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South Carolina Cuisine


wcmckinney
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Up to my earmuffs right now, kiddies, in the kind of work that puts a crust of challah on my table. But, you may be sure that I will be back with you ASAP with my highly debatable picks of the spiciest and greasiest in greater (?) Greenville, probably the only issue on which County Council and I agree. :wacko:

"A worm that lives in a horseradish thinks it's sweet because it's never lived inside an apple." - My Mother

"Don't grow up to be an educated idiot." - My Father

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Yikes, I am more tempted to post about Greenville County politics than I am about Upstate Kuchen. Poinsett Club has some top-notch corn sticks. Pita House may not have the best flafel in the world, but it maybe the best outside of Lebanon. I am also thankful that one of the few Backyard Burgers in SC or NC happens to be in Greenville. I think the best BBQ in Greenville right now is a toss up between Big Dave (a gentle soul) and Bucky's (Pecan wood). Henry's Smokehouse is Henry's Smokehouse, but I prefer those two spots...

You know with the Beacon: I find it stale. I know they serve alot of tea, I know it is a "must" for folks traveling through Spartanburg, I know Buzz White and his family worked like fiends to make it something special, and I know that they serve entire fried catfish one on top of the other when you order catfish, but everything there seems to taste prepackaged to me. I hear Sugar N Spice in Spartanburg is of the same genre and a little better, and I also read good things about Woodard's in S-burg though I am embarassed to say I have never been to either one.

William McKinney aka "wcmckinney"
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Found this while looking at the Southeast Forum and reviewing older threads.

eG thread on Greenville cuisine

Anyone ever been to a place known for its New South cuisine, Soby's?

From their website

Soby's menu draws on the culinary traditions of the South, from Virginia to New Orleans, with particular focus on coastal Carolina. Starting with fresh, seasonal ingredients, often from local farmers and producers, our chefs transform these Old South favorites into something fresh and new and Ohhhhhhhh my, you've got to try it for yourself to know what we're talking about.

What makes New South cuisine appealing to the locals? Is this likely to replace the "Old South" cooking so many remember with nostalgia?

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Anyone ever been to a place known for its New South cuisine, Soby's?

I tread cautiously when I say anything even tentatively critical of Soby's, because it does typically serve an excellent meal, has become a deserved Greenville icon, and the Sobocinskis are such gracious contributors to the community.

The issue is consistency. I have eaten there enough to know that sometimes the food is outrageously good and other times just mediocre. Likewise, sometimes the portions are magnanimously generous, while other times they have left us with, "Now, where do you want to go for dinner?"

Fortunately, the flubs are relatively few and will not stand in the way of return visits.

I'd like to say the same for another (heretofore?) favorite, Bistro Europa. After years of consistently good, even creative, certainly generous, meals, on our last two visits the place tanked. A point-by-point critique? Let's just say that the "roasted corn salad" was undressed corn right from the Green Giant (Winn-Dixie?) can. They get one more chance.

I would not even walk in to Ristorante Bergamo after my first couple of visits. Iddy-biddy, nondescript food, outrageously priced. Rarely a soul in the place. I do not know who is fronting for them.

Finally, 33 Liberty . . . AH, AH, AH! Nobody does it better!

"A worm that lives in a horseradish thinks it's sweet because it's never lived inside an apple." - My Mother

"Don't grow up to be an educated idiot." - My Father

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Max Heller is a good soul who stands up for good things.

Rabbi Ribeye, where are some good fishfries in the Greenville area? I would be keen to sample their wares the next time I am back in God's Country.

I second the request for this information. I'm in Clemson, so any fish camp between Greenville and Atlanta would interest me.

morda

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the thing about socar is they believe the old saying is true: I would rather be poor in Charleston than rich in Columbia and dead in Charleston than alive in Greenville. The folks on the coast look down on the "up staters" and that dislike is some what mutual. The folks in Charleston do not believe that any thing worth having can be found on the other side of the city limits and most will tell you so.

