06 July 2010

Closed for Business Combines Traditional Pub Food with Light and Local Summer Fare

Closed for Business, the sister restaurant of Monza, Taco Boy and Poe's Tavern, is located in the former Raval at 453 King Street, and serves up traditional pub fare, along with an extensive beer selection. Owned by proprietors, Revolutionary Eating Venture, and led by Partner and Chef Kevin Johnson, the REV group's distinct flair and unique interiors make the neighborhood bar stand out from its competition. 

I recently hosted a surprise birthday party there and chose based on its pub appeal, ordering high gravity pale ales and wheat beers from a long table facing the busy kitchen, with an illuminated sign that reads, 'EAT'. For the party, I ordered appetizers including crispy fried green beans, loaded potato skins and spicy BBQ pork rinds, which were all a hit with my guests.

The CFB menu epitomizes classic pub fare. If you are looking for a pork sandwich or Chicago-style hot dog, this is your place. I imagine the popular fried pork cutlet loaded with ham, Swiss cheese and green tomato chutney on a bun, could satiate the heartiest of appetites. Read a recent review by local resident food reviewer, Jeff Allen, of the CFB Pork Slap in Charleston City Paper - Slap Happy.

But, last week I revisited CFB for lunch and was really looking for something on the lighter side. I did not even hesitate about what to order upon hearing the day's specials. A fresh, local salad of arugula, watermelon and ricotta salata tossed with an herb vinaigrette. Soups of the day included a chilled cucumber soup with basil and shrimp, as well as a cantaloupe soup that was also served cold. 

The ladies and I all ordered the salad and cold soups. Turned out that the cucumber soup was accidentally spilled on the floor as it was being taken out of the refrigerator. Poor guys, I am sure that was a bloomin' mess to clean up. We all obliged and chose the cold cantaloupe soup instead, which turned out to be absolutely delicious. Cantaloupe soup was a first for me, but infused with basil, mint and honey, it turned out to be refreshing and deeply layered in flavor. 

I am also a big fan of watermelon salad, complemented with salty cheeses, such as feta and ricotta salata. The CFB watermelon salad stood up well to others that I have tried, and is also a simple, summer salad that anyone can make. Sweet fruit, combined with a pungent-tasting cheese, is a personal favorite for me. Depending on the season, I really like strawberries and cranberries with goat or blue cheese, as well as mandarin oranges (strained) with crumbled feta. All of these salads are best with mixed greens and a vinaigrette (Balsamic dressing is my go-to.)

I have included a watermelon-feta salad recipe below that I have tried myself, as well as an original balsamic dressing. Let me know what you try and how yours turns out! Be sure to try Closed for Business soon, too. The entire menu is filled with options that won't disappoint.

Bon Appetit!

Watermelon and Feta Salad:
(courtesy of Margot Bowers)

1 1/2 C. Diced, Seedless Watermelon
3/4 C. Diced Cucumber
1/4 C. Kalamata Olives (optional)
1/4 C. Diced Red Onion
1/2 C. Crumbled Feta 

3 T. Lemon Juice
3 T. Veg. Oil (May cut in half, depending on juiciness of watermelon)
1/4 C. Chopped Parsley
1 t. Dried Oregano
3/4 t. Salt
1/2 t. Ground Cumin
1/2 t. Black Pepper

Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1/4 C. Balsamic Vinegar
3/4 C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 T. Dijon Mustard
1 T. Minced Garlic
Salt & Pepper

- Whisk vinegar, oil and mustard together, adding garlic and spices, until blended. The dressing should lightly coat the back of the spoon. 

Closed for Business on Urbanspoon

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