Our reunion dinner was at Rio Grille in the West End of Greenville. Since this is part of a chain, and since the circumstances of our visit were out of the ordinary, I won’t do a formal review, but I thought I’d reflect on the experience, none-the-less.
First there was the salad bar. This alone could have made an entire meal, with unusual items such as hearts of palm, Salata Caprese, smoked salmon, and artichoke quarters. It was hard to resist, but I knew more would be on its way.
Mashed potatoes and fried bananas are server family-style. Each place at the table has a paper circle that’s red on one side and green on the other. You turn the disc to green when you’re ready to eat, and the feeding frenzy begins. The wait staff brings by large swords with various styles of meat impaled thereon. They slice off portions for you as long as you have the green side of the disc showing. There was bacon-wrapped fillet, bacon-wrapped chicken, sirlon, sausages, tuna, scallops, and grilled pineapple. When you needed a break, you flippped the disc over to red. Unfortunately, many of the waiters tended to ignore the disc and would offer anyway. Carrying on a conversation was difficult, at best. You would only get half a sentence out before a sword was thrust in front of your face with meat on it.
Regardless, it was fun, and the food was delicious. The desserts were equally satisfying. I got a slice of passion fruit pie (go ahead, laugh) and Laura got champagne cheesecake. These were nice and light, in contrast with the deluge of meat.
All of this doesn’t come cheaply. We had prepaid for the meal with our Furman Homecoming tickets, but it was still quite a bit. While Rio Grille is a great experience, it’s something to be enjoyed only rarely for the damage done both to the wasteline and wallet.