Yes, there truly is a “Rose” and she is none other than Rose Mibab Goldberg, the mother of InterTech Group’s CEO and Chairwoman Anita Zucker.
The restaurant that bears her name also serves her recipes, some adjusted for a commercial kitchen, others pure and simple like Rose’s chicken soup ($6) or cornbread with cinnamon and buttermilk ($4).
This strikingly modern restaurant that opened in October is built on the site of the former Sunfire Grill.
Gibson Guess Architects wrapped the structure in the modern darling of commercial and residential architects: wood slats. They have managed to both open and enclose the space where repetition, scale and light are filtered by the slanted presence of wood.
The interior is brightly accented by primary-color glass globe lights, drum shades and the constant streaming of videos and slideshows. The bar area includes high tops and sheltered booths fabricated from the same slat-wood pattern of the exterior.
Two dining rooms provide private event space as well as seating removed from the bar and live music areas.
Do venture into the sculpture wall room, where College of Charleston professor Jarod Charzewski has created an 8-by-25-foot art installation called “Sunfire Remains,” using the former restaurant’s plates, cups, oyster knives, forks, cocktail strainers, glasses and cookware.
The pieces record the life at Sunfire, and, as the artist says, “They are resting in positions not unlike where they would be if tossed into a landfill.”
The menu features a snack section appropriate for those who come to listen to the live music and enjoy the craft beers and inventive cocktails in the bar area. Jalapeno cheddar-topped cracklins, Mexican “elote” corn on the cob, boiled peanuts and a pretzel on steroids served with house-made mustard butter, all $3, provide the salty sustenance preferred when enjoying a beer or a modern cocktail.
And what is a bar without wings? Rose’s not only serves the full wing but brines, dry rubs and grills them (5 for $8; 10 for $14). Honey-soy is the more popular flavor; we went Buffalo style and enjoyed a messy, cheesy prelude to our meal.
A raw vegetable plate ($5) with a choice of anchovy-garlic sauce or avocado dressing is a healthy alternative for those with nutrition ambition for the new year along with oysters on the half shell (MP) and smoked salmon ($8) with dill-flavored creme fraiche.
The kitchen bakes its breads and rolls; makes the salad dressings, including a smoked dressing for a grilled broccolini ($8) salad topped with a poached egg; corns its own beef; cures the jowl bacon; preserves the pickles; and sources locally as best they can. It is a labor-intensive operation and a labor of love as an homage to Rose.
Slaw ($3) is tricked up with fresh horseradish, mayonnaise is super-charged with chicken essence for a fried chicken biscuit, and beef essence does the same for the mayonnaise that is served Belgian-style with the beef fat fried fries ($5). Anson Mills faro and Benton’s bacon ($5) belly-up well for a ham and grain dish.
They smoke the meatloaf for the sandwich ($8), and house-ground burgers can be had in a single or double stack ($8/$10).
The menu travels the globe of comfort foods with a Southern inflection. There are biscuits and butter with fruit jam, pepper vinegar sauce for the ribs, boiled peanut polenta ($4), squash ($5) and kale ($4). It would benefit from selective thinning and a consolidation of “special” sides, “sandwich” sides and “entree” sides for simplicity’s sake.
User-friendly pricing makes their menu affordable. The format of the kids menu provides a teachable moment at the table for little eaters.
The Carolina ribs (half, $15, full $20) were on the dry side. A flavorful rub crisped up on their surface, but the meat lacked moisture.
The fried chicken sandwich was skillfully fried and when cradled by the biscuit rose to a 3-inch height crowned with pickles and basil leaves. The beef-fat fries ($5) were not exceptional. Save your calories for dessert.
Servers are well-schooled about the menu and its preparations as well as the local purveyors and farms. The Relish Restaurant Group has invested in the training of the staff, and it shows with enthusiasm, knowledge and friendliness.
The chalkboard tabletops will entertain the child or artist in all of us, and the streaming videos will keep you guessing at content and location.
Co-owners David Bucks and Mark Hendey are vested to create a community-driven place, hosting meetings and supporting a diverse assortment of charities, sporting teams and philanthropic events. It comes as no surprise. It is the Zucker way, and the restaurant named for Rose understands that.