the spot: Golden Brown & Delicious 1269 Pendleton St. Greenville SC 29611
the eats: Smoked Fish Bagel, Burger, Fried Chicken Sandwich, really whatever you want
the bucks: $10 or less, not including fries
the full nelson: the restaurant all the chefs in town were talking about
It’s been almost two years since I walked into the doors of Golden Brown & Delicious but the memory of the smoked sable on a toasted bagel dressed to the 9s certainly does linger. And being featured on an episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate only adds fuel to my fire of needing to post about this spot to the world.
If you caught that episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate in June, you saw that the deli spirit is alive and well in America. Still, I’m quite happy to save my bagel noshing for New York City. Russ and Daughter’s is a personal fav of mine and I know I am not alone in that sentiment. But exceptional bagels happen outside of Gotham, just ask anyone in Greenville SC.
Yes, I said Greenville SC . . .
For me, a great bagel has to come with great smoked fish. Golden Brown & Delicious likes fresh caught Mackerel(when they can get it) and smoke it in house over pecan wood. After being placed on a toasted bagel that is also made in house, the fish is topped with fried capers, a dill cream cheese spread, pickled red onion, crumbled hard boiled egg, and a slice of tomato. The black plate with a backdrop of sautéed chard make for the prettiest damned deli item Instagram has ever seen:
If you haven’t guessed it by now, Golden Brown and Delicious isn’t exactly your old school kind of deli. More of a super cozy chef driven farm to table restaurant that runs counter service during the day and then switches to table service for dinner. And if the other items are any indicator, you might want to check out dinner as well.
Golden Brown & Delicious’ Fried Chicken sandwich comes on a house made bun, topped with Bibb lettuce, pickles, honey and for a real twist: aji lemon aioli. Aji is a pepper that is popular in Peruvian cuisine. It is known for possessing a standout heat that doesn’t linger too long. One writer described it as a “chile that tastes like sunshine”. It’s warm, inviting and easily repeated; this is a chef driven touch to a reasonable priced fried chicken sandwich($8).
I suppose if you can serve a fried chicken sandwich than you can serve a fried chicken salad. Key notes here beyond that ravishing black plate is clearly the sourcing of local produce. What makes or breaks an entrée salad is whether the greens would put Whole Foods to shame. Checkmate.
And of course there is the ubiquitous chef driven burger. Golden Brown & Delicious’ website claims 15,000 burgers have been sold and from the looks of this one can easily see why. A thick patty cooked to temp on a house made bun yet dressed like a diner burger. Comfort food done to a chef’s expectations. Yes this kind of burger might not make news but it does make green.
I could always go for a burger but the Smoked Mackerel Bagel was clearly the unique dish to go for and easily the best deli fare I have had outside of Los Angeles or New York City. If you happen to be in Greenville SC, make a stop to Golden Brown & Delicious and pray they have that Smoked Mackerel Bagel that day. Or cry tears into some fried chicken or a burger. It’s nice to have first world problems.