• Tammy Davis

Black Rooster Restaurant

Columbia’s Sunset Destination



When my younger friends and my older friends brag about the same place, it gets my attention.  Every Monday, during the what-did-you-do-over-the-weekend chat, Black Rooster restaurant kept popping up.  I decided to give it a try.

When I made my first reservation online through Resy, I was surprised to get a text message from the manager.  At first, I thought it was an automated text message, but I was wrong.  A real message from a real person – a welcome change in today’s automated world.

The first time I went, the Black Rooster roof top was not crowded.  That may change as the weather warms up. On both visits, the table in the corner with the best view into the city was open.  Most people eventually end up at the wall for a photo. There’s a lot of “I’ll take one of y’all, if you’ll take one of us” going on.

Inside seating downstairs is nothing special. Two tops, four tops, and a big community table that sits 10-12.  I loved the community table, but that might not be for everyone. One couple did not seem happy with that arrangement so make sure you’re clear about that when you make your reservation.  Weather permitting, there are few tables outside with the full menu options.

Black Rooster, one of West Columbia’s newer restaurants, describes itself as “Frenchish.”  I would say it is light on the French and heavy on the “ish.”  It’s definielty a casual spot.  Tarte Flambe (flatbread pizza) was fine, nothing exceptional.  Assiete de Fromage (cheese plate) falls somewhere between Bourbon’s sad excuse and Lulu Drake’s first-in-class.

One of the menu items, “The Royale with Cheese - French Onion Style,” sums up the fun, casual vibe of the Black Rooster.  When I ordered the Royale, the waitress asked me if I was a Pulp Fiction fan.  I did not get the reference, but a quick searchgave me the short scene from Pulp Fiction where John Travolta explains differences between culture in the USA and culture in Europe to Samuel L Jackson. According to the very worldly Vincent Vega, the French call a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder a Royale with Cheese.  It’s a clever reference.

My friends and I split dishes on both visits so I got to try lots of items.  The Royale was my favorite, and I’m not even a hamburger person.  It’s really two little sliders made with chuck/brisket patties.  The buns are buttered and toasted, and it’s all topped with Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, sauce and pickles. Beef-tallow makes crispy, delicious French fries.

Until my Black Rooster experiences, I would have said the rooftop at Hendrix was the downtown place to be, but Black Rooster’s view may give it a run for its money.

If you happen to be out in Columbia, SC, around sunset, head to the Black Rooster.  Tell the hostess you’re there for a quick drink and make your way to the roof top.  Grab the table in the corner closest to the wall.  Order whatever looks good, but make sure to include a side of fries.  Your taste buds and your Instagram will thank you.

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