There is yet another new joint in downtown Greenville. The six or seven blocks of Main Street constituting the heart of downtown is already crammed full of eateries and bars. I've lost count of the number of sushi joints that have opened on this avenue in the past two years. How much raw fish can people eat?
Greenville's Main Street is a quaint, tree-lined boulevard where traffic typically moves at a snail's pace and the side walks channel a tsunami of humanity. It is a downtown heartily supported by folks driving in from the "burbs." Parking on the street is free -- eat your hearts out my Delray Beach friends -- and several of the parking garages become free-parking zones after 6 PM. Engineered to succeed, downtown Greenville is the community's "in" place to be.
So it is in this atmosphere that Table 301, the group owning Soby's and a few other upscale downtown hasheries, is opening the Nose Dive where another of its restaurants slipped into oblivion a couple of years ago. O was a steak house attached to the Westin Hotel. A bit pricey and decorated in that chrome-meets-antiseptic style that makes one feel like he is chowing down in an operating room, O was doomed to fail. If you want to pay too much for food you eat in a sterile environment, High Cotton is three blocks down the street.
The official name of the new place is Nose Dive A Gastropub. I'm no expert in marketing, but I think it a bad idea anytime you include the word "gas" in the name of a restaurant. But evidently Europe is teeming with "gastropubs." I rest my case.
The gastropub moniker aside, I am more than impressed with the place. Currently going through what the Table 301 folks call a "soft opening," and I would term an invitation-only preopening, Nose Dive is getting its sea legs sans paying customers who might get angry if things don't go perfectly to plan. This will continue through Saturday. Sunday they will close to make whatever adjustments and improvements can be accomplished in a 24-hour period and open for real on Monday.
Having finagled a spot on the guest list last night, I spent a couple of hours sampling its menu. Despite the fact it bills itself as an upscale sports bar, its food and wine list are anything but sports bar-like. If you want traditional bar fare, you can head across the street to the Carolina Ale House that had been Main Street's newest restaurant addition.
Besides a couple of my friends manning the Nose Dive's bars, here is what I like about the place.
- The menu selections are good old southern comfort food, but with a dash of panache.
- The food menu and the wine list are grouped into one-price sections. All of the appetizers are one price, all the entrees one price and so forth. Likewise the wine list has wine groupings for $25, $35, $45 and so on. Richard Peck selects the wines and the list is as rich in its offerings as it is concise in its pricing.
- The upstairs area has its own bar, offering a lounge-like setting. There are a few high-top tables and a couple of booths, but basically this is an area to relax in a comfortable chair and enjoy.
- Live entertainment will add to the ambiance.
I had the French Onion Soup, the Butcher's Steak and the Nose Dive Dark Chocolate Candied Bacon Brownie for desert. Yes, there is bacon in the brownie and it's wonderful. As with the other main courses, the steak was a modest $14. It was big, juicy and grilled to perfection.
I was never in the place when it was O -- way to pretentious for my liking. I will revisit Nose Dive. The upstairs lounge is the ideal place to watch a game and throw back a couple. This thing could work.