I don’t often go to fancier restaurants because it’s hard to take good food photos when the lighting is set for ambiance. But the ambiance was nice at Saluda’s on a random weeknight that Patrick and I went ahead of Restaurant Week Columbia, which starts today, January 11 and runs through the 21. Restaurant Week Columbia provided me with a gift card so I could write about this experience.
It was my first time at Saluda’s, place that I haven’t really thought about since high school prom time, when people were trying to namedrop the nicest restaurants they knew of to go to and show off their fanciness. So we chose a quiet weeknight to wander up the stairs to see what lay beyond.
Because we don’t go out to eat together very often, we decided to really make a night of it. We started with drinks — mine a white wine with notes of white flowers and apricots. I’m not a wine person, really, but it was a nice drier white that worked with the cheese plate that we partook of for our first course.
That cheese plate was really a good one though, something that you never can tell until you order and see what comes out on the wooden cutting board … isn’t it always a wooden cutting board?
Along with a selection of three cheeses, the grilled bread really took me away. It was fantastic with the Moody Blue cheese, and the jam, and the honey, and just plain. Sour cherries, pickled onions, and candied nuts rounded out the tray, and we nearly licked the thing clean.
For the main course, I chose the ranch steak for Patrick, which was not as I thought, seasoned with ranch. It came with a gouda mac and cheese and crispy Brussels sprouts that were both really excellent additions to the plate. I helped myself to some, of course. They smoke the steak ahead of time, so it wasn’t able to be as rare as he prefers them but said that it was still a nice piece of meat, and not as spicy as they cautioned it might be.
I had the pear and arugula salad, plus the bacon and egg appetizer. The salad was exactly the shot of greens that I needed, with a generous amount of ___ cheese to boot. The bacon and egg appetizer was served plated with an adorable tiny cast iron pan that the egg was cooked in. The grits were cheesy Adluh grits, and the bacon was wow. Two enormous chunks were on the plate, and Patrick took a bite first. I wasn’t sure about the big chewy fat center, so I tried to cut mine. It was not easy, so I delicately nibbled on the outer edges to give it a taste. It smelled fantastic but I’m still working on trying meats and the texture is my biggest enemy. However, normal people without those issues should thoroughly enjoy all three components of the dish.
We thought about dessert and the Grand Marnier creme brulee was intriguing me, but I didn’t think I could finish the whole thing myself so we demurred on dessert and set back out for the evening.
If you’re thinking of going to Saluda’s during Restaurant Week, I highly recommend a weeknight like a Tuesday to enjoy the special menus they are offering, plus the excellent parking situation that midweek offers. Cheers!