Where we’re dining: Limoncello
By Ariel Turner
Two things: Last week we featured an Italian restaurant in Greer (read here), and this week, we’ve got another Italian recommendation, but in downtown Greenville. Before you think we’re a one-trick pony, remember that two restaurants featuring cuisine from the same country could offer completely opposite menus and flavor profiles, say, like a New Orleans-style spot versus a Los Angeles raw bar. Same country; very different, area-specific cuisine, and that’s the case with our Italian restaurants.
Secondly, convenience of locale and parking is a major consideration for most when heading downtown on a weekend. Limoncello is easy walking distance to Centre Stage, even in this heat, and if you tell your server you’re seeing the show, they’ll make every effort to get you out the door on time. Also, make a reservation for dinner so you don’t end up waiting.
Now to the pairing, which has more to do with music and the chefs who planned
Limoncello’s new menu than the actual cuisine itself. You won’t find a more “rockabilly” chef in Greenville than Adam Hayes, who recently joined Larkin’s Restaurants, which own Limoncello, as director of culinary. He’s a little bit country and rock ‘n’ roll, all in one. He’s got the truck, the cowboy hat, and the thick Southern twang, all while being a rockstar in the kitchen. Next, there’s chef Steven Musolf, who was recently named executive chef of Limoncello. Stevie, as his wife, chef Teryi Musolf (also a rockstar), calls him, is a long-time musician and drummer in a band that still plays in the Lowcountry on occasion. Combine those two, with their years of culinary experience and truckloads of talent, and the new menu at Limoncello is a mustn’t miss. It’s also still restaurant week until Aug. 18, so it’s a perfect time to sample several of the new dishes if you choose to go the prix fixe route. Otherwise, here’s what we’d order, though there isn’t a miss on the menu.
(crispy capers, flake salt, arugula, fried artichokes, roasted garlic aioli)
(herb ricotta, roasted peaches, crispy prosciutto, Mike’s Hot Honey, olive oil)
(warm cherry tomatoes, lemon zest, basil, pine nuts, aged balsamic)
(mussels, shrimp, scallops, calamari, tomato saffron broth)
(fried polenta, spinach, mushrooms, Vidalia onion cream)
Drinks and Dessert
Modena Crane Kick non-alcoholic
(pomegranate balsamic shrub, peach bitters, orange, strawberries, club soda)
(prosecco, Aperol, soda, orange)
(a dessert sipper)
Limoncello Ricotta Almond Cake
(light, lemony, and gluten-free)
(house-made gelato with a shot of espresso)
Grown Up Root Beer
(Amaro Sibona, soda, cherry gelato)
What we’re seeing: Rockabilly Heaven
Not quite straight-ahead country, not quite rock ‘n’ roll, the hybrid musical mixture known as rockabilly took the best of both worlds and made it into something greater than the sum of its parts. With a tricky stop-start beat holding down the bottom end; wild, hiccupping vocals up top; and churning guitar riffs smack in the middle, rockabilly’s commercial heyday in the mid-1950s was brief, but the music’s influence can still be felt today, not just from nationally known artists like the revved-up Reverend Horton Heat, but in our own local band Little Lesley & The Bloodshots.
What’s fascinating about the original rockabilly sound, though, is the world-changing artists who trafficked in it, however brief their dalliances were. Rock icons like Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis had more than a little rockabilly in their early recordings for Sun Records, and some of Johnny Cash’s original trio recordings had that stutter-step beat behind them, as well.
That’s the music that Centre Stage Theatre aims to celebrate with its production of “Rockabilly Heaven.” Directed by Matt Reece and choreographed by Kristopher Parker, “Rockabilly Heaven” puts a team of nine singers onstage with a four-piece band and lets them rip into classic hits by Presley, Lewis, Cash, Patsy Cline, Wanda Jackson, Brenda Lee, and more, and there are several nods to the great Buddy Holly with versions of “Rave On,” “Peggy Sue,” and “That’ll Be The Day.”
This is the last weekend for “Rockabilly Heaven” (the production began July 25), so don’t miss out on a chance to hear some classic tunes performed by a top-notch cast and band.
What: “Rockabilly Heaven”
When: Aug. 16- Aug. 17
Where: Centre Stage, 501 River St., Greenville