What's good here? 7 Grill

Spotlight's on fresh grilled food

08/25/2010 12:00 AM

11/10/2010 10:00 AM

Fresh, never frozen proteins simply seasoned and grilled are the focus of the relatively new 7 Grill off Clemson Road in the Northeast.

What’s good here?

“Almost 100 percent of our menu involves grilled items — all but three items currently on the menu, in fact. The grill and the seasonings give the meats their wonderful flavors,” says Mark Leger, owner of 7 Grill.

All the meats are fresh. Chicken is purchased from a local farm. Steaks are cut to order. Pork is marinated in a rosemary brine.

Leger designed and wrote the menu, basing it on his own recipes and some inspirations. Many items involve special “flavors.” For example, the Bang the Drum starter includes extra-large chicken drumettes marinated in his savory herbs and then baked. The grilled shrimp starter also features a special blend of seasonings and is served with a “cusabi” sauce: wasabi, cucumber and mayonnaise. “You can taste the different herbs and spices, but they don’t overpower the flavor of the meats,” Leger says.

What else?

Leger likes to add clever and simple enhancements to familiar items, such the Caesar Blue Salad with blue cheese flavors and grilled chicken. When a customer orders a steak, there is a choice of four flavors. One offers a blend of 16 spices, two use coffee, and another is a traditional garlic pepper seasoning. Cilantro Pesto Chicken served with lime wedges offers a break from the usual garlic and basil pesto. Ribs are cooked nine hours and brushed with a secret sauce that includes cola in the recipe.

How did 7 Grill get its start?

Leger, a career restaurateur and previously a partner in the Texas Roadhouse franchise, decided he wanted to try his grill concept on Columbians. A native of Boston, Leger named the restaurant for the number of years he has been in Columbia.

What does the place look like?

Leger conveys the “7” concept throughout the decor of the restaurant. All the artwork has something to do with the number 7. Some are obvious, such as a headline for Pearl Harbor, which occurred on Dec. 7; others take some pondering to determine their “seven” significance. All the music playing inside the open-floor-plan restaurant is from the 1970s. There are also “7” specials on the menu, such as the 7 Steak, 7 Chicken and 7 Kickin’ Shrimp. Exposed pipes, brick walls, interior windows as space dividers, and natural stain wood provide a casual atmosphere. There is an entryway dining room that seats close to 100 as well as outdoor seating, plus a large bar and seating area with television screens.

Who eats here?

Leger has learned that once a customer tastes the special flavors he adds to the grill items, they often become regulars. As school is under way, he expects more families and school and sports groups will be stopping by during the week. Beginning once a month in September, 7 Grill will host an Evening for Heroes to say thank you to those in the military who have been injured serving. The veterans and up to three of their family members will be served a free meal.

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