Tonight, I was pleasantly surprised. I arrived in Columbia, SC, today to visit a dear friend of mine from the diaper days, Staci Rutherford of Handbagreport.com. June 5th she will be launching her online Handbag Report boutique shop. I came to support her and to visit her wonderful son, who's also my godson, Nico.
For dinner, Staci chose Gervais & Vine, an adorable Mediterranean wine and tapas bar in the heart of downtown Columbia. The place is very cute. When I walked in, I instantly forgot I was in Columbia. Truth be told, I hadn't been exposed to this side of Columbia so it was a pleasant surprise (smiles).
The menu had more than a handful of what looked to be appetizing spread plates, and hot and cold tapas. I didn't know where to begin on making my selections. Each entree was anywhere from $2.50 to $10 each. So, you see my dilemma. I wanted to sample the entire menu!
Here's a mouthwatering breakdown of what we had.
First serving: Costa Brava, a hot blend of smoked Gouda, shrimp and bacon with a side of warm french bread ($8). This dish resembled Houston's spinach and artichoke dip but way better. I believe my exact expression at the time was, "Excellent! Oh my goodness. Sinful!"
Second serving: Gambas, a succulent dish of spicy shrimp with roma tomatoes, bacon, sherry and garlic ($8, featured on the left). There are several flavors working for this dish. A small piece of garlic bread is included on the hot plate, which is exactly how the dish is served. The table seated next to us, recommended getting the Herbed Flat Bread ($2.50) to go with, which was an excellent decision. By the time the shrimp had been eaten there was still a generous portion of the savory sauce (mixture of the roma tomatoes, bacon, sherry and garlic) left over. The flat bread was perfect for soaking up every last drop.
Third serving: The last couple dishes came out at the same time. To finish off our already fabulous meal, we had a Petite Filet Mignon with feta and a balsamic reduction ($9), along side a Maryland-style crab cake with citrus-tarragon aioli ($9).
We should probably have a moment of silence to remember the petite filet. Poor thing didn't know what hit it. I enjoyed every last juicy, tender bite. It was amazing, similar to the excitement one feels on Christmas morning (at least at an early age). But imagine that excitement in your mouth. Ha! Very cool.
The Maryland-style crab cake was OK. I wasn't thrilled with it. It was definitely fresh crab meat, which was good. I think the citrus-tarragon aioli brought down the flavor. For me, a crab cake needs to have spice and be a little crispy on the outside, not necessarily fried, but definitely with more texture, which this crab cake lacked.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first night in Columbia and Gervais & Vine was the icing on the cake.
Pictures from www.gervine.com
- Rani Robinson, Good Food