This weekend is Restaurant Week in South Carolina. In towns around the state participating restaurants are offering special deals on limited menu items so that people will be enticed to try a new place. Having been cooped up with snow all week, we decided to take advantage of this, so Sunday evening we met our friends Karen and Herman at The Green Room on Main Street.
The Green Room has been open for about a year or so now in the space that was once occupied by the Paris Cafe. That’s really about all I know about it, and their website isn’t much more forthcoming.
The Green Room purports to be “Upstate Casual,” whatever that means. The walls are brick with local art work, and a large bar with dark wood tones dominates most of the space. Several booth/tables line the remaining space, and there is sidewalk seating outside for nicer days. It was relatively quiet this Sunday, with a few dinner patrons and a few people at the bar watching the football game. I have passed by on nice weekends when this place was hopping, so I know it’s not quiet all the time.
Herman had made reservations, and we were able to get one of the best tables – one of two in the windows that look out over the street.
Since this was a special situation, we were ordering from a limited menu. We had our choice of three starters, three main dishes, and three desserts for $30 each. Drinks were not included in the special pricing (of course.) On their normal menu they have about ten starters from $9 – $12, and a small variety of meat main courses starting at $18 for a chicken dish and going as high as $34 for the filet. In this case, “casual” does not equal “inexpensive.” There is also a breakfast and lunch menu.
Since there were four of us we were able to try several things on the menu. We did order from the special menu, though, rather than the regular menu. For starters, Karen and I ordered the long-stemmed artichoke, and Laura and Herman ordered the salad. The artichoke was not quite what I expected. It was deep-fried with a pepper aoili sauce. It was OK, but the breading was rather thick and tended to obscure the flavor of the artichoke itself. The sauce helped. By all reports the salads were excellent, with a warm bacon vinaigrette dressing.
Once again Karen and I matched our orders for the main course by selecting a braised lamb shank with polenta and baby carrots. Herman got pork chops with garlic mashed potatoes and spinach, and Laura ordered flounder with a lima bean succotash. The lamb flavors were subtle, albeit a bit greasy. The polenta was OK, but improved when combined with the au jus from the lamb. Herman and Laura both praised their selections. Laura said that the flounder was very light and tasty, and one of the best dishes she had in quite awhile. She even finished off the succotash, even though she’s not a huge fan of lima beans. THAT is saying a lot.
For dessert once we one more time split the table, with Karen and I ordering a mint chocolate chip pound cake, and Laura and Herman ordering a blueberry cheesecake. The cake was slightly grilled or toasted, and was not very sweet. It would have been too dry if not for the dollop of creme anglaise on top. I really couldn’t taste the mint in it. It was good, but I think the winner was the blueberry cheese cake. This was a small round cheesecake topped with blueberries, rather than the traditional slice.
Our waitress was spacey at times, but overall service was good. Things arrived on time, but not too fast, leaving lots of time for conversation.
My meal was good, but it wasn’t the best I’ve had at a nice restaurant in Greenville. The flavors never quite measured up to the descriptions nor my expectations. Others really enjoyed theirs, though. Based on that, I think I just made the wrong selections. I think I would like to come back and try something from their regular menu. However, this place does tend to be rather pricey, and we would want to wait until a special occasion to give it another shot.