The first is Magnolia's on East Bay Street. Order the small plate seared tuna. It is the closest I've ever come to Nirvana at the dinner table.
The second place is Hank's, about a block from the Old Market at the corner of Church and Hayne. (Tip: Make your reservation before your trip if you want to get a table at a reasonable hour.) There is nothing there that isn't good. But don't pass up the oyster sampler. The best part of it was the oysters from the local waters. The shells were long and narrow, and the oysters were exquisitely delicate and sweet.
The third place is Hyman's Seafood on Meeting Street. It seems every tourist in Charleston has to go there, so if you go in the evening, be prepared to wait outside in a line. We went for lunch. I can't say the food was outstanding like at the other two restaurants, but it was good and plentiful. I don't think they know what a small plate is. But it's not the food I'm sending you there for.
In the sugar container on each table is a stack of cards with words of wisdom printed on the back so you can become enlightened while you wait for your meal. Here's the one I Picked up:
Words Women Use
Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.
Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this is a half hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given 5 more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.
Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means "something," and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with "Nothing" usually end in "Fine."
Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't do it.
That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements that a woman can make to a man. "That's Okay" means that she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.
Thanks: A woman is thanking you. Do not question it or faint. Just say you're welcome.
The card S got was filled with advice about how to keep your marriage strong. It was a verbal cornucopia of loving, caring things couples can do for one another, and so of course, S was reading them to me. Things like "Compliment each other's choice in clothes;" "Start each day with a kiss;" "Give back rubs;" and the like. As she read them she came to one that said "Date." She stopped reading, looked at me, thought for a minute and then said, "I think they mean each other."