Into Shelley’s Belly: HG Sply Co. at Lower Greenville

Back patio (left); The bowl with quinoa, pulled pork (right)
Back patio (left); The bowl with quinoa, pulled pork (right) photography by Matthew Shelley

Like Bryan Adams said: To really love a woman, you’ve got to know her deep inside. If she won’t open the balcony window as you plead and sing from the street, bring along some meat to entice her. Women love meat. They crumble before its will, and you will triumph in its wake, or at least you’ll have something to maintain energy while you wait her out. She will weaken and eventually let you in. Stay strong.

If you’re struggling with where to find a suitable supply of this seduction meat, look no further. HG Sply Co. has got you covered. The new paleo-inspired restaurant at the south end of Greenville possesses a consistency of refinement and machismo in all aspects of its being. Following the wooden trend of newcomer restaurants to the area, HG Sply Co. opens up with a sidewalk patio, complemented by a garage door that brings the inside out. There are bright reds, lots of wood and concrete, and that oh-so-clean coolness that is just what the new hipster collective requires in its dining. The place was booming on a Monday night, and after I slipped that first piece of juicy animal flesh into my mouth, it was easy to see why. The menu is meat-driven, characterized by the hunter gatherer sense of simple and archaic traditionalism. Blended and elevated by a masculine sophistication, the offerings are inventive and well-conceived.

Front sign
Front sign
Dining hall (left); outdoor seating area (right)
Dining hall (left); outdoor seating area (right)

 

Taco trio
Taco trio

I started off my bounty with the taco trio (puerco pibil, smoked brisket, and roasted chicken). There was a small bit of tomatillo-habanero salsa, cilantro, lime, and two tightly cut jalapeño slices in guacamole. The tacos are made with two layers of soft corn tortillas, and in between the layers is cheese. The puerco pibil came with little cubes of pork with just enough fat and exquisite seasoning.  The smoked brisket was emboldened with a slight citrus and came juicy and supple. Lastly, the roasted chicken was sensuous and moist. There are many more appetizers to try, but meat like this doesn’t leave a lot of room for overindulgence. Their cocktail menu covers the manly basics with gin, vodka, rum and whiskey, topped with fresh juices, syrups, and all manner of urbane accompaniments. They have a solid beer list and two pages solely for wines, but I decided on the Paper Plane cocktail – a blend of Old Grand Dad Whiskey, Asperol, Averna, and fresh lemon. It didn’t come out smashing bricks and lined with spikes like I’d first hoped, but it was delicious and neatly executed.

For the entrée, I decided to try one of their bowls. For $14, you choose a base, a meat, and a top. I chose quinoa pilaf, pulled pork, and wild mushrooms. Each was sectioned on the plate like a tribal dish from the hunting lands of Africa, though I don’t know if they have pulled pork there. The trio balanced well and the meat was again cooked to perfection. Mom would have been proud that I chewed thoroughly, but it was only because I didn’t want to meat to leave my mouth. Most of the meal was an exercise in restraint. Not picking up the bowl and pouring the contents down my throat was not easy to resist.

The Paper Plane
The Paper Plane

HG Sply Co. has come to the block with their own exciting attitude. The place is spacious beyond expectation, with a large dining room, front patio, back patio, and topped off by a very large rooftop patio and bar. The service is friendly and attentive, and the bar is one that any patron would be delighted to belly up to for a night out. I felt energized as I walked away, full and invigorated like a hunter on the prowl, but I’m glad someone else prepared the meat for me. I’m not so good with the killing part.