Cory Burke’s popular food truck Roti Rolls has found a permanent bricks and mortar “garage” called The Green Door. This street eatery is located in the former billiards annex of Big John’s on East Bay Street.
Burke and the Roti Rolls team have brought the fresh flavors and local ingredients of the mobile and global menu to the center of downtown Charleston.
The Green Door takes its name to heart: bright chartreuse doors open into a quirky dining room where more doors painted the color of harlequin green serve as tabletops.
Equally bright colors of red, orange and blue lend a kindergarten-feel to the space illuminated by Edison light bulbs and strategically positioned rice paper-shaded fixtures.
Taxonomic posters of crabs, mushrooms and the edible anatomies of a pig and cow continue the classroom feel. Its Crayola meets Cuisinart.
Repurposed medicine cabinets with their mirrored doors are hung on the walls at the end of each booth bring a bit of feng sui into this pan-Asian-inspired spot.
Maneki-neko, the good luck cat talisman of Japan, keeps company with a smiling Buddha, and a well-worn copy of “The Betty Crocker Cookbook” casts its shadow on a menu crafted from the food cultures of India, Korea, Thailand, Japan, Mexico and beyond.
Though the menu takes incursions into all these world cuisines, the ingredients are sourced from local farms whose names are proudly displayed on a chalkboard near the kitchen.
The ingredients in this restaurant are so fresh that the fragrance of cilantro, toasted spices and chiles waft from their mini production kitchen and perfume the dining room.
The Green Door will provide you with an adventure in eating. Roasted fish head, braised pig head, trotters and pickled beef heart will delight your taste buds if you can get beyond anatomy.
Cory and Becky Burke, preaching the gospel of locally grown, have created a praise-house of Southern and seasonal eating while pilfering from the pantries of the world. From austere beginnings with a food truck and a vision, The Green Door has foraged a new identity in fusion cooking. Hoisin aioli, srirancha dressing, bacon chutney and sambol-laced mac and cheese are just a few examples. Local favorite pimiento cheese is jazzed with the heat of Thai chiles, and curry seasons pickles in a manner allspice only can aspire.
A salad comes complete in its own mason jar ($6), just shake and serve.
Roti paratha bread ($2), the flat bread of South Asia, doubles as a pair of extra hands to scoop up the delicious bits in the ssambap menu. These are family-style meals served with roti and Bibb lettuce, kimchi fried rice, curried local vegetables and a featured protein: pork trotters and Denver steak at the time of our visit. Use the roti and lettuce as wraps, fill and eat.
We began with Buddha Babies (2 for $4), coconut dough balls filled with bacon chutney and glazed with the Thai chile pimiento cheese: think curry doughnuts. The filling was slim, but the flavors were robust: sweet heat buffered by the bread dough.
Noodles ($10, $12) feature a meatless version of kombu broth with whatever vegetable is in season and a bone marrow broth with braised beef. Each can be topped with a 62-degree egg: the darling of sous vide cookery where the proteins of the white and the yolk are in perfect harmony; an eggy custard to emulsify your dish.
The family-style ssambap changes daily, as does a sandwich special and the vegetables.
The GD burger ($12), fashioned from in-house ground MiBek short rib, was passed over for a braised beef cheek and tongue cheesesteak ($9), finished with a pepper-jack cream sauce and pickled green tomatoes. A winner.
The pork belly sandwich ($11) was equally well-constructed with rutabaga slaw, salsa verde, lemon caper aioli and peppery baby arugula.
Add-ons ($1-$2) allow you to layer your sandwiches with kimchi, the 62-degree egg, candied bacon and Thai chile pimiento cheese.
Sandwiches come with your choice of fries or tater tots. Do try a side of something: the Korean-inspired kimchi fried rice ($7); loaded tater tots with srirancha sauce, kimchi and pimiento cheese ($5); or a plate of pickles ($6). Fans of kimchi can purchase a Mason jar to go ($8).
Desserts are a work in progress, and the wine list is short and sweet but well-curated for the flavors of the menu. Crisp Alsatian white and mineral Riesling along with a fruit-forward red assure you of a good match with your food.
The Green Door is proud of its canned beer selection, and you cannot go wrong with a cold pour of hops. Partnering with the folks at Big Johns allows for expanded adult beverages.
The Green Door joins Butcher and Bee, Xiao Bao Biscuit and Two Boroughs Larder with providing a little “Indie-rock eating” to the Charleston food scene.