Motor Supply Company Bistro - 920 Gervais Street

Posted by The LunchMen Friday, February 26, 2010 2 comments

Friends, it has been far, far too long since our last entry. Unfortunately for the lunchmen, trivial matters such as work commitments, matrimonial ceremonies and the holiday season all contributed to the long hiatus since our last review and poll. Many a reader has approached the lunchmen in recent weeks to ask if our beloved blog was dead. The answer, unequivocally, is NO! We are back in full gear and ready to enjoy all the bounty the capital city has to offer in 2010.

To commemorate our much-anticipated return to the blogosphere, the lunchmen, along with veterans Kali and Tex, decided to splurge – both fiscally and calorically – on a Friday afternoon by hitting up the Motor Supply Company Bistro in the Vista.

Motor Supply prides itself on using fresh, local ingredients, often organic and usually without all the hormones and preservatives made famous in a recent episode of Oprah that exposed the corporate food industry. Their menu is hand written and changes everyday, and while they are known more commonly as a dinner place a good first date locale, they are no slouches when it comes to lunch either. Throw in an extensive (if not expensive) wine and beer list and you have the makings of a potentially bold Friday Lunch call.

Upon arrival, our party was greeted with the smell of fresh asparagus and the sighting of several power lunches in progress (including one featuring a current mayoral candidate). There was also a sprinkling of a certain type of woman – those older ladies who don’t work and use the word “lunch” as a verb, as in “Margo, Buffy and I lunched at Motor Supply and I just had to try their swordfish.” You know the type.

No matter what type of person we encountered at the tables, however, all of them had one thing in common – the food in front of them was unrivaled in Columbia based on presentation. As the attached picture of Tex’s meal shows, everything looks like it should be delicious when it comes to your table. The question then, is whether or not the tastes live up to the looks? Would Motor Supply be bold, or boo? We were about to find out.

As you know, today is the end of the month – a/k/a “Pay Day,” so we were in a spending mood. Rest assured, no one associated with this blog “crushes it” in terms of salary. Far from it. If any of us qualified for true “baller” status, then we wouldn’t be leaving work for lunch, we’d be leaving work for good. That said, we all went in prepared to drop more coin than is normal. It started with the first course, in which Tank opted for a cup of the creamy potato soup, Kali tried a side salad, and I enjoyed some vegetable gumbo. Everyone was impressed and satisfied, except for Tex, who forgot to order a first course and had to watch helplessly as we devoured our appetizers.

What Tex lacked in culinary foresight he more than made up for in his entrée choice – quartered and roasted duckling saddled with an orange marmalade. It sounds really good, judging by the picture it looks really good, and according to Tex it tastes really good also. Tank held his own by opting for a Meatball and Italian Sausage Hoagie with pasta salad. While the pasta salad definitely doesn’t qualify as a Motor Supply specialty, the Sandwich looked awesome, and based on the lack of any leftovers was undoubtedly delicious. Also, Tank’s meal came with a pickle – which Tank hates but Rabbit loves since he gets to take it off his plate and add it to his own, so bonus points there.

Kali saw many diners trying the sautéed shrimp special and could not resist. Another solid choice. As for myself, I had the blackened salmon salad. My only complaint was the dressing. I ordered on the side and should have let them toss it in the salad itself. My mistake, but one that I shan’t make again, I assure you.

When the bill came, it did take a minute for us to get over the shock of both how high the price was (over $15 bucks per lunchman after tip) and how long we had been there (45 minutes). Thus, Motor Supply is not somewhere we can go often. However, for special occasions such as this one, there isn’t a better spot for lunch downtown.

- Rabbit.

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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.