Imagine… it’s the middle of summer, the sun is waning into the Columbia, South Carolina horizon and it’s a roaring 100 degrees Fahrenheit at 7:00 pm in the evening. That’s exactly where I found myself, in the center of the state, in the midst of a heatwave. Dinnertime was approaching and the sweltering heat only made me think of cool libations. I searched for nearby restaurants and of course, maybe subliminally wanting to quench my heatstroke, Cola’s Restaurant became my destination. Cola’s is located in a refurbished 1930’s RC Cola bottling plant and offers casual-fine dining with a specialty in seafood, steaks and other culinary creations influenced by a broad range of ethnic cooking.
I’m a sucker for these renovated and restored nostalgic venues. I’m all about taking a defunct venue and adapting it into a useable space while still honoring a city’s history. My need to eat and drink and the thought of doing it all in a repurposed building is what drew me to Cola’s.
Inside, I reveled at the exposed brick, a visible ceiling and functional garage doors that open when weather permits. The restaurant had that industrial feel but was comfortable at the same time. I ordered off the menu and decided on one of their specials – sushi grade tuna with toasted black and white sesame seeds, and a homemade wasabi sauce with a citrus ginger reduction sauce. The meal was accompanied by bok choy and cilantro jasmine rice.
The tuna was just as I ordered it, rare and delicious. I enjoyed a pre-dinner beverage from their impressive wine list. I began with a Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc, which boasted a light and tangy amalgamation of gooseberry and red capsicum flavors. I followed up my meal with a Tomaiolo Toscana Supertuscan which I thoroughly enjoyed. It reminded me of my time in Tuscany by blending Sangiovese with Cabernet and Merlot with the infused flavors of dark berries, bing cherries and a hint of tobacco spice.
Even though I was full, I opted to try a dessert. I’m always game for a Crème Brulee, eagerly anticipating whether I’ll find a warm caramelized sugar top above a cool vanilla bean custard. This one almost held my interest. This was really a dessert that should have been shared – to my dismay, I was only capable of eating half.
I am eager to pass through Columbia on another occasion, to give me a reason to visit Cola’s again. From what I’ve seen, they offer a well-rounded menu, inviting wine list and fair dessert selections. Colas is located at 1215 Assembly Street in Columbia, SC. Visit their website at www.colasrestaurant.com for more information.