January 9-19 is Restaurant Week in South Carolina. Since there are few things in life I love more than food, I decided to treat myself to dinner at a restaurant I had been dying to try, Gervais and Vine.
Normally, this is not something I would do. Especially not as of late, considering I have been cash strapped. But it’s my BIRTHDAY (::Uncle Luke dance break::) and the whole purpose of this blog is to LIVE and THRIVE so I took myself out for a meal. I’m grown! I do what I want!
First of all let me say it’s a great place to take a date because the entrance is secluded and cannot be seen by chance. You have to purposefully ride down a side street off a busy road and turn into the driveway of the restaurant to see whose car is in the parking lot. We’ll talk about why I know these things later…maybe not.
The restaurant has two rooms. The room off the entrance contains the bar and a few tables that seat four. The décor is mainly wood and it’s cozy. I was offered a seat there but wanted to be more to myself as I enjoyed my meal because I didn’t want anyone to see my foodsex face. You know, the face you make when something is OMG SO GOOD. Your eyes roll in the back of your head and your shoulders drop down and your head falls back. Foodsex. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. YOU KNOW!
Anyhow, I saw two steps that led up to another room. I asked the hostess what that was and she said go check it out. And wow! Such a sexy room! You first encounter the big booth that seats about six, full of velvety pillows. The rest of the far wall is one long couch full of those pillows, with tables for two-four in front. I chose one of the four two person tables on the opposite wall, closest to the back.
I haven’t treated myself to a dinner alone at a nice place in quite a while so I sat there, looking around the room, grinning to myself like a total ass. I know the few people in there thought I was nuts. Wait till they saw foodsex face. God help them.
The waitress came with the Restaurant Week menu and I chose bruschetta, seared duck, fingerling potatoes and bread pudding for dessert. I had a mojito to, uh, cleanse my palate. You know, it has mint in it and whatnot.
As I waited, many more patrons came in. Bottles of wine were ordered and I indulged in some people watching. I was the only Black person in the entire restaurant but, I’m used to that kind of scenario. I find myself in it frequently, for varying reasons. The clientele at the restaurant was an older crowd. It was easy to imagine that they were having drinks with friends after a long day at the company they started 30 years ago. On Sunday, their wives probably don St. John’s suits and after they worship at their 400 year old church, they’ll come by again for brunch. The person that put up the olive wainscoting in the restaurant probably installed a similar one in their study. A hardy, happy bunch they were.
My bruschetta came and it was on a lacy piece of sourdough bread. Marinated tomatoes and fresh basil were awesome on top. It needed more cheese. The sprinkling it had (parmesan? Romano?) wasn’t nearly enough but it was enjoyable.
Followed closely by the bruschetta was the fingerling potatoes in a truffle aioli with fresh herbs. I couldn’t detect the fresh herbs but the aioli was delish. The potatoes, to my surprise, were underdone. It was the first signal that this meal perhaps would not be what I wanted, NEEDED it to be.
Then came the seared duck breast. The mango chutney that the menu promised to come with it, did not. I have never had duck breast before. Let me put that out there. I have had duck confit, which is very dark meat. And I’ve only ever had that in pieces, not an entire leg. But this, was a breast, and it was medium rare. When I ordered it, the waitress asked me if I wanted it cooked that way. I wasn’t sure if I heard her correctly because, dude. It’s a bird. Medium rare on a bird? You could die eating chicken that’s pink. She said that’s how it usually came but when I actually got it, and it was suuuper pink in the middle? I tried it. It was tasty, but it was chewy. I was so nervous while I was eating it. I envisioned my death due to extreme food poisoning and someone finding my body at the feet of the porcelain throne. I couldn’t do it.
I pushed the plate to the side and kept eating the fingerling potatoes. My enthusiasm was rapidly heading downhill.
My waitress came back by the table. I told her I didn’t like the duck and she graciously asked if I wanted another dish. Ecstatic, I told her yes and ordered the Gamba; a shrimp dish cooked in sherry with bacon, garlic and tomatoes.
I continued to cleanse my palate with my mojito and watch the St. Johns Crew until my shrimp arrived. It came out in a skillet with a spoon and another piece of lacy sourdough. Oh the smell! Delish! The sauce was dark and inviting. I could tell it was going to be spicy. And it was. The sauce was so flavorful! You could taste the garlic, the tomatoes were plump, the bacon was…rubbery. The shrimp were overcooked.
At that point, I stopped fantasizing about the meal. I finished the shrimp and my mojito and waited on my dessert, the bread pudding. I was really ready to go.
Bread pudding has never appealed to me. But in the spirit of stepping out of my box, I ordered it. Surprisingly, it was the best dish of the night. Soft, delicious, flavorful, well presented, with FANTASTIC ice cream on top. *note to self: find out the brand of the ice cream or if they make it themselves*
I paid my ticket and left, happy that I came, elated that I stepped out and took another step towards thriving. Alas, no foodsex face. Not every day or adventure will be perfect. The point is to keep doing them anyway. That’s what makes a life.
Gervais and Vine – Service:B/Ambiance:A/Food:C+