If you go
What: The Southern General
Where: 3157 Maybank Highway, Johns Island
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Tues.; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Wed-Thurs.; 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Fri.; 1 p.m.-2 a.m. Sat.
More info: 640-3778 or www.thesoutherngeneral.com
Over on Johns Island, JB’s Smokeshack, Fat Hen and Wild Olive have proven Maybank Highway to be a fertile corridor for dining and entertainment.
More recent additions such as the Irish social club Seanachai and Sweeney’s Restaurant attest to the stretch’s widening appeal.
There’s also The Southern General, corraling a retail strip corner spot last occupied by Mama Q’s Kitchen.
One could, and should, lament the loss of Mama Q’s, particularly her hearty wings and burritos. But don’t grieve for long. The Southern General’s sandwiches, poutine and roasted corn maque choux provide ample comfort.
This is an outstanding place, both the food and backdrop skillfully assembled.
The restaurant makes smart use of limited square footage, the space appearing neat and uncluttered. Dark red curtains adorn the large front window, the ceiling is covered with wood panels, and the walls are dressed in cream coloring and wood trim.
The menu, as devised by chef Tim Erwin, plays to classic and gourmet tastes.
The sandwich board ($7.50-$9) is separated into two categories: General sandwiches and Craft sandwiches. The craft offerings are souped-up iterations of their junior, or General, siblings. For example, the house club becomes the turkey giardiniera, while the pulled pork evolves into the Super Butt, as in Boston butt.
It makes for difficult choices. For instance, one can order the Cubano with house-braised pork and shaved ham, or the inventive Cu-Banh Mi with candied pork belly, sweet potato-garlic kimchi, and guavenero-banana mustard, a spicy blend of guava fruit and habanero peppers.
The poly-meatball (sweet and sour meatballs, pineapple-green chili macaroni and jicama relish), chicken schnitzel (breaded chicken cutlet, lemon kale, oven roasted tomato and aoli) and sesame shrimp (crispy tempura shrimp, sweet chili slaw, oven roasted tomato and spicy “juambo” mayo) are popular choices.
And the poutine alone is worth the visit. It’s a terrific dish; nicely seasoned and cut fries drizzled with brown gravy, then bolstered by buttery mozzarella curds.
Good stuff, for sure, as this General is fully deserving of its stars.