Nick Graves Announced as Executive Chef of Restaurant 17
Graves comes to Restaurant 17 in Travelers rest armed with serious skills. I learned first hand about this talented chef during Greenville Small Plate Crawl in March of 2016. He blew us away with some of the most creative menu items we’ve seen on the Crawl in Greenville. I visited his restaurant twice during the Crawl. Yes, it was that delicious.
About the Chef
Friends and family of Restaurant 17’s new Executive Chef filled the dining room to experience his menu this week. The South Carolina native comes to Restaurant 17 from Hall’s Chophouse Greenville. He previously worked under star Charleston Chef Frank Lee, at Highcotton Charleston, with Chef Sean Brock as part of the opening team of Husk Nashville, and as Sous Chef under Tory McPhail at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. Before landing at Halls, he worked with the Rebel Restaurant Group as a research and development Chef.
Cocktails with a View
Chef Nick Graves now takes the helm at Restaurant 17 where he hopes to bring more accessibility to the menu. I invited my new foodie friend, Jill Dolly, to join me this time. I arrived a little early so I could check out the cocktail offerings. The mountain view from Restaurant 17’s bar is incredible. It’s a beautiful spot to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail or a nightcap, or in my case, sip on my Mrs. Rose (Cucumber Vodka, Luxardo Maraschino, St. Germain, Pickled Peach, Rose Water and Lemon Thyme) and soak up the sunshine from my seat by the window.
Chef seriously just took over the kitchen on Sunday before the Tuesday service. Graves called in a few chef buddies for backup. Others just showed up to show support and to help pull together his thoughtfully sourced and beautifully executed menu by Tuesday night’s service.
First bites from the kitchen: Blueberry cheese with honey. No bigger than 2 inches wide, and I took my time savoring it with no less than eight tiny bites.
Sometimes a salad isn’t just a salad. I’ve said that before, but if a chef can take simple ingredients and hook me in with powerful flavor? That’s bliss. This dish was the Summer Salad with Crispy Chicken Skins, Compressed Melon, Boiled Peanuts and candied garlic vinaigrette.
I couldn’t decide on a main course, so I left my fate to the chef. Chef Nick sent out this luscious buttery catfish with coconut milk and cilantro on Carolina gold rice. It was eye-rolling good and moaned through every single bite.
I was taken aback when he sent out a second main course, but heavens, I’m glad he did. This beef was the best I’ve had since the July 2014 Guerilla Cuisine dinner in Charleston when I tried beef heart for the first time. This sauce had us tasting, pondering, and tasting again. It was thought provoking and so beautiful. After we danced the meat through sauce until it was gone, we considered licking the plate. And how is it possible for potatoes to taste that good? It wasn’t the most beautiful dish, by far, but I’m going back for this dish again and again. Here’s hoping it stays on the menu for a while. I know the menu will be changing often based on seasonal availability of ingredients.
I mused over the dessert menu, but settled on a Bullet on ice with a lime wedge to close out the meal. I’m excited to say that Restaurant 17 may have found it’s voice with Nick Graves. It’s worth the trip up the mountain. You’ll leave happily stuffed.
Restaurant 17 is located at 10 Road of Vines Travelers Rest. You can make reservations on OpenTable, or by calling (864) 516-1254. Follow the link to make your hotel reservations at Hotel Domestique.