Passerelle Bistro: Where European Sophistication Meets Southern Beauty
One late summer evening, I found myself walking down Main Street in Greenville, South Carolina, in search of a place to eat and retain memories of my first restaurant visit in this charming city. Along the Main Street corridor is a cluster of contemporary restaurants with a wide variety of cuisines to choose from. My heart was set on paying homage to some of the much celebrated southern comfort foods; grits, corn bread, green beans and so forth; However, as I passed the many restaurants my attention was captivated by a boarded sign of a French restaurant called Passerelle Bistro. I followed the sign, walking over a bridge and making my way down the steps. At the foot of the steps was the outdoor sitting area of Passerelle which overlooks the historic Falls Park.
I was mesmerized by the surrounding beautiful; the dense greenery of the park and the warm lighting of the outdoor sitting area. I saw families heading down to the park with garden chairs and mats. It seemed like there was an outdoor performance of a screening going on. I was quickly seated and a pleasant man was prompt to attend to me.
I perused the dinner menu and wine list; the delicious choices of vegetables, meats, fish and seafood made it a little challenging for me to make up my mind, and then I was ready to order.
For starters I was drawn to the Escargot. Since my first introduction to snails at a Nigerian party many years ago, where I immediately fell in love with them, I always look forward to their rubbery texture and earthy and savory flavors. The escargot at Passerelle was sautéed in a garlic butter and finished off with a white wine and cream. I must say I enjoyed their escargot but I was not very pleased. I felt like its earthy flavors were masked by the heavy cream.
For the main menu, I settled for the Seasonal Cassoulet; a blend which included duck sausage and bacon with vegetables including pepper, tomatoes and kale. I am always very big of food presentation and unfortunately the Cassoulet was not thrilling in that department. It looked like a mixture of sliced meats with vegetables piled on top. However, I must admit the different combination of meats and vegetables made it a tasty, enriching and fulfilling meal. Plus, the portion size was generous enough for me to carry some home to eat later.
Passerelle has an extensive wine selection. I paired the whole meal with a 2012 Chateau Gabaron from Bordeaux which is made from the Carbanet Sauvignon grape. This wine was a hit. I loved its rich and deep fruity flavors which certainly enhanced the dark meat flavors in the Cassoulet.
Overall, the meal combined with the excellent customer service and the warm ambiance of the outside sitting area overlooking the Falls Park made my dinner experience at Passerelle worthwhile. I certainly recommend it as a must visit for anyone paying a visit to the city of Greenville, South Carolina.