Setting the Table
Six weeks after opening, Fire and Smoke Gastropub in Myrtle Beach has settled into a lunch and dinner routine offering extremely savory smoked meats and veggies.
The restaurant is in an older strip mall off 79th Avenue North that was formerly the locations of Little’s at the Beach, Michael’s and Lombardo’s. The rectangular space has been remodeled with simplicity and flair.
Upholstery on a banquette and booths are burnt sienna with subtle gold flames. Beige textured walls are decorated sparsely with unframed food photography and metallic art along with blue glass sconces. Dark wood tables are set with linen mustard-colored napkins, blue glass candleholders and fun curving/slanting water glasses.
Lunchtime is a bit more casual; our drinks came in plastic Pepsi cups.
Servers wear black slacks and loose black shirts with orange side gussets that look like bowling shirts, and our waiter also wore a long black apron. Proprietor Jimmy Horkan was bustling around in cargo shorts, a T-shirt and gimme cap.
I don’t know the names of the music artists whose easy-listening songs were playing at a pleasant level, but it’s of a genre I refer to as “new age folk.”
Down the Hatch
True to its name, partners Horkan and Chef Tyler Rice are grilling over wood and smoking many different foods.
The lunch menu ($7-$13) is much briefer than the dinner menu, and it doesn’t mess around with appetizers. Fourteen choices include roasted tomato bisque topped with Cheddar chipotle popcorn, seasonal chopped salad, wood-grilled Caesar salad and an iceberg salad with candied bacon, smoky blue cheese dressing, heirloom tomato and gorgonzola. Sandwiches range from jumbo lump crab cake and a wood-grilled burger with bacon jam and Tillamook Cheddar to house-smoked pulled pork and fried green tomato BLT.
I had a roast beef panino where the delectable crispy fresh bread is filled with shaved tender smoked Wagyu sirloin, smoked Portobello mushroom, creamy Jarlsberg Swiss cheese and mild horseradish mayo. All lunch sandwiches come with the best fucking French fries I’ve ever eaten - thin, crispy, skin-on – that are fried in beef tallow. They were served with extremely fresh-tasting and sweet house-made ketchup.
Dinner kicks it up with “bar snacks and sharing plates” ($7-$15) according to the menu and include duck confit nachos, a cheese plate, poutine (fries with Cheddar cheese curd and beef gravy) and a charcuterie plate that includes black truffle salami, Wagyu bresaola (sort of like salami) and wild boar prosciutto. A section with 13 small plates ($6-$15) features lamb porterhouse chop with fig gastrique and caramelized onion bread pudding, fried oyster sliders, Memphis-style ribs with blueberry barbecue glaze, Prince Edward Island mussels steamed in Belgian ale with red curry and coconut milk, shrimp and grits, and crispy pork belly served with cider-braised mustard greens.
Five comfort food entrees priced $10-$18 are short rib Bourguignon, lobster cobbler, buffalo meatloaf, smoked chicken mac and cheese and the lunchtime burger.
And, oh yeah, this is a gastropub, so there are two pages of beer choices, from Belgian and stouts to seasonals, brown ales and India pale ales. Craft beer lovers will have fun sampling brews such as 3 Head Rochestifarian Wee Heavy and Fort Collins Double Chocolate Stout.
Wines are not forgotten; there are a handful of respectable white and red choices including Hidden Crush Chardonnay and Writer’s Block Cabernet Franc. The list includes three ports to savor after the meal.
Becky Billingsley serves up fresh news daily at MyrtleBeachRestaurantNews.com.