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Aug 13, 2007 08:45 AM

High Cotton, G'ville SC: brunch

Is this the biggest restaurant in Greenville? I don't see how it can NOT be. 3 levels. It's a beautiful space, God knows what money was spent on this restuarant. I had heard some less than stellar reviews, so I didn't want to waste a meal or the money on dinner, but I gave it a whirl for Brunch yesterday.

There are a lot of somewhat creative choices for drinks. The wine list looked pretty good, and I noted they have my favorite go-to wine, Caymus Conundrum by the glass for $10. I'll be back for that that, even if I don't actually EAT there again. Yesterday, though, I had the watermelon mohito, because I'm in a mohito mood lately. It was only so-so, not enough watermelon juice, way too much rum, in too small a glass.

The bread basket (faux sweet grass) was disappointingly corn bread. I ordered a side of buttermilk biscuits ($3) as a starter. They came already split, and soaked like a sponge in butter about 1/2 deep. Since I cook, I know how much butter it would take to soak that much into a biscuit and I was appalled. I picked at the non-soaked bits of one until my husband asked the waitress if they had any that weren't pre-buttered. She said "no" and then told me "well, they're butter biscuits". Prior to getting that bit of atttude, I was shy about complaining...but no more, I opened up the biscuit and made her look at the butter-sponge. She eventually brought me a plain biscuit. It was fair, a bit heavy and had a slightly burned flavor.

The menu had lots of great looking options. Shrimp and grits, a shrimp and lobster crepe w/ leeks and shitakes, a peanut butter and choc chip pancake, and what I eventually selected, deviled crab benedict. The attractive dish was two fried green tomatoes, topped with a crab cake, topped w/ a gorgeous poached egg, toped w/ red pepper hollandaise. Anson Mills grits served along side.

Sounds great, doesn't it? Well, it was OK, but it missed being great because it was SOOOO greasy. The fried green tomatoes were , in reality, about 1/8 inch slice of tomato with 1/4 inch of greasy breading. The crab cakes were about 1/4 inch high, so that the fried exterior was the main thing you tasted. The eggs were great...I wish someone would teach me to poach eggs like that. The grits were an unrecognizable puddle of goo on the plate. No texture or taste other than cream and butter and maybe some cheese.

I didn't try my husband's dish, he called it a "grease omlette", so I didn't feel the need.

What IS it with restaurant food? Am I the only one that would rather NOT have my food drowned in butter/cream/unidentified oily substance?

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  1. I wholeheartedly agree about the massive amounts of oil/butter/fat/cream/cheese in most restaurant food. It is an easy shortcut to flavor to douse a dish with fat. If a chef can make a dish (without the above mentioned) taste good, he has talent.

    That is a shame about the food at High Cotton though. Their Sunday Brunch here in Charleston is usually quite good even without the original chef. He went to Greenville to open the new restaurant. I try to branch out but usually end up with the BBQ duck hash and a glass of the Conundrum.

    Hope they get better.

    1. That sounds horrible!! I still haven't ventured in for food - too many people I know are still complaining. I came close to doing a seat at the bar on Friday with some apps - but am very glad I passed. On a side note (and more in line with non-greasy food) - have you been to American Grocery yet?

      5 Replies
      1. re: ap65065

        I'm dying to. We walked past it Sunday morning in hopes of brunch, but alas, dinner only, Tues-Sat. I don't get out in Greenville much in the evening for various reasons, so it may be a while before I get to try it. Another problem - the prices. Good Grief, why is it necessary to be so expensive? I think a restaurant that is going for the kind of fresh/local thing they are after should price themselves as a "neighborhood" restaurant, not a special occasion place. Maybe I'm just out of touch, but you don't see prices like that in Asheville...where the food is generally better.

        The fruit farm I regularly attend, Purdue's, had a postcard from American Grocery on the counter this weekend and said the chef buys his fruit there, so maybe the "local" patter is more than just PR. Please let me know what you think if you go.

        1. re: danna

          I agree with the prices, but with their background is from a pretty well known restaurant in LA - I'm hoping it's worth it. They had a list of their "farmer's" in an article in the Journal a few weeks ago..lots and lots of local farmers. I have high hopes and will let you know once I go (I have a 6 week rule for new restaurants, you know, to get the kinks out).

          1. re: danna


            Can you tell me more about American Grocery? I haven't been downtown in a couple of months so I am not aware of this it new? Last dinner downtown was to Oysters on the West End....went on Tuesday for the all you can eat crab legs!

            1. re: ps1

              It's very new...weeks, I think. Keep heading down Main like you were going to the ballpark, it's on the right. The only thing else I know is that their website is

              Please post a review if you go. For that matter, I'd love to hear a review of Lazy Goat and the Brazillian steakhouse (Rio?) it's easy to get behind as many new places as are cropping up lately.

              1. re: danna

                I am new to the area having only lived in Greenville a few months, but I have had the pleasure of dining at American Grocery. I went in one night during their second week opened and was delightfully impressed with the interior space. It felt very comfortable, which is always a plus, and it is upscale yet casual, which I tend to prefer.

                As for the food, I decided to go with a tasting menu. First off I give the restaurant a big thumbs up for their portion sizes. Too often I go out to eat at nicer places and feel as if I am paying too much for the portion size I am given, but I did not feel that way at all. I also loved that a small "grocery" list was presented to the table stating where each item came from. I was thrilled to see that this restaurant was actually following through with their idea of using local, fresh ingredients (Happy Cow Milk, Izzy's Tomatoes, Eric's Eggs... just to name a few).

                Perhaps my favorite dish of the night was the duck dish which was prepared perfectly and paired with a carrot puree, lima beans, and corn. Now at first I felt that I would not like this dish, being that I'm not a big fan of lima beans, but the flavors together were really great.

                I won't go into too much detail about all 5 of my courses, but I would recommend that if you enjoy fresh, flavorful, wholesome dishes that you should definitely give American Grocery a try.

                I will definitely be going back sometime in the near future because as I understand their menu is going to change frequently with whatever fresh produce/meats/fish are available at the time.