Fresh Reviews #8: Southern Culture

17 Jun

AND bar.

Gin’s a special, special thing, readers.  I always likened it to a classy lady (or gentleman).  Treat him/her right, and you’ll have the time of your life.  Treat her/him wrong, i.e. mixing it in the wrong drink or drinking too much, and you’ll wake up with a fistful of disappointment.  I did the latter, and I paid for it.  Dearly.

So as I’ve done so many times in the past, I decided to remedy my situation with a little brunch, and extra-luckily for me, I was told in a series of enthusiastic hand gestures and demands that I had to go to Southern Culture in Greenville, SC.  I decided to listen, mainly because I was already in Greenville, but also because I was really goddamned hungry.

The first thing you’ll probably notice about the place is how different the inside is from the outside.  It’s nestled in an utterly bare strip mall across from a Home Depot, giving you little reason to suspect anything more than tables, chairs, and maybe an overly-friendly server named “Chip” with way too many buttons pinned to the novelty pair of suspenders he picked up at Spencer’s the day before.

Assuming you did, in fact, have that exact same vision as me, you’d be dead wrong.  The decor is heavily muted and understated, utilizing plenty of dark woods and metals.  The light was dim so as not to offend the hungover (me) and zombie-like (also me) amongst the diners, and it was topped off with a brick fireplace flanked by a pleasantly-sized wine rack and an intimidating array of Bloody Mary-making materials at the bar.

The back patio was even more impressive, and had so much rustic furniture it would’ve given Martha Stewart a wet dream several times over.  Have fun imagining that one, kids.  It basically looked like a Pier 1 catalog shoot was happening in an infinite loop, with plenty of “non-traditional” seating options (read: couches), more of that excellent hardwood from before, and even a freaking corrugated metal waterfall.  It was, in a word, nice.  

But the food was nicer, and that’s really what you care about, so I’ll talk about that some too.  Sorry to Tolkien-up that description up there, but c’mon, atmosphere’s important.  I’m setting the tone, here.  It’s a writing thing.

I started with the deviled crab eggs.  Tasty, pretty flavorful, and you get some good-sized chunks of everyone’s favorite water-borne crustacean in every bite; they don’t skimp on the good stuff.  I will say that the prosciutto the eggs were topped with was a very deliberate, and very good choice, because without that salty bite starting things off the deviled part can be a bit bland.  But a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is just a pile of goopy crap without the bread, so judging it without one of the ingredients is kind of a moot point.

Onto the Gramma’s Revenge, a sandwich that both sounded and tasted like an unusually reliable rollercoaster.  It consisted of fried chicken, bacon, lettuce, red onion, tomato, a dijon honey mustard, and a fried egg, all lying in wait between what I believed to be two cornmeal waffles (the menu didn’t specify what they were made of, it just screamed at me, dared me to order it, and called me an “America-hating commie” when I hesitated to do so).  And it was good.  It was very, very good.  Aside from the obvious reasons (those reasons being everything I just listed), and it’s “I laugh in the face of sanity and heart disease” size, what really impressed me about this sandwich was how well it held together while I was eating it.  Most of these monstrously-sized beasts tend to fall apart under the stress of their own weight, particularly when you add something as volatile and messy as a fried egg in there.  But not ONCE did I have to restructure the damned thing, or resort to using a fork and knife, even after passing it to a friend for an errant bite or three.  I suspect the cornmeal in the waffles is what helped it keep its delicious shape, and assuming that’s the case, it was a real good call on the chef’s part.  You just get a better eating experience when all the ingredients stay in line, and they certainly did so here.  Bravo.

The frozen lemonade pie came last, despite what I ate in that last paragraph (look, I don’t know the next time I’ll be in freaking Greenville, cut me a break here), and it was every bit as delicious as it sounds.  Well, almost as delicious as it sounds: I had to take a few points off for the crust; it was a bit more crumbly than I would’ve liked, despite it being a graham cracker crust.  But the rest of it was spot on, and I’ll be damned if the thing didn’t actually taste frozen, and not just like a cold lemon pie.  I don’t know how they did it, but there’s somehow an icy flavor to it, if such a thing exists.  It was the perfect end to a nigh-perfect brunch.

I’m hoping to check out the main menu if I get a chance to get back, but for now, check it out yourself at the address at the bottom.  I’ll check you lovely readers out next time.

2537 North Pleasantburg Drive, ​

Greenville, SC 29609.


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