Water’s Edge is one of those classic seafood restaurants where the scent of saltwater, call of gulls, and unmistakable tang of fried seafood serve as glorious reminders that you’re enjoying dinner on the coast. From his vantage point overlooking busy Shem Creek, Charleston native and executive chef-owner Jimmy Purcell delivers fresh seafood and other Lowcountry favorites seven days a week. A committed patron of area waters, farms, and purveyors, he enjoys the rhythm of the seasons and the host of loyal fans who return year after year to dine on local fare with friends and family.
The menu offers abundant choices, including classic shrimp cocktail with special house sauce, crab cakes with rémoulade, fried platters, oysters, paella, and fresh steamed clams. There are generous options for local catch, including grilled mahi-mahi as well as whole crispy flounder that looked festive and fabulous on its way to a nearby table. Pasta dishes and meats include shrimp scampi with penne, hearty prime rib, and—for those who can’t decide between the two—an option pairing a five-ounce filet with the diner’s choice of shrimp, scallops, or oysters.
After winding our way through the happy hour crowd gathering at the adjacent cabana bar, we marveled at the calm, cool quiet that awaited inside. Meandering through natural pine-paneled rooms, we were led to prized seats on the dining porch beside the water. Our server gave a warm welcome and did her best to answer our many questions about the broad menu, sources, and purveyors as we quickly chose appetizers of steamed mussels and crab cakes. The heaping bowl of Prince Edward Island mussels that soon arrived also featured steamed artichokes, roasted red peppers, capers, and a healthy dose of fresh garlic. Finished with grated parmesan, the dish was tasty, though perhaps a little too robust as an appetizer and a better choice as an entrée. The caprese salad of good buffalo mozzarella, plum tomatoes, and fresh basil with balsamic glaze was a pleasant combination. Entrées were quite nice, including the highly recommended almond- and chive-crusted grouper and the Water’s Edge crab cakes. The fish filet was well-cooked, the crushed almond and chive crust delicious with a squeeze of fresh lemon and sides of asparagus and mashed potatoes enhanced with goat cheese and herbs. The perfectly sized crab cakes blended jumbo lump crabmeat with bell peppers and onions. Finished with a golden crumb crust, they came with corn relish, lemon rémoulade, and a tropical fruit chutney. Tasty red rice and a vegetable medley of broccoli, carrots, and onions were served on the side.
We were delighted with the drunken banana dessert, dubbing it the perfect deconstructed adult version of a banana split. It was comprised of a delicate chocolate crepe wrapped around a ripe banana with Myers dark rum caramel drizzle, fresh strawberries, pineapple, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Luscious!
During dinner, we enjoyed the charming dockside parade, including a flock of pelicans foraging their way up the creek, playful dolphins, paddleboarders, kayakers, and the requisite shrimp boats. Our favorite was a meandering johnboat with a fleet of four golden retrievers at the helm, the captain trying to keep them from jumping ship as each passing boat floated by.
A great option for families and group celebrations, Water’s Edge offers a wine list that’s won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence many times over as well as happy hours Monday through Friday. If you’d rather not compete for parking in the popular lot, dockside arrival is available just off of Marker 130 on the Intracoastal Waterway.