Posted on Jan 29, 2014 | 2 comments
Bacon Bros Public House has been open for less than two years, but many people in town have already declared it one of Greenville’s best restaurants. Located on Pelham Road, a 15 minute drive from downtown Greenville, the kitchen at this meat mecca is headed up by Chef Anthony Gray (who previously served as the executive chef at High Cotton in Charleston), while the front of the house is the stomping ground for general manager Jason Callaway, who worked with Chef Gray at Coal Fired Bistro (also located on Pelham Road). As a sommelier and mixologist, Jason is the mastermind behind Bacon Bros’ inventive cocktail list as well as the new reserve wine list offerings. I met these two fellas during my visit to Greenville with Nichole of Gap Creek Gourmet, and was enamored with this duo of fun-loving jokesters.
The food at Bacon Bros is what I’d call farm-to-table, southern-inspired gastrofare–it’s comforting and hearty, and, sure, they’ve got the southern standards covered, but their urbanized approach has upped the ante. Pimento cheese? They serve it up with bacon jam. Mac and cheese? Theirs has bacon and chiles. The burgers? Made with a house-ground mixture of bacon, brisket, and beef chuck. Jonesin for some pulled pork? How bout pulled pork shoulder with cornmeal and country ham waffles (yep, there’s hunks of ham right in the batter), sorghum BBQ sauce, and creamy slaw? It’s awesome, believe you me, and it was my favorite of all the dishes I devoured at Bacon Bros.
When you’re visiting a place with “bacon” in the name, especially one that cures, smokes, and dries all their meats in house, you’d be remiss to pass on the charcuterie offerings. The term “in-house” used here is literal–there’s a glass-enclosed curing room near the rear of the restaurant, where you can see the Bacon Bros pride and joy: all-natural, pasture-raised meats from South Carolina farms, which they pitt smoke with South Carolina peach wood. They even sell packs of their peach wood smoked bacon to-go for $9. How’s that for bringing home the bacon?
There are half a dozen “snacks” (or small plates) on the menu, including tater tots with smoked pork shoulder, sticky bacon caramel popcorn, and cornmeal fried pickles with smoked ranch. I imagine most people come to Bacon Bros to eat themselves to the brink of meat sweats (I know I was successful in this mission), but if salad is your thing there are several interesting options, like the frisee topped with a poached farm-fresh egg, kale with grilled fig and lardo (cured meat) vinaigrette, or arugula with lamb ham, apples, and pistachios.
The menus offers overs half a dozen sandwiches, including a pressed beef tongue sandwich with horseradish and pesto and a pork belly pastrami with fried duck egg. Everything on the menu is over the top–the bolgona sandwich has pimento cheese, pickles, beer mustard, and a potato roll, for god’s sake. I don’t even like bolgona, but I want to eat this sandwich! They’ve also got any kinda of weenie you’d like, from sweet Italian sausage to traditional hotdogs, bratwurst to chorizo.
Did you save room for dessert? How about apple pie with sharp cheddar, orange dreamsicle pound cake, or a chocolate peanut butter cake so dense you’ll need a knife to saw through it?
The menu offerings change seasonally, and Chef Gray is always creating inventive specials, like beef cheek ravioli with orange sweet potato puree, smoked trout soup with celeriac and matchstick apples, and mustard barbecue beef brisket & bologna mac and cheese I slammed at dinner. Each of these dishes were awesome–I’d order each again.
As I mentioned in my first Greenville post, there’s a park area on the Reedy River, right downtown, called Falls Park. It’s a beautiful, undoubtedly romantic area–the perfect location for a quaint French-inspired bistro like Passerelle. Passerelle (French for footbridge), is appropriately located at the foot of the Liberty Bridge. The bistro, which is part of Greenville’s Table 301 restaurant empire, is home to Chef Teryi Youngblood and Sous Chef Drew Erickson, and they’re open for lunch, dinner, and brunch on the weekends.
If it’s a nice day, there is plenty of outdoor seating with fantastic views of the park, but rain or shine, you can’t go wrong with grabbing a seat inside at the Chef’s bar, which gives you a prime vantage point of the small open kitchen. I stopped into Passerelle late one Sunday afternoon, and had the pleasure of watching Chef Drew prepare my entire meal, start to finish.
My meal started with a delightful baked goat cheese. The cheese is mixed with blueberry jam and wrapped in a thin layer of pastry. It’s baked until the cheese is melty and the pastry crispy, and served warm with candied walnuts and pomegranate glaze. The dish was light and delicate while still feeling indulgent. Likewise, the smoked salmon-potato croquettes with horseradish crème fraîche were light (even though they’re fried). I also enjoyed the harvest salad with roasted pumpkin, dried cherries, blue cheese, pumpkin seeds, maple Greek yogurt dressing.
Hands down, my favorite item at the bistro was the Mussels Passerelle–large succulent mussels served in a saffron cream sauce with tomatoes and grilled bread. Since I was in for a late brunch, I also enjoyed the croque madame (grilled ham & Gruyère on country bread topped with Mornay (bechamel) sauce) with frites.
Note these portion sizes are smaller than usual, given Chef Drew (thankfully) prepared sample-sized offerings for my tasting.
How beautiful is this dessert? It’s the flourless chocolate cake, with hazelnut crunch, raspberry coulis, and Chantilly cream. Perfect with a small cup of café.
During my Greenville getaway, I stayed at the Hyatt Regency, which is located downtown, at the north end of Main Street. Once you’re at the Hyatt, you could easily get away without using your car for a whole weekend; everything downtown is within walking distance, including loads of restaurants and shops and delicious ice cream. Roost Restaurant sits right at the foot of the hotel. There’s an entrance off of Main St, but you can also access Roost from inside the hotel. The dramatic high ceilings in the lobby provide for a fun, open-air atrium seating area at the restaurant. The space feels simultaneously earthy and swanky. Given I was staying at the hotel, I naturally stopped into Roost for breakfast one day. Their breakfast buffet is a big hit with hotel guests and business folks in town, and includes all your standard fare: eggs, potatoes, grits, sausage and gravy, fruit, cereal, and baked goods made in-house by the Roost’s own pastry chef. I however could not pass on the build-your-own omelet! It’s only $12 with unlimited fillings and comes with grits or potatoes. My phenomenal selection: chicken sausage, caramelized onion, spinach, oven-dried tomatoes, scallions, and cheddar cheese. It was one of the best omelets I’ve ever had!
Breakfast alone is worth a stop into Roost, but their soil-to-city mission, which focuses on local, organic, and seasonal ingredients, puts them high on my list of places to try for dinner on my next Greenville visit. Any restaurant can claim such commendable goals, but Roost actually lists their farm relationships, including which specific products are sourced locally, right there on their website. I love that!