading up to a possible revamp later this spring.
One of those specials currently making the rounds is The Big Tricky, which was THE reason I popped in that day. A gorgeous-looking potato and sausage hash with eggs your way, bacon, cheese, peppers, house-made “bog sauce” and cilantro, I wanted it and nothing else. Except for a local craft beer to go with it, of course.
Despite a Facebook post announcing The Big Tricky was available every day until 2 pm, I nearly cried when I was told they didn’t have the dish that day. I instead opted for another special – Huevos Rancheros – but was more than a bit confused when that dish arrived.
Because it looked a lot like The Big Tricky photo I saw online.
I thought maybe the chef was playing a trick on me, but my waiter confirmed that this was indeed the Huevos Rancheros and that there were making both dishes very similarly, with just a few subtle changes. Some pickled onions were added and some greens were supposed to be, but were mistakenly left off my plate.
No argument here, what I did enjoy was not only delicious, but also beautifully presented.
I guess that’s not surprising, given that Tricky Fish chef Devan McDaniel is not only an artist in the kitchen, but an actual artist as well. Some of his paintings now hang on the restaurant’s spruced-up walls, which you can also purchase along with his food.
Based on this visit, I’ll definitely go back soon – and can’t wait to see what PG has in store for his newest restaurant conquest.
IF YOU GO: Tricky Fish, 1611 Washington St. E. in Charleston, is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. For more information, call 304-344-3474, visit www.trickyfish.net or check out the restaurant’s Facebook page.
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Keeping with the Mexican theme after my kinda-sorta Huevos Rancheros experience, our family enjoyed a nice dinner at Roca’s Mexican Grill at Trace Fork this past Saturday night.
I’m impressed with the restaurant’s menu of traditional and more creative dishes, including a goodly number of fresh, healthy and seafood options – many of which are hard to find on most Mexican menus.
And two of which I’m currently obsessed with. Hard.
The incredibly delicious Camarones Locos is a large plate of perfectly grilled shrimp, scallops, bell peppers, onions, zucchini and squash atop a bed of rice drizzled with a thin, but rich, cheese sauce. (Seafood and cheese together is pretty much never a good idea, but gosh they blend together beautifully here.)
Roca’s Chile Rellenos are also among the best I’ve had anywhere. A large poblano pepper is stuffed with cheese, lightly breaded and baked to bubbly perfection with a glaze of red sauce and more cheese. Because why not.
But buried within all that sauce and cheese is the real star of the dish, with the poblano providing a mild smoky taste that is all flavor and very little heat. I ordered one on the side with my dinner, which will now be a go-to every time I visit.
I loved my Camarones Locos and Chile Relleno so much, in fact, that I felt like going back the next day to enjoy the exact same meal.
So I did.
You can also get your fix at Roca’s original location outside of Mardi Gras Casino & Resort just off the Cross Lanes exit in Nitro.
IF YOU GO: Roca Mexican Grill, 87 RHL Blvd. at Trace Fork, is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 681-265-5045, visit www.rocasgrill.com or check out the restaurant’s Facebook page.
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Steven Keith is a food writer and restaurant critic known as “The Food Guy” who writes a weekly column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and has appeared in several state, regional and national culinary publications. Follow him online at www.wvfoodguy.com or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or at email@example.com.