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Greenville , SC random food updates

I finally tried Sweet Basil Thai on Pelham and 14 a couple of weeks ago and was amazed at how much I liked it. Loved the whole snapper in a sweet/spicy glaze and wish I could have tried the soft shell crab in green curry.

Swamp Rabbit Grocery in west greenville has a few really nice products. Local lettuces are gorgeous, and there will be other random veggies: spinach, brussel sprouts, radishes, etc. It's like a tiny, slice of a real farmer's market, something Greenville hasn't had much of. AND the owner is a fabulous baker. I've had whoopie pie, marble mini-pound cake, and some other sweets that were good, but her baguettes are going on my no-buy list because I can't consume less than the entire thing. Way more flavor than say the Whole Foods baguettes. She posts pics on the FB page and they tempt me greatly.

I've been told that Scratch Meals is closing on Friday.

There's a place on Wade Hampton called Campo Bello that is simple red-sauce italian. I'm not saying it's particularly good, but it's retro and they're friendly and they're opened a lot. I had dinner there on a Sunday evening recently when 95% of g'ville restaurants were closed.

The Owl has now opened on Wade Hampton toward the Community Tap end. I haven't been yet, but I'm awfully eager to hear some reviews if any of you have.

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  1. Danna, have you tried the new Mongolian place where Doc Chey's Greenville used to be? Is it a chain or what?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jeff C.

      I haven't tried it . I'm pretty sure it's a chain. My best friend went with her family and was so appalled by the prospect of selecting raw meat from a salad bar -type set-up and then delivering it in a bowl to the cooking station that she faked an illness and didn't eat. I'm not usually that squemish, but honestly, her description has put me off it. If you try it and discover my buddy was misguided , let me know.

      1. re: danna

        My daughter and son-in-law live in Simpsonville. They tried it the other night and liked it. The concept is new to me, however. I've been to places where raw ingredients are grilled on a small hibachi embedded in the table or tableside--by them or by you, your choice. But that's not how this one works apparently.

    2. More: Has anyone been to Mekong? The edible upcountry mag has a piece on this Wade Hampton restaurant, and it sound fantastic.

      BTW, I picked that mag up while getting take out from Tortillaria Maria. I'm having a hard time not eating this entire huge serving at my desk. Todays special: blackbeans, tofu, almond rice w/ tomato/onion/cilantro salsa. It's good! Plus I had a fresh orange/lemon/kiwi/flaxseed juice...so now I'm full of healthy food except I ate about 3 times more calories that a person my size should have !

      3 Replies
      1. re: danna

        I have been to Mekong twice, it's more amazing than it sounds! I know hard to believe! The steamed duck bun is out of this world delicious! Love the service, they don't hover and watch you eat, that always makes me self-conscious. Combination Pho is very tasty, yummy tender tripe is involved along with some other meat. Very inexpensive, I ate there with my boyfriend and we both walked out perfectly full and only spent about $25. It's a must try, and hey if you don't like it at least it was cheap, right?

        1. re: Ojee847

          that reminds me, we drove around the back of Mekong on the way out of the parking lot, and discovered they have herbs growing in buckets back there. cool!

          1. re: danna

            We saw that too!! Forgot to mention that, good thing you remembered!! I think that is so so cool!

      2. Glad you mentioned Swamp Rabbit. They keep their food simple and honest...baked goods are delish...sometimes soups could do w/ a bit more seasoning/salt - but that's an easy fix.

        1. Wife, daugher, son-in-law, and I tried Sweet Basil on Saturday. We sampled the Basil Roll app., Panang Salmon, Ginger Seafood, Three-Season Snapper, and Pad Thai dishes. All were unformly excellent, as was the service. Thanks for the recommendation, Danna.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Jeff C.

            I love Sweet Basil and were sad they sold their Heywood Road location to someone else. The end of Pelham Road is a bit of a trek for us.

            I posted a brief report on the Owl last week. I really enjoyed my meal there; I think they have their liquor license now. I had a crispy pork dish with a waffle, poached egg, sherry-based sauce...there were a couple of other things on that plate too but I can't recall exactly what they were. I mixed it all together and it was yummy.

            Campo Bello has this great flounder dish--lemon flounder?--something like that--very delicious. Other than that, I prefer Moretti's for my Italian-American fix. They make their own ravioli and their own sausage; they marinate beef and make their own rolls for beef on weck and they have a killer roast pork loin sandwich, which they serve on the same homemade weck rolls. Really garlicky pork sandwich on a soft homemade roll, covered with caraway seeds. I'm salivating thinking of it.

