Perpetually #huangry. Occasionally #huangover.

#Huangry: Bacon Bros. Hanger Steak

It's no secret: There are some definite perks to writing and photographing for a food column. For example, it gives me a reason to order new things. (Ceviche? Chicken feet? Sure, I'll try that. Bánh Canh Tôm Thịt? I don't even know how to pronounce that, but I’ll eat it.) I've also built up an incredibly good looking library of Instagram content. (Really, follow the hashtag #huangry and see for yourself.) I also never have to go on a diet. (“It's for work. Of course I have to eat this entire package of Oreos right this second.”) 


But this past weekend, I got a chance to experience an unexpected perk: a sneak peek of Bacon Bros. Public House's spring menu. (In the interest of full disclosure, I did inform them that I was stopping by, but this treat was their own undertaking, which I greatly appreciate.) 
At the time I dropped in, they weren't ready to unveil their full spring menu, as produce wasn't available in quite the quantities they wanted. However, there's certainly been enough for the crew at Bacon Bros. to develop new dishes. 

Among them? A charred broccoli salad with oyster mushrooms and a Caesar dressing (made in-house from boquerones, olive oil, salt, pepper, and chili flake), topped with domestic Parmesan-style cheese, Meyer lemon zest, and shaved stem of broccoli. A ham and cheese sandwich made with dark brown sugar brined ham that’s been cold-smoked for three days. A delightful homage to poutine made from fried heirloom potatoes, Charleston-produced cheese curds, a duck stock gravy, and duck confit.


I could write a column for each of those individual dishes. I mean, I know it sounds over-the-top effusive, but there's truly something wonderful about inventive, well-executed twists on familiar dishes that are presented without pretense. But I won't talk about those dishes, because for me, it was another dish that stole the show.

First, the concept: an elevated take on the bar classic, steak frites. Second, the presentation: medium-rare hanger steak medallions arrayed down the center of a live-edge plank, framed by a healthy smear of beef-fat béarnaise sauce. Crispy fried heirloom fingerling potatoes, blue oyster mushrooms, and slices of baby daikon radishes rise out of the rich yellow sauce. Fresh shaved horseradish—appearing almost like curls of freshly grated Parmesan—dusts the plank and its contents.


Third, and potentially the most important, the flavors. The steak is tender and absolutely booming with umami. The potatoes are crunchy to the core without being over-fried. The béarnaise is decadent, a silky counter to the crisp taters. The oyster mushrooms add earthiness, while the fresh radish slices brighten things up with a bite of snap and bite. And the horseradish—which is almost overshadowed by everything else—surfaces as a mild hint of mustard in the ebb of each mouthful’s flavor. In short, there’s a lot going on, and it takes multiple bites—and a degree of focus—to parse it all. 

Fortunately, that’s not much of a chore, because if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to take all the bites.

(+) PROS 

  • On a scale of 0-10, this is a cosmic explosion of flavor.
  • Heirloom potatoes deserve mention for how perfect they are—fried through to a crisp, but not overdone. A really consistent crunch through the bite.
  • Bacon Bros. recently expanded, which means you can enjoy all those flavors in the company of your BFFs.

(-) CONS

  • Your BFFs will probably think you’re a selfish jerk because you won’t want to share, but you’ll still rave about how good it is. I think that’s called being a tease.
  • Might be difficult to enjoy how good this is because of how overwhelmed you’ll be from all the flavors.
  • Might not yet be available at press time. Total bummer.

Bacon Bros. Public House
3620 Pelham Rd, Greenville, SC
(864) 297-6000, baconbrospublichouse.com

Originally published in the [Greenville Journal] on March 18, 2016.