As locals who are interested in food know all too well, Rock Hill is pretty desolate when it comes to restaurants serving delicious, well thought out food. There are a couple of fantastic breakfast places (The Yolk and Lell’s) but when it comes to dinner, the pickens are slim.
But last week my husband and I ate at a (fairly) new restaurant in Rock Hill, Culina Modern Comfort Food, focusing on small plates and shareability. I would not have even known about it if I hadn’t seen a stack of their business cards at Faith Fitness Studio during one of my workouts.
Our dining experience at Culina was wonderful. The food, the drinks, the atmosphere, the service- it all works, making it a welcome addition to Rock Hill. I cannot wait to go back. Culina Modern Comfort Food is perfect for date night or a special occasion.
Culina is located in one of the newish little strip malls clustered together on Herlong Ave near the hospital. The restaurant interior is a little on the small side and has an intimate feel. There is not a whole lot of seating and you will definitely want to make a reservation if dining at Culina on a weekend. The seating consists of a mixture of booths, tables, high-tops, and a small bar area. We sat at a high-top table which I’m usually not a fan of, but the seats were plenty comfortable.
Chef J Michael Melton has created a menu with just the right amount of offerings. Start your meal off with one of their signature cocktails and you won’t be disappointed. The Dark ‘n Stormy, a mixture of rum and ginger beer, was so awesome, we couldn’t resist ordering a second round. Try one and you’ll be hooked. It’s cool and refreshing, with a tingly taste. Sweet and Spicy with a little citrus taste from lime. Almost like a citrus gingerbread cookie.
On the food menu, the dishes all fall within a comfort food theme that is focused on global flavors made with locally sourced food. You’ll find Asian, Spanish, Italian, and American influences on the menu. For a small bite, choose from Ginger Beer Mussels, Glazed Sweet Potato Fries with a honey bourbon glaze, and if you’re feeling adventurous, deep-fried Frog Legs with spicy brown honey mustard.
We had the Chicken Bun and the Creamy Crawfish Mac and Cheese. The mac and cheese was good, but the chicken bun was the standout. Tasty chicken enveloped in a house made steamed bun. The perfect combination of sweet and spicy. I would have eaten 10 of them. The waitress explained they had recently switched out pork for chicken in this dish. I’m sure the pork would have been excellent too.
On the Cold Plates Menu, the Bok Choy Salad is popular, consisting of charred bok choy, mung bean sprouts, kimchi pancake, slivered almonds, fresh green onion, and sweet soy vinaigrette.
For a main course, we were tempted by the Cheerwine Fried Chicken, but decided to try the Flat Iron Steak with tomato jam, feta, and country ham potato cakes and the Crab Stuffed Lobster. The presentation for both was excellent and the ingredients were superbly fresh. The tomato jam on the steak was very sweet, but I loved it.
For dessert I highly recommend the Bread Pudding. We licked our plate clean.
What makes Culina Modern Comfort Food even more appealing? As a business, they are taking steps to ensure their business practices are as “green” as possible. Their used fryer oil is converted to bio diesel. Grease trap waste is turned into plant food and all glass, paper, and cardboard products are recycled. Rechargeable candles are used to cut down on plastic and oil use and each table has a glass bottle filled with chilled water and topped with a cork-like stopper to minimize water waste.
Bottles of wine are half-priced every Wednesday and Thursdays are $5 martinis. Culina also serves Brunch on Sundays, is considering opening for lunch in the near future, and is in the process of revamping their menu for Spring.
295 Herlong Ave
Rock Hill, SC 29732