what: Lamb Lollipops
where: Mill Pond Steakhouse, 84 Boykin Mill Rd., Rembert, 803-425-8825, millpondsteakhouse.com
cost: $24.50 for four lollipops
It’s worth getting your Boykin on and driving down some country backroads to get to this OG steakhouse on the edge of a pond on the site of a pre-Civil War post office and general store. Feasting on a juicy 20 oz. bone-in ribeye dry-aged for 35-plus days (allowing ample time to break down the muscle tissue and make it beefier), while peeping at the alligators patrolling these tranquil waters is a quintessential Midlands dining experience.
I may be anthropomorphizing them, but those gators looked mighty miffed that their pond-pulled meals don’t quite measure up to what the homo sapiens get to chow down on.
The elegant dining room overlooking the pond flows into a more rustic area, where an old-school marble ice cream counter has been repurposed into a bar and walls are adorned with Americana ad signage and taxidermy. Get an eyeful of the trio of mounted deer heads and the black bear reared up on his hind legs, sure to scare the bejeezus out of tipsy diners making a beeline for the restroom.
Before gorging on the aforementioned big-league steak ($55.50), I pre-gamed with something a touch gamier, grilled New Zealand lamb lollipops accompanied by a delightful dark cherry bourbon sauce. I double dog dare you to resist gnawing on the bones to get every last tender morsel of these intoxicating chop-pops down the hatch.
Allow a couple minutes before your reservation to pop into Swift Creek Baptist Church. The neighboring building is a Greek Revival stunner built in 1827 and currently functions as a rental venue for weddings and the like. Mill Pond pumps out plates of mouth-watering steaks Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m.