We used to get to Gr'ville several times a year and have had some excellent meals there. We have also had some dubious meals there. The same applies to Cola. Charleston is a situation unto itself. Like many tourist oriented cities the restaurants must play to the tourist trade in order to stay in business. Some do so while serving excellent food. Others play to the tourist period. For that matter the same rules apply to restaurants that must rely on the local trade in order to stay open. They must offer what the locals want and some times that is not "haute cuisine" or white table cloths or even great food. I live in metro Atlanta about five miles fr/ the interstate. I pass over 100 restaurants between the interstate and my house (I kid you not I actually counted one day while stuck in traffic) and maybe 15 of them are independent and well over half of those are Mexican.

As for Greenville we discovered 33 Liberty a couple of years ago--back when it was known as Culinary Capers--and enjoyed it immensely. John and his wife are to be commended for their work there. Soby's was good but nothing spectacular. (They seemed to be more creativity in the naming, combinations, and ingredients than in the actual preparation and cooking but I have eaten there only twice and the food was good just not spectacular nor up to what I was led to expect.) The chef at Seven Oaks, Elizabeth, I think, left there to open La Boheme and the food was very good. I hope the place is still open. If any one is in the area I would love to know. There is also a great sandwich/pizza place/beer place in d/t that we try to visit whenever we are there. I can get there but can not remember the name at all. Nothing upscale by any stretch but it is good, simple, and decent food.

We have not had an opportunity to return to Gr'ville in a while and need to get back there to review things. The fact that they can keep their down town thriving and have actually worked to re-open places like the Poinsett Hotel deserves kudos.

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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Barley's Tap Room, the name of the beerzaria Downtown is alive and well, as is La Boheme off Edwards Mill Rd. (conveniently nestled behind the K-Mart on Wade Hampton). Poinsett Hotel's restaurant has always looked nice, and I think they scored a good cook from a Louisville Hotel to do the cooking there. Sadly though, I have never had the chance to dine there...

William McKinney aka "wcmckinney"
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Thx for the information mwmckinney. It is good to hear that La Boheme is doing well. I always liked the chef there. She did a great job at Seven Oaks and I am glad she is doing well.

We make it a point to visit Barley's at least once a trip over there and always enjoy way too many of the numerous beers on tap. Luckily we stay d/t so it is a matter of simply stumbling down the sidewalk.

I would love to get a review of the restaurant at the Poinsett. It was not open the last time we were there and I am quite interested in how they are doing.

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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Will be going to Brevard up I-26 this weekend and must admit The Beacon looks to be right up my alley (e.g., if I were unfamiliar with Atlanta I would want to be directed to The Varsity, even though it's gut-wrenching food). Would anyone recommend a better choice for an aging grease lover traveling with a more discerning spouse and two young-uns whose tastes are 1. open to new experiences and 2. won't eat it unless its name is hot dog? Greenville would be better, but Spartanburg's OK, too. For that matter, anyone have a suggestion for Brevard (yeah, I know it's a different State)?

"Eat at Joe's."

- Joe

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Will be going to Brevard up I-26 this weekend and must admit The Beacon looks to be right up my alley (e.g., if I were unfamiliar with Atlanta I would want to be directed to The Varsity, even though it's gut-wrenching food). Would anyone recommend a better choice for an aging grease lover traveling with a more discerning spouse and two young-uns whose tastes are 1. open to new experiences and 2. won't eat it unless its name is hot dog? Greenville would be better, but Spartanburg's OK, too. For that matter, anyone have a suggestion for Brevard (yeah, I know it's a different State)?

if you venture any where near Anderson you must hit Skin Thrasher's for hot dogs.

They are not too far fr/ Greenville and are renowned for hot dogs. Methinks they steam them in beer but they will not tell you.

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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Just a general note on some of the earlier discussions having just returned from a weekend in Charleston and having eaten at the Charleston Grill.

Is Charleston overly touristy these days? Yes, probably so. But I did not find my meal at Charleston Grill to be either over-hyped or over-priced. Was it expensive? Yes, of course. Was it the best, most creative and imaginary food I've ever had? No, I had to pay Charlie Trotter far more to have tomatoe ice cream for that honor. But our meal at Charleston Grill was excellent, the menu, especially the specials, had some nice, unique selections and the service was exceptional. If trying too hard is a crime, I wish more of the restaurants in the Triangle area would get locked up. My point is that while the scene may be over-hyped by some standards, I don't think it deserves quite the thrashing as above.

Finally, on a related note about Louis Osteen, this probably is not fair since it was my only time eating there but back when Louis was in Charleston my wife and I received the worst service in his restaurant we have ever experienced, bar none. I'm not sure if it involved Louis' wife or a glorified hostess-manager or what but basically our waiter had come over to greet us and tell us about the specials, etc. and this woman came over and audibly instructed him not to wait on "these people" until he responded to some trivial question or request from what was apparently one of their regular loud and obnoxious customers. Both the waiter and hostess walked away, the waiter in mid-presentation, without so much as a word and he didn't return for several minutes. No apology or anything. It was truly bizarre. My biggest regret is that we didn't leave after that. Our food was very good but nothing worth that kind of insult. As I said, I suppose that isn't fair based on one limited experience so long ago but it was really inexcusable in my book and I have tried to publicize the incident widely. I sincerely hope Louis has solved such attitude issues at the new restaurant.

Edited by Guilty Gourmand (log)
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Does anyone have any suggestions for some laidback drinking spots in Downtown Greenville? I'm going to be there over the weekend and I don't know the area very well. I figured any tips I could get here may match my tastes a little better than some alternative press "Best of" article I might find on the internet. (or maybe not.) Anyway, what bars do you guys like in downtown Greenville?

Sorry if this should be in another thread, but it seemed like the discussion had already touched on Greenville bars a bit, so I figured you guys might be pretty helpful.

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Anyone ever been to a place known for its New South cuisine, Soby's?

I tread cautiously when I say anything even tentatively critical of Soby's, because it does typically serve an excellent meal, has become a deserved Greenville icon, and the Sobocinskis are such gracious contributors to the community.

The issue is consistency. I have eaten there enough to know that sometimes the food is outrageously good and other times just mediocre. Likewise, sometimes the portions are magnanimously generous, while other times they have left us with, "Now, where do you want to go for dinner?"

Fortunately, the flubs are relatively few and will not stand in the way of return visits.

Hasn't changed much since I left, then. I enjoyed Soby's food. Not world class by any stretch of the imagination, but pretty dang good. And it was a thrill to see someone trying to stretch out a little in Greenville. But they had consistency problems from the beginning. I haven't eaten there in about six years, so it's a disappointment to hear that it's still happening.

I would not even walk in to Ristorante Bergamo after my first couple of visits.  Iddy-biddy, nondescript food, outrageously priced.  Rarely a soul in the place.  I do not know who is fronting for them.

Wow, as I've mentioned, it's been a while since I've been back, but Bergamo was spectacular the couple of times I ate there. Of course I wasn't as experienced with high-end dining as I am now. Not that I'm any grand sophisticate, but I've at least had more opportunity to sample great food over the last several years and have a better baseline for comparison. Either they've gone downhill or I'm a rube. Probably both! :rolleyes:

Finally, 33 Liberty . . .  AH, AH, AH!  Nobody does it better!

My parents still live in Greenville. I'll have to see if they've eaten there. Sounds great.

Take care,

Chad

Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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Just a general note on some of the earlier discussions having just returned from a weekend in Charleston and having eaten at the Charleston Grill.

Is Charleston overly touristy these days?  Yes, probably so.  But I did not find my meal at Charleston Grill to be either over-hyped or over-priced.  Was it expensive?  Yes, of course.  Was it the best, most creative and imaginary food I've ever had?  No, I had to pay Charlie Trotter far more to have tomatoe ice cream for that honor.  But our meal at Charleston Grill was excellent, the menu, especially the specials, had some nice, unique selections and the service was exceptional.  If trying too hard is a crime, I wish more of the restaurants in the Triangle area would get locked up.  My point is that while the scene may be over-hyped by some standards, I don't think it deserves quite the thrashing as above.

Yep, you can get a good meal in Charleston. You can even get a damn good meal in Charleston. There are some restaurants serving truly fine food. What I object to is the general attitute (not yours, it's a SC self-esteem problem that has spread) that there is no worthwhile food in South Carolina unless you're dining in Charleston. That's like telling a first-time visitor to the United States that there's nothing worth seeing on their visit unless they go to Disney World.

I've eaten at the Charleston Grill. It was damn good. As was my meal at 82 Queen and a couple of other places. The experience and atmosphere are a big part of the package, no doubt. But the meals were no better than I've had at plenty of other restaurants.

Ah, heck. I'm probably being too hard on the place. Chalk it up to a distinct aversion to being packed elbow to elbow with pasty people in plaid Bermuda shorts.:laugh::laugh:

Finally, on a related note about Louis Osteen, this probably is not fair since it was my only time eating there but back when Louis was in Charleston my wife and I received the worst service in his restaurant we have ever experienced, bar none.  I'm not sure if it involved Louis' wife or a glorified hostess-manager or what but basically our waiter had come over to greet us and tell us about the specials, etc. and this woman came over and audibly instructed him not to wait on "these people" until he responded to some trivial question or request from what was apparently one of their regular loud and obnoxious customers.  Both the waiter and hostess walked away, the waiter in mid-presentation, without so much as a word and he didn't return for several minutes.  No apology or anything.  It was truly bizarre.  My biggest regret is that we didn't leave after that.  Our food was very good but nothing worth that kind of insult.  As I said, I suppose that isn't fair based on one limited experience so long ago but it was really inexcusable in my book and I have tried to publicize the incident widely.  I sincerely hope Louis has solved such attitude issues at the new restaurant.

Holy Crap, what a horror story. I'd be pissed, too. I can tell you, however, that the meal I had last week at Louis's ranks among the best I've ever eaten. And the service was exemplary. Attentive without hovering, extremely knowledgeable and gracious in the extreme -- even when accommodating some pretty weird questions and requests. Full meal report in a new post sometime today.

Take care,

Chad

Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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Downtown Charlie Brown in Greenville. There are some issues about having a bar in downtown and what qualifies as a bar and what is a restaurant....This is really here nor there, but one of the laws you might keep in mind is that no liquor drinks are allowed on any of the outside patio (read sidewalk) seating areas.

That being said: Connoleys, the Irish place on East Court St. (I think, behind the Family Court building) is always hopping. Barley's as noted, as good beer selections. Sitting out at the Bistro Europa or going to Soby's would probably have a good scene as well. Corner Pocket on Coffee St. is good for pool and people watching.

As a caveat: Alot of folks out in Greenville are from the provinces (Pickens, Pelzer, Pelham, etc.). I can not vouch for them.

Noting an earlier post on eating at Louis's and bad service: I have had some spotty service at times, especially on the pavilion, but the authenticity and care that typically goes into the cooking make up for these things. Having spent my 22 summers going to the beach in the area, having ANY restaurant in the area that expands beyond frying the menu is more than welcome.

William McKinney aka "wcmckinney"
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Chad,

Thanks very much for your reply and your review of Louis. It certainly sounds fantastic and I'm glad to hear that things are running smoothly--Louis' skillset deserves to be showcased by such fine service and management. Although it may be awhile before I can bring myself to visit, it certainly made my mouth drool.

Also, please do provide more info on your relatives' upscale restaurant in Durham as it becomes available.

Wcmckinney,

Having grown up in coastal NC, I share your appreciation for any restaurant that offers a selection beyond the standard fried seafood platter; however, our experience at Louis's was when it was in Charleston and was more than just spotty service. Our treatment was really abhorable, at best. We thought about protesting at the time but there didn't seem to be any point as it was the manager who was responsible for the bad service. I don't mean to beat a dead horse but I'm still completely mystified. My wife and I made reservations well in advance, arrived promptly, were well dressed (coat and tie) and were prepared to spend a good bit of money that night. I suppose we were obviously tourists generally there for a one-time experience and, in hindsight, it was shortly before the restaurant closed so maybe that played into it to some degree. While I'm willing to cut anyone some slack for having an off night what we experienced was rude and insulting. I promise to move on now and am glad to hear that Pawleys Island has such a fine dining alternative.

Edited by Guilty Gourmand (log)
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