Greenville, South Carolina is getting some culinary buzz lately with a growing number of tantilizing restaurants. However, one steak house has earned the rare distinction of combining history, location, and river views, with a crowd-pleasing menu and food that leaves ’em coming back for more.
That inspired brick restaurant is Larkins on the River and it’s earned every bit of the accolades it’s receiving (USA Today ~ 10 Best and Delta Sky Magazine to name but a few).
I had the great pleasure of interviewing Bruce Wise, VP of Restaurant Operations, Executive Chef, Alex Castro, and Liz Brown, Director of Marketing for Larkins on the River. They provided me with a wealth of insight into everything from how they choose the food they serve, the history of the restaurant building and what, in their opinion, makes Larkins one of Greenville’s hottest steak houses in town.
We’re writing an entire post to share with you the inside scoop we learned from the Larkins experts we interviewed, including how they select the ingredients that go into every dish, some surprising catering options they offer as well as an invitation to join their “Secret Wine Society” (you won’t want to miss that)! Look for this post coming soon!
LOCATION & HISTORY
Located next to The Peace Center, the Amphitheater Stage and the Reedy River, Larkins occupies some prime real estate in downtown Greenville.
Larkins on the River resides in the Gower Coach Factory building, established in 1847. It’s one of only two surviving buildings in commercial use from the Civil War era.
The beauty of the perfectly preserved brick building are a stunning reminder of a bygone era. Larkins, with hardwood floors, wooden beams and strategically placed windows that allow views of the river, has mastered the balance of understated elegance, warmth and charm.
Martha Stewart enjoyed her dining experience at Larkins so much, she wrote about it on her blog!
AWARD WINNING WINE LIST
For wine enthusiasts, Larkins has an impressive wall of fine wines and has won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence two years in a row. For diners who might need a little guidance in making a selection, not to worry. VP of Restaurant Operations, Bruce Wise is also an expert Sommelier and can guide you in finding the prefect wine for any course.
OUR DINING EXPERIENCE
We were greeted at the door of Larkins by two smiling, friendly young ladies who escorted us to a lovely corner booth with views of the river and Greenville.
It took less than a minute before our knowledgeable and helpful server, Ed was table side welcoming us to Larkins and presenting us with our menus. Our beverage selections were made and Ed quickly returned with our drinks.
For starters, my husband ordered the Wedge Salad which featured, of course, the salad wedge, a generous mound of fresh, crispy bacon, sliced local tomatoes, carrot slivers and roquefort crumbles. It was a fresh and delicious salad, our only reservation was the salad wedge was a bit smaller than expected.
I selected the House Salad (although I almost went with the Heirloom Tomato & Burrata salad). I made a wise choice because this dish was alive with color and flavor from fresh local farm ingredients. The combination of a variety of greens, slivered carrots, tomatoes and marinated onions were scrumptious, but there were three ingredients on this plate that took this salad to an entirely new level… the spiced pecans, parmesan crisp and the house salad dressing made this dish culinary magic.
For my husband’s main course, he selected one of Chef Alex’s specials of the night, and he was not disappointed! The dish was beautifully styled, with a combination of a 9 ounce center cut ribeye steak, two lamb chops, with fingerling potatoes, asparagus, then drizzled with a luxurious demi-glace sauce. Cooked to perfection, the steak and lamb were tender, juicy and full of flavor. My husband literally cleaned his plate.
For my entree, I selected the Bone in New York Strip which arrived with picture-perfect grill marks and a kiss of butter that made that steak glisten and shine. And the taste? The strip was full of flavor, tender and juicy. Kudos to Chef Alex and his team!
We decided to split a side since they generally feed 2 to 3 people (as evident by the photo above). These are Larkin’s scrumptious Truffled Parmesan Fries and they are absolutely addictive. Hot, crispy with the perfect blend of the parmesan and truffle. Sooo good.
We were very torn when it came to our dessert selection. The classic Southern Bread Pudding definitely had our attention, but in the end, chocolate won out (doesn’t it always?). We went with the Chocolate Volcano Cake, a perfectly moist mini cake of heavenliness that when sliced into, oozes a sweet fudgy sauce that screams decadence!
It comes with homemade vanilla bean ice cream and a divine raspberry sauce just in case you didn’t get enough flavor from the cake and ice cream. Sounds like the perfect pairing right? No question.
Throughout our meal, Ed was always attentive without hovering, the term “exceptional service” definitely applied to our Ed. VP of Restaurant Operations Bruce Wise also stopped by our table several times to make sure everything was up to his impeccable standards. We even had a surprise visit from Executive Chef Alex Castro who chatted with us about his menu, allowing my husband and I the opportunity to thank him for an exquisite and joyful meal.
After our marvelous dining experience had come to an end, Ed asked if we’d like a cup of coffee. He arrived with a French press filled with a Brazilian Black Diamond brew so fresh, bold and full of flavor, we actually asked where we could buy the coffee. The perfect way to end an impeccable meal and dining experience.
A visit to Larkins on the River is an evening (or lunch) spent dining on fabulous cuisine using locally farmed greens, with a diverse menu that could please any palette and an award-winning wine list. The service is impeccable and the ambiance of Larkins on the River left us feeling relaxed and happy.
The House Salad was perfection.
Chef Alex’s special Ribeye and Lamb Chop entree was sublime.
Chocolate Volcano Cake ~ if you like chocolate, don’t miss this chocolate heaven on a plate!
Not So Much
The wedge salad could have had more wedge salad.
The bread was ordinary sourdough bread. I was hoping for a bread basket loaded with an assortment of fresh baked rolls and whipped butter.
LARKINS ON THE RIVER
318 South Main Street
Greenville, South Carolina
Valet Service Available
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Live, love and travel, darlings,