Rosewood neighborhood has several such establishments, but our favorite is Kraken Gastropub. My husband Brian and I can often be found on a rainy weekend night, seated at the bar, chatting with the staff about what’s on draft…and sometimes the crazy patrons seated behind us…
Tucked away behind the BP gas station by the Rosewood Publix, it’s a bit of a dive. And if you show up on a Friday night at 7:30 (come on, that’s prime dinner real estate no matter where you go), you will not only have trouble getting a table, but you also won’t get a whole lot of sympathy. Nor will you get to stand around with a pager until a table comes available. This is a seat-yourself-and-wait-for-someone-to-see-you kind of venue. But the staff is friendly, and if you get Trish as your server, you will not only get good service, but you’ll also get great menu recommendations, plus a little bit of (playful) sarcastic banter (especially if you can jaw back with her a bit).
Kraken boasts a wide variety of rotating draft beers. This is not the place to order Bud Light or Corona. You can get those, but you’ll probably get made fun of, either to your face or behind your back (maybe by me…). Instead, this is a place to try something new and exciting that will compliment the Gastropub menu items. The bartenders will even give you a sample of something you’re interested in so you can make an informed decision. I frequently take them up on this, much to my poor husband’s chagrin…
Because it is a Gastropub, Kraken boasts classic pub foods, like wings and burgers, plus a few new twists. Three words: Lobster. Grilled. Cheese. You guys, this is like a heart attack on a plate with ample chunks of lobster, cream cheese, pimento cheese and oozy brie, sautéed in butter and served with FRIES! By the way, if you order anything that comes with fries at Kraken, you DEFINITELY want to upgrade to the Truffle Fries. They are amazing, and the plain ones, though delicious, don’t even compare. They need no ketchup (and you may get judged if you ask for some), because they are covered in coarse salt, shredded Parmesan and truffle oil. Oh. Man. (And that is saying something because sometimes I order fries just so I can have ketchup…can you say addict?)
Another of Brian’s and my personal faves is the fish and chips (again, with the truffle fries). Thick, flaky fish, battered and deep fried to perfection, this dish takes me back to my visit to London a few years ago. Truly one of my favorite lazy weekend meals in one of my favorite low-key places in Columbia.
The décor is also very British pub-like. Anglophile that I am, I love anywhere that makes me feel like I’ve gone to back London Town. Many British-style restaurants in the U.S. miss the mark on the legit pub vibe, but Kraken and a couple of other places here in Columbia have that older-than-dirt feel (though Kraken is actually fairly new), and make you feel like you’re in an authentic pub.
A few tips: 1) Kraken is closed on Sunday evenings. 2) Sit at the bar – it’s more fun that way. 3) Truffle fries.