Restaurant Roundup: Bacon Bros Public House, Passerelle Bistro, & Roost Restaurant {Greenville, SC}

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imageBacon 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.

Bacon Bros - Pulled Pork w Waffles

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?

Bacon Bros -- house-cured meat

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.

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The Palm–Charlotte, NC {restaurant review}

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When I think of The Palm, I envision a fancy New Yorker carrying shopping bags in one hand as she hails a cab with the other on her way to (insert pretentious voice here) “lunch at the Palm.

So, when I first got the invitation to come in and try out the Palm, I ignored it.  I’m in Charlotte, the Palm is in New York City.  A couple of weeks later, I received a second invitation right when I was coincidentally preparing for a weekend trip to NYC.  After mapping out the location of the Palm in Manhattan in relation to where I was staying, I began drafting a response email.  But just before I hit send, something caught my eye.  The invite was for the Palm in Charlotte.  What the what?  There’s a Palm in Charlotte??

Lesson #1:  read emails thoroughly before archiving, deleting, and/or replying.

When people ask me for restaurant recommendations  I often joke about avoiding four-dollar-sign restaurants.  In my book, $$$$ means special occasions only.  Luckily, I had a reason celebrate!  My mom was in town for the weekend, and it was the perfect opportunity to get fancied up for a girls’ night at The Palm.

the palm charlotte cocktail

As we walked into the restaurant, I felt a little apprehensive.  I still had the glamorous New Yorker image in my head, and I was wearing Gap flats after all, not Jimmy Choos.  All these anxious feelings melted away as soon as I approached the hostess.  From her smiling face, to the jolly restaurant managers, to the walls covered with caricatures of famous North Carolinians, it felt warm and welcoming, not the slightest bit hoity toity.

Lesson #2:  never judge a restaurant by what you’ve seen in the movies

Once seated, we were promptly served one of the best bread baskets I’ve ever laid my paws on:  a trio of breads locally sourced from Great Harvest Bread Company.  There was raisin bread, whole white bread, and my personal favorite:  the Dakota Bread with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and millet.

Mom and I were in the mood for some seafood, so we started with the Colossal Lump Crabmeat Cocktail ($24).  After we both verbally affirmed our passion for horseradish, mom dropped a heaping spoonful into the cocktail sauce.  I waited as she took her first bite.  She was speechless, her eyes closed, her face quickly turning red.  I waited for some sort of sign…  Was it good?   Was it bad?  Was she choking???  When a smile stretched across her face, I took a piece of crab, dunked it in the doctored cocktail sauce, and popped it into my mouth.  And that’s when I realized it wasn’t just any old horseradish.  It was atomic.  Breathtaking, nose-hair-burning, atomic horseradish.  It was fantastic.

Along with the crab, we enjoyed the bacon wrapped scallops ($16).  Though the bacon wasn’t especially flavorful, the balsamic and basil reduction served for dipping was the perfect tangy pairing for the scallops.

the palm charlotte bacon wrapped scallops

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