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Spero Serves Quick Service and Perfect Food

Einah Park, Features Editor

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At Spero, two years ago, I walked into a rustic eatery at 616 Meeting Street waiting for customers to fill the tables. Quickly, it proved to be a complete juxtaposition, with its minimalistic walls and setting disregarding one wall: a collage of frames of the seven deadly sins and vibrant paintings covering the side. The outside doesn’t look like it’d amount to much, but everyone knows the food is what defines a restaurant.

 

Now to the present, only two days ago, I went for a quick brunch that crossed the fine line between meal and feast. We were seated at the bar, exactly where I sat those couple years ago, also being greeted by Chef Rob who remembered me from two years ago as “Girl who should not have been drinking Starbucks coffee so young on a Saturday afternoon.”

 

We immediately began with the sourdough pretzel bread, which originally came paired with the ham and mustard butter. But knowing how things roll, we got all three buttery options adding in the honey miso butter and malted maple butter. The start was fantastic, keeping us hungry for more with the hot and beautifully baked bread topped with various assortments of butter.

 

For little appetizer plates to share, we ordered the mushroom agnolotti, encompassingly described to be like pasta burritos. Stuffed with oyster mushrooms and duxelles topped with pickled shallots and chicken jus, the agnolotti were perfect bite sized bits that were warm and melted like butter.

 

Along with the reasonably priced agnolotti, we also ordered the chicken liver pate. This was a surprising dish. The flavor of the chicken liver and pork pate was shockingly clean and mild, almost to the point of being sweet as it smoothed over, contrasting the softer yet textured bread spread with two types of dijon mustard: one sweet and light, the other a classic, vibrant taste with spicy undertones. So summed up, perfect. The price for both dishes was unbelievably cheap, the quality of the food we ordered so far belonging to a white linen restaurant yet so simply priced.

 

For the main, we ordered the boneless short rib to share. Settled snugly over a bed of Charleston Gold Middlins rice, paired with ancho chili and young onion, which was charred green onion, the short rib peeled off easily as expected. The short rib was hearty, braised to the perfect texture as the beef easily ripped apart and was consumed almost immediately. The flavors combined to create the perfect performance from all ingredients, each complementing the next in a variety of contrasting tastes that melded harmoniously.

 

Of course, this didn’t finish our meal. We ended with milk and cookies and three flavors of ice cream. Do not underestimate these. The cookies are well known in the Charleston area and they were just as warm and soft and delicious as I had remembered, the milk being the perfect counterbalance to the sweet chocolate and heavy cookie taste. The ice creams were all delicious, the lemongrass proving to be a subtle and milder taste than thought, the butter toast almost tasting like caramel scotch and the caramel coffee perfect to dip the cookie in.

 

Overall, the second experience was better than my first. Witty and quick service paired with equally quick food prep time and practically perfect food, the brunch was a easy “quick sandwich run” to “quick let’s try everything on the menu” in seconds for a ultimately. The number of dishes ultimately added up as we tried so much in such little time, a bill of $70 unveiling itself on the table, a result of the low cost but piling dishes throughout our meal.

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Spero Serves Quick Service and Perfect Food