            1. re: jjsouth

              how is the heywood location now? not as good as Sweet Basil it appears from your comment, but is it better than average? We like Lemongrass fairly well, had a pretty terrible meal at ThaiCoon in TR last month.

              Where is Moretti's? sounds goods!

              I can't wait to try the Owl, although I had a review from a friend who ran into some serious attitude problems there. How was your service?

              Jeff, I'm so pleased and relieved that you enjoyed Sweet Basil!

              1. re: danna

                The Heywood Road location is still a Thai restaurant and looks exactly the same inside, but has a different name (which I can't remember!), and clearly a different cook. I found the quality of the food much to be desired, but the wait staff were so sweet, I hate to say bad things about them...I wouldn't go back, but we may have hit them on a bad night.

                Moretti's is on Butler Road in Mauldin, right off of 385--if you're heading away from downtown on 385, take the Butler Road exit, turn right on Butler, and it's on the right after about a quarter mile. They used to be located on Pelham Road, but moved and now have a much bigger restaurant with a bar attached. I think it's a great little restaurant masquerading as a pizza place. The pizza is wonderful, but as I mentioned above they go way beyond the norm for other items on the menu. I also love their eggplant parmesan...buffalo chicken pizza...Buffalo fish fry...in fact I've never had anything I hadn't loved. It's not fancy, but all of the food is delicious. Moretti's, Flat Rock Bakery and West First have the only decent pizza in the area, IMHO.

                Attitude at the Owl: we had fabulous service, but we were there early on a Saturday night, so they didn't have much to do. In fact I think every single person working that night waited on us, which we found charming. They were extremely, and I mean extremely, anxious to please.

                We are thrilled that a reasonably priced and chef-driven restaurant has opened near us, and one not owned by a restaurant group that is trying to present every national trend on one menu. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just not our thing. I complain to my husband all of the time about the food scene in Greenville--why, oh why can't we be more like Asheville--and this restaurant is clearly trying to be more like Asheville, so I plan to support that. Also, it's very cheap. And heaven knows, I'm cheap.

                If you like bread, get yourself on the list for Simple Gifts Artisan Breads. David Miller is a baker at Bob Jones University who has a sideline baking wood-fired bread. They sell it at the Farmer's Market on Rutherford Road in summer, but in winter you can order it via email and they deliver to a couple of locations in Greenville.

                1. re: jjsouth

                  The White Pie at 2 Guys in Simpsonville is very good. One of the better kept pizza secrets in the area is Vito's in Greer. Tucked away in a shopping center next to a Bi-Lo, this is the real thing. Vito is from Milan and has the restaurant decorated in all things Italian. He's cooking with gas but still gets a perfect char to the pizza. The proscuitto pizza is outstanding.

          2. I have been to the OWL three times and it was awesome. I have paid $400 a pesron at Alenia in Chicago for what the Owl charges $7 for. Aaron is a great guy. It is a cool, weird, funky and strange place but I really like it. FYI there is a 3 drink MAX if you go.

            5 Replies
            1. re: JB BANNISTER

              Well, that's going to be interesting. I'll take my $7 over there ASAP and see if it matches my Alinia experience. Of course, my food wasn't $400 / person either. Hyperbole a bit ? ;-)

              Seriously, though, I'm excitedt o hear these reviews, and have to get over there soon. Did you guys happen to notice the hours? Lunch starts and 1 on Fri, no other weekdays? that sound right? Seemed like an odd time to start lunch, i wondered if it were a typo for 11 on their website.

              1. re: JB BANNISTER

                Oh, and since you mention it...i would have a suggestion for servers there. Mention the 3 drink max AFTER someone orders the 4th. Maybe even the third. Announcing it after the 2nd drink could seem offputting to some. It's a curious rule. I wonder how they'll enforce that when it comes to wine by the bottle?

                1. re: danna

                  One bottle per couple. I ate there again tonight.

                  1. re: JB BANNISTER

                    I ate there again tonight. Like I really like the place.

                    1. re: JB BANNISTER

                      Crawfish boil tomorrow afternoon at Smileys.It's 4-6pm, It's free just buy your own beer,

              2. Ate at The Owl the other night, three drink MAX has disappeared (thank god.) The bartender (Kirk, yes like Star Trek lol) has now had the opportunity to get his drink menu really going and his cocktails are amazing!! House made bitters, sea foam margaritas, and so much more! He told me to just wait until berry season really starts. It's already amazing, I can't wait to see what else is in store. A MUST TRY!!