Stella’s Southern Brasserie opened Tuesday at 340 Rocky Slope Road in the Hollingsworth Park Verdae development without much fanfare, as many new restaurants do to give the staff a chance to acclimate to the new gig.
But, the low-key opening announcement is the only aspect of the newest eatery from Jason and Julia Scholz that could be described as quiet.
The vibe, with hardwood and tile floors and soaring ceilings, is boisterous by design. The decibel-level in the Scholz’s first restaurant, Stella’s Southern Bistro in Simpsonville, is actually the biggest criticism Jason hears from guests. But he’s OK with it. “I like it loud,” he said a few weeks before the Brasserie opened.
After all, brasserie is French for brewery — not exactly a title for a demure atmosphere.
And by the sound of it on opening night, all of those hard surfaces did their job.
“We want to have fun here,” Jason says. “We’re trying some different things, and we’ll see what sticks.”
Exhibit A: Wine pours come in two sizes — petite and fun size.
The wine menu features a mix of European and domestic wines, with an expected preponderance of French reds. A small, but intentionally curated draft beer list includes Brewery 85’s Fishin’ Lager, Charleston’s FreeHouse Organic Green Door IPA, and Kronenbourg 1664, a French pale lager. Bottled and canned beers run the gamut, while large format beers and ciders — 750 ml bottles labeled Beer & Cider For Fun — provide even more variety.
The spirits program includes crafted cocktails such as the Brown Derby (Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon, fresh squeezed pink grapefruit, honey), the Selbach Cocktail (Evan Williams White Label Bourbon, Angostura and Peychauds Bitters, sparkling wine), and the table favorite Gingerine (Citadelle Gin, tangerine juice, honey, mint).
Also prominently featured is a selection of gin categorized by style (London Dry, American, and Unique and Unusual) and house-made tonic. Garnishes include the usual citrus along with violet, cardamom, black pepper, caraway, and lavender to name just a few.
The beverage program is just the beginning.
Chef Jeff Kelly’s regionally sourced menu includes a selection a house-made charcuterie (porchetta di testa, breslola, rabbit rillettes, chicken liver mousse, and country pate) and fromage, including a Whispering Pines manchego from Mauldin and a Forx Farm gouda from Anderson. Also, for the gluten conscious, gluten-free bread is available.
Cold starters include two tartares — steak and tuna — and a foie gras terrine with an Asian twist. Chef Kelly also sent out a beef carpaccio not listed on the menu. It didn’t last long. The star of the hot appetizers is the charred octopus atop a citrus white bean puree, with peppers and an olive and greens salad nestled on top. It was as much a feast for the eyes as the palate.
The fewer than 10 entrees range from classic French (Cote du Boeuf and Steak Frites) to Asian-inspired vegetable pot au feu (roasted corn, kale, shiitake, kimchee, squash, farm egg, soba noodles). A sea bass special came highly recommended. We concur.
Sharable sides include petite peas (English peas, lettuce, bacon, pearl onions) and brasserie potatoes (confit fingerling potatoes, raclette cheese, caramelized onions).
And of course, a French brasserie menu wouldn’t be complete without mussels and frites (try the green curry) and a burger on a house-made English muffin, topped with bacon jam and gruyere.
slideshow photos by Andrew Huang
Desserts, which we had to decline on account of ordering half the dinner menu, include a crème brûlée, pot de crème, and seasonal fruit sorbet. We will strategize before our next visit.
Stella’s Southern Brasserie offers a full Counter Culture Coffee program along with a selection of house-baked pastries. Lunch will also feature a small selection of entrees constantly changing according to what is locally available. Parking is convenient, as are Legacy Park’s walking trails and park benches, just across the parking lot.
For reservations, call 864-626-6900.
Full Hours of Operation
Tues-Thurs 7:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Fri- 7:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Sat- 8:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. (brunch: 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.)
Sun-8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (brunch: 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.)
Weekdays: breakfast served 7:30-9:30 a.m.; lunch served 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. Coffee is served all day.