Down the first set of stairs in Falls Park in Greenville, a bright red awning marks the entrance to French restaurant Passerelle. The leafy patio beckons with umbