A Greenville, S.C., Restaurant Celebrating Upcountry Bounty


The award-nominated Anchorage has a firm focus on vegetables — though fish and pork do make appearances.

The exterior of The Anchorage, in Greenville, S.C., captures its vegetable-driven menu well.CreditNicholas Gill

“There’s crop diversity here,” said Greg McPhee from the open kitchen at his restaurant, The Anchorage, in Greenville, S.C. “It’s not quite the rice and peas culture of the coast.”

I was asking the chef about the cuisine of South Carolina’s Upcountry in the northwestern corner of the state, a region that is defined less by the traditions of the coast and more by its access to a variety of surrounding landscapes. On the menu there are vegetables and foraged herbs from the Appalachian Mountains, rice and grains from lowland farms, and seafood from the coast. Mr. McPhee, a Johnson and Wales graduate who has spent more than a decade working his way around the Southeast, told me that fungi is so plentiful here that he’ll find large lion’s mane mushrooms on city streets.

That bounty has led to mostly vegetable-driven dishes — as well as just five services a week and a wine list that leans natural — not exactly what one might expect in Greenville. But The Anchorage, which opened in 2017 and was nominated for a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant a year later, is part of a wave of highly anticipated restaurants to come to the former mill town.

Over the past two years Greenville has seen the opening of a branch of Sean Brock’s southern restaurant Husk, imports from Charleston (Caviar & Bananas) and Asheville (Biscuit Head), and lauded chef Michael Kramer’s modern osteria Jianna, among others.

At the 67-seat Anchorage, there’s a no reservations policy (with the exception of large groups), ensuring neighbors can come in on a whim. If you’re there before 7:30 p.m., as I was, there’s not much of a wait. The minimalist dining rooms, split between two floors, feature polished concrete floors and exposed bricks. Upstairs there’s also a bar where they make their own ginger beer and syrups, plus a small terrace and garden.

Virginia oysters with a spring pea and cucumber granita, hemlock and mint oil at The Anchorage.CreditNicholas Gill

The constantly changing menu had just nine dishes listed, during my visit, mostly small plates like lamb tartar with a tangy mustard ice cream and Virginia oysters with a spring pea and cucumber granita and hemlock foraged near the North Carolina border — as well as a charcuterie and cheese board, a few sides like summer squash and grilled turnips and peaches, and desserts.

A $50 five-course tasting allowed me to sample a little bit of everything, including the Charleston wreckfish, prepared two ways: as a crudo with local peaches and red grapefruit (my preference), and grilled with yellow wax beans, smoked tuna and fish sauce.

All of this isn’t to say that meat is entirely missing. It’s just not the pulled pork in mustard sauce that’s typical in this part of the state. “In using the whole hog, we find ourselves with leaf fats, fat back, and other trim and cuts that lend themselves to being complements to the main components of our dishes,” Mr. McPhee said.

For example: Lardo, made from a side of Ossabaw Island pork from a nearby farm is shaved over starters or whipped and slathered on grilled cantaloupe in the summer. Pig might still be king here in South Carolina, but it has plenty of friends, too.

The Anchorage, 586 Perry Avenue; theanchoragerestaurant.com. An average meal for two, without drinks or tips, is about $90.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page TR8 of the New York edition with the headline: Celebrating an Upcountry Bounty of Vegetables. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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