The sixth-best restaurant in the country according to Yelp reviews has its roots in hard times. As is written on the eatery's website: "In 2014, Shuai and Corrie Wang moved to Charleston, SC from Brooklyn, NY under the impression they had jobs. They did not."
Fortunately, they decided to stay anyway and took advantage of the food truck craze of the twenty-teens, serving untraditional Japanese rice bowls under the name Short Grain.
After earning attention from the likes of Bon Appetit Magazine, the couple decided to take it a step further and in 2019, Jackrabbit Filly, their brick-and-mortar restaurant, was born.
Jackrabbit Filly is a heritage-driven New Chinese American restaurant that fuses the best of Chinese cuisine with classic American comfort food. Named after the couple's zodiac animals, it's that rare find - elevated but accessible food in a casual, comfortable setting.
As a family-style restaurant, the owners suggest trying a variety of dishes for sharing. But what to choose?
Southern traditionalists may be hesitant to try a dish called Sichuan Hot Karaage until they realize it's a delicious take on Japanese Spicy Fried Chicken. You may also want to sample the Pork and Cabbage Dumplings garnished with vinegar, chili oil, cilantro, and peanuts. Bacon Fried Rice is a popular fusion dish. And Conde Nast Traveler says the brunch standouts are the veggie hash plate and hangover noodles.
Wang sources as many local ingredients as possible, which adds to the freshness, especially in the seafood dishes.
Just like the food, the decor is also a fusion - between diner and industrial. Warm colors and comfortable seating are a great contrast with the exposed beams and cement floors.
A true family affair, Corrie runs front-of-house and is often the hostess. But you're well-advised to make a reservation because many locals have already discovered this gem. Luckily if you can't get a table, they also do take-out.
What Yelp reviewers say:
Fish tartare: "Great umami flavors, fresh, savory, yet still light. They have something special here."
Lump crab omelet: "Super light with light crab taste and lettuce to make wraps with."
Okonomiyaki with duck confit: "very savory with a lot of duck and flavor from the egg and nori seasoning. A flavor bomb."
With raves like this, I bet the locals are glad Shuai and Corrie decided to give Charleston a second chance.