I always enjoy a visit to my favorite restaurant in Greenville, American Grocery. This particular trip was a date night and just happen to be our two week wedding anniversary. Jen and I both agreed we need a break, and Jen suggested AGR. It might have had something to do with them having Paella on the menu. If you’ve been to AGR, you know. Their menu changes every single day. If they have Paella on Thursday, that doesn’t mean it’ll be there on Friday. Knowing this, I still called and got reservations. I spoke with Darlene, owner and in-house sommelier, when I called. After the reservation was made, I asked if she thought the Paella would be on the menu tomorrow (Friday). She offered to ask Chef Clarke, owner, chef and husband to Darlene. I told her not to worry about that, we are coming anyway.
Making a long story, longer…on Friday afternoon I peeked at the menu (Darlene uploads the menu for that night in the late afternoon), the Paella was gone. When we arrived, however, we were greeted by Darlene, who whispered that they had saved one Paella for Jen. Awesome! Love AGR!
I started my meal with the Crispy Veal Sweetbread, crispy farm egg, sea island pea hash, green garlic cream, pickled ramps (pictured below). It was great. I love when chefs us offal, I think it truly respects the animal when you use every thing you can. This veal was super crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. The egg was perfectly cooked as well with the yolk broken, I mixed it together with the other ingredients. The pea hash and pickled ramps where delicious. Like most dishes at AGR, all the components of the dish are good, but together they are perfect.
My entree was the Duo of Local Lamb, sunchoke – potato cream, wild mushrooms, swiss chard, lamb jus (pictured above). The first of the lamb duo seemed to have been maybe braised, then shredded, then formed back, then seared. It tasted a lot like a REALLY good pulled pork medallion. On top of that was house made mustard which matched perfectly. The second lamb was loin that was tender and juice and cooked perfectly. Chef might have cooked this in a very similar way to how he prepares his duck breast. The outside was crunchy and almost sweet and as you can see (click on the above image to see a larger version) the inside was pink. The wild mushrooms added the earthiness and the swiss chard added that bitter punch. The lamb jus was deep, rich and very flavorful. The sunchoke – potato cream was also rich and very creamy and was the glue holding this fabulous meal together. Again, perfect.
As a side note, Jennifer did get the Paella (pictured below). Her meal consisted of AGR Paella – cobia, mussels, shrimp, calamari, chorizo, saffron rice, spring vegetables. I tasted it and it was delicious. The rice and chorizo alone would have been worth getting this dish. You then add a bunch of fresh seafood and it was over the top.