I’ve been in Columbia a lot lately the last few weeks. Being away from home isn’t always fun, but I keep myself interested by exploring restaurants. Here’s a really long post on my face-stuffing.
First up! Bone-In BBQ Food truck. A recent addition to the Columbia dining scene, I gave them a go last week. Their truck is quite nice.
Menu looks good too.
What ended up being a shredded brisket sandwich wasn’t exactly what I envisioned, but it was tasty. The focaccia was warm and fresh. Very satisfying on a rainy day.
The “ripper” (fried hot dog, ala Rutt’s Hut) was topped with plenty of the same shredded brisket and cheese. While not exactly a ripper (it hadn’t fried until it ripped apart), the large hot dog was also delicious. The uniformly thin and just out of the fryer chips were also outstanding.
Next up, Hampton St Vineyard. They shredded their short ribs, kinda like Bone-In shredded the brisket. What’s up with that? Unfortunately my thinking is that it’s an attempt to hide the results of a dry piece of cooked meat. If shredded it it will absorb moisture and reheat better.
Ideally you want the short rib to be fork tender, but not falling apart.
I had a monster lamb shank. It was under-braised so it was way too tough. Though I was told it was one of the best menu items, I can’t recommend it.
In general I found the menu to offer an enticing array of classics, but it seemed to under deliver, one of the worst menu sins.
Apparently “broasted” chicken is all the rage in Columbia. I had never heard this term until a few weeks ago. While the naming may lead you to believe it is some combination of broiled and roasted, it is in fact indicates that the chicken is fried in a special type of pressure cooker. While adding the convenience of quick cooking, many swear by this method when seeking perfectly crispy fried chicken.
I went to Bernie’s and took him up on his offer.
3 piece dark, fries, slaw, roll, and rot-your-teeth sweet tea – $5.25. The place was jammed.
The chicken was absolutely fantastic. Crispy, hot, juicy, flavorful, all that mess. Really, really worth the visit. The sides are forgettable and aren’t worth the calories. Next time I’ll just get a 5 piece with a side of napkins.
Di Prato’s is a popular lunch and weekend brunch spot near the University. The have a huge array of hot and cold sandwiches, plus an assortment of prepared foods they can warm up for you (meatballs, risotto balls, etc). One of their most popular items is the pimento cheese.
It is absolutely worth ordering on each and every visit. The combination of large chunks of sharp cheese with the thin shreds of milder cheese is where it’s at. The texture is spot on. And the huge portion of greasy, warm pita chips they serve with it are just what ya need with this starter that could be a meal.
“The sailor” combines sauerkraut, liverwurst, and pastrami with mustard on grilled bread. It’s a lot of sandwich to deal with, sure to satisfy a greasy sandwich craving.
I made my usual visit to Baan Sawan and chef Alex was kind enough to treat me and my fellow bar mates with some crispy chicken skins. I’ve become friends with Sam and Alex and Jennifer, and visiting them takes the sting out of work travel. In fact, I often look forward to it.
In case you can’t read this, Guy Fieri signed this posted to “Da Bad Boys of Burgers” during his trip to Flavortown (5 points – Columbia). Glad to see Guy unabashedly lives up to his stereotype.
Pretty decent burgers. I recommend ordering a temperature below your desired result (medium rare for medium, medium for medium well, etc.).
The bun is unfortunate, but everything else is solid. They do have a few different bun options so I’ll try that next time.
Finally, this impossible to discern photograph was a special at Mr. Friendly’s, part of a Mardi Gras themed menu. Crispy red trout with crawfish topping and a mess of sides. It was a huge portion of stuff; no one is going away hungry at Friendly’s from what I can tell. The fish was good and fresh tasting and fried.
Monday is half priced wine night where they have a few selections that are under $15 for a bottle, if you are into inappropriate grape blends and bright colored marketing. I’m being sort of cynical, there was a good bottle of dry rosé on the half price offering. I’m sure no one ordered it though because they think it’s a woman’s drink. Oops, there I go again.
There are some nice selections on the full, large wine menu too.