300 Senate - On the Canal

Posted by The LunchMen Thursday, August 27, 2009

Columbia's waterfront dining continues to fall short of impressive.

Being from the coast, waterfront dining is one of my favorites. When Mrs. Tank told me that Vista Events were serving lunch out their building right on the Canal, I was pretty pumped. I've tried to enjoy a meal across the bridge at New Orleans Restaurant several times, but the fare has disappointed so often that I've given up on the great location.

300 Senate is an out of the way location with a great building that features exposed bricks and rafters. Their porch overlooks a grassy expanse that leads to the canal. It is a serene venue. Since the August sun was unforgiving early this week, Mrs. Tank and I dined indoors. First impression - business was slow. However, the host and wait staff proved friendly and attentive.

We started the meal with a dip duo of chicken salad and jalapeno pimento cheese served with pita chips. The chicken salad was just okay, but the pimento was very good. The appetizer was massive, certainly more than two should eat on a busy weekday lunch. In retrospect, we should have eaten the whole appetizer, called it quits, and headed back to work happy.

However, with high expectations of the pricey lunch menu, Mrs. Tank ordered the crab cake sandwich while I ordered the fried green tomato BLT. To summarize the entrees, we were like Mama and Papa bear in the tale of Goldilocks. Her sandwich was too moist, while my sandwich was too dry. Her crab cake was undercooked, while my tomatoes were sliced too thinly, over-breaded, and over-cooked. Both sandwiches needed more aioli to lift the flat flavor.

Mrs. Tank was full and threw in the towel halfway through her sandwich. I, however, was not willing to give up. In the Goldilocks tale, had Goldilocks simply combined Papa Bear's "too hot" and Mama Bear's "too cold" porridge, I expect the result would have been "just right." Being the constant improviser that I am, I added some of her crab cake AND some of the pimento cheese to the remainder of my BLT. The result? A crab and pimento BLT that proved that a sum can be greater than its parts. Mrs. Tank was not impressed by my playing with my food, but I was thoroughly pleased with myself.

I used my 300 Senate comment card to call for improvement to the food and to praise my great waiter. I regret not suggesting that they add my creation to the menu. Ultimately, 300 Senate will need to refine its menu and its execution to stay competitive in Columbia's lunch market.

- Tank

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Rabbit, Tank, and The Publican are three dudes just trying to get through the work week here in Columbia. Rabbit is a Columbia native, Tank is from Charleston, and The Publican hails from Greenville. Rabbit's favorite lunch spot is the No Name Deli on Elmwood, where you may find him putting down a grilled chicken salad and a side of vinegar pasta. The Publican usually wants to find food to cure his all-too-common hangovers. Tank claims no favorite lunch spot - he lives for the thrill of the hunt.