There’s a different kind of vibe at Coal Fired Bistro. Bucking accepted industry wisdom which says to present big open windows through which passers-by will see hoards of happy people dining at your restaurant, Coal Fired has blacked theirs out.
Inside continues the “something’s different here” feeling. Big, bold statements made with floor to ceiling black drapes, strategically placed art work, and over-the-top beautiful flower arrangements are brought back to scale by a single red rose on each table.
College memories of going out for “fancy” Italian in North Jersey came flooding back.
Mimi’s Pumpkin Martini started off the evening. Think White Russian with Spiced Pumpkin Liqueur added. It’s okay to have dessert before dinner, right? Loved the understated, but present pumpkin flavor Coal Fired’s barkeep managed!
In the background, pictured below, is a Smoked Chocolate Martini (vodka, Dewars, Frangelico, Godiva milk chocolate, with chocolate drizzle), my dining companion’s (Nichole Livengood, Gap Creek Gourmet) cocktail of choice for the evening.
First up, this beautiful Fried Calamari presentation. Sounding rather basic on the menu, “domestic squid rings, marinara sauce, lemon and arugula”, it was a more involved plate. Imported Italian cheese, olives, and tomatoes drizzled with balsamic added another dimension, completely.
The Calamari was perfectly cooked tender inside fresh, crisp batter. And that marinara . . . excellent!
We both found the Linguine Cardinale a bit salty, but could not stop ourselves from finishing every last bit of lobster meat, spinach and rose lobster sauce!
Topping off the linguine with fresh, table-side shredded cheese was the way to go. Pasta al dente, lobster tender and succulent, spinach not overcooked, sauce delicious, even with the noticeable saltiness.
Continuing the seafood theme, Scallops with asparagus and wild mushroom risotto (risotto of the day) in a sherry cream followed the lobster. This dish completely stole the show. Check out the sear on those scallops! The sauce? Fabulous deep, rich flavor. And al dente asparagus full of flavor was perfect with the earthy mushroom risotto.
Tacking, we left the surf for turf. Roasted Duck Breast served with haricot vert (again, cooked perfectly al dente), and pistachios, topped with a lovely blood orange sauce. Loved mixing the fork-tender duck with the green beans and pistachios for flavor and texture layered bites.
What could top the duck? Chef Gerard Cribben, at Coal Fired’s helm since October, 2013, surprised up by sending out small samples of his Veal Saltimbocca. One word – wow! On the plate pictured below is a taste-sized piece of veal with prosciutto, spinach, Porcini and Fontina cheese in a sweet Marsala wine sauce, garnished with a perfect sage leaf.
Chef Gerard came by our table to chat as we finished this magic meal with excellent coffee and a sweet finish – sample size, thank goodness – of house-made creamy and light Tiramisu. If first impressions can be trusted, Chef’s a very nice guy.
Outside the dining room, the bar area (and bar top itself) are beautiful. A perfect spot for appetizers and drinks after work, or just hanging with friends in the evening.
They take their wine seriously at Coal Fired Bistro. We did enjoy a couple glasses of wine in addition to the cocktails we started with, but I didn’t take photos. A glass of Rombauer Chardonnay was served with the Linguinie Cardinale. My favorite was the Cristom Pinot Noir Eileen Vineyard from Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Multiple Enomatic wine-dispensing machines are strategically placed in cozy spaces, perfect for gathering around to taste and compare wines. Beautiful to look at, these machines serve three different measures of wine – 1oz, 2.5oz, and 5oz.
Coal Fired’s Maître d / Concierge, Jacob Ford took great pride in explaining their various wines. He’s currently studying to become a Sommelier. Jacob described the 2011 Barons de Rothschild Bordeaux as we tasted a sample. His enthusiasm was contagious!
- Keeping in mind that online menus are sometimes not kept current, see Coal Fired Bistro’s menu here.
- Coal Fired is located just East of downtown Greenville.
Thank you Chef Gerard and Coal Fired Bistro for welcoming us as your guests! It was an evening I won’t forget.
Coal Fired Bistro & Wine Bar
8595 Pelham Rd
Greenville, SC 29615