The Daily Meal

07 December 2012

Tonight's Episode: Take a Peek behind the Green Door

Oh where to begin with this one. Should we start with the fact one of Charleston's most beloved food trucks (Roti Rolls) has decided to open a brick-and-mortar location? Or should we begin at the location, the storage room/pool room in the back of Charleston's dive-iest dive bar (Big John's Tavern)? Or should I start with the fact that "eat the eyeball" was said during dinner.....by the chef?


Guess I should back up to the beginning. First there was nothing. Then a big bang created the universe. Then Chef Cory created Roti Rolls food truck. And on the fourth day he devised The Green Door, an ultra funky street food joint filling the extra space of the cheapest place to drink. The Girl and I were lucky enough to score seats at the preview pop-up dinner to see what magic he would create. (Special note: these dishes are only representative of his style and are not guaranteed to be on the final, changeable menu.)

The dinner had a cocktail/wine pairing that we did not opt for (I was still recovering from the previous night, The Girl kept it real with PBR). First up was what in my mind is the ULTIMATE bar food: spiced chickpeas. The spicing is deft and well balanced, and the chickpeas have a pleasant crunch to them. I would sit on the couch and eat these by the bucket full. The Girl thought they were amazing, and DEMANDS that they become a permanent part of the menu. Even with her distaste for spicy, these hit the mark DEAD ON.

The next course was a crudo of local porgy with spiced chilled noodles. The light, bright fish stands up well to the spice on the noodle, with fresh citrus notes, but it could have been colder.

Next up was a curried pumpkin & butternut squash soup with cilantro-ginger yoghurt, with a beautiful little bacon biscuit dropped in the center. The biscuit/bun/whatever it is was freaking delicious, the soup the perfect temperature. The flavor: amazing. There is a good heat of spice on it, but the flavor is so deep and rich The Girl keeps eating until her lips hurt. That means it is a 3 out of 10 on the spicy scale.

Now we get to a fun idea, the to-go salad. Take a Mason jar. Put dressing in the bottom. Add ingredients. Shake and eat with a spork. Return the jar for a discount on your next order. Genius. This one was a fantastic little arugula and pickled beet salad. Fresh, light, and beautiful.

Next is the scary dish for most everyone. This is the dish The Girl has a hard time even looking at. Fish head curry with roti paratha. This is the whole head of the porgy in a beautiful curry. The fish is flaky and light, though I wish the curry had more heat. To me a fish head curry should hurt. This would be the point where Chef Cory comes out to talk the crowd into eating the eyeballs. My recommendation, if you have an issue with texture, then DON'T DO IT.

Now we get to the dish I was most looking forward to - braised MiBek beef tongue, quail egg, grits and kimchi. Sadly, this was the least successful, but only from an easily fixed execution mistake. If you have never had tongue, it is the most umptious...tender....flavorful piece of meat you will find. In this preparation they are treated like short ribs, slow braised in what SHOULD be a beautiful pan sauce. Sadly, it is over reduced and too salty. The Girl and I are both sad for how close this was to a brilliant dish.

To end the dinner we get buffet inspired Chinese donuts with a strawberry sriracha glaze. The sweet and the heat compliment each other so well. The Girl was beyond happy with these as the finishing touch to the meal.


So, what have we learned today? First, Chef Cory has found more balance with his spicy heat than I expected. Two, The Girl draws the line at food that looks at her. Three, now there is a reason to go to Big John's other than really cheap booze. Four, since The Green Door will be open til 2 am we all have a new place to chow down well at the end of the night!

The Scores
Ambiance: 3.5/5 (Though we love the design, and love it being in a dive bar, it isn't for everyone)
Food: 9/10
Service: 5/5
Value: To be determined
Overall: Will have to update when they open for business


The Green Door on Urbanspoon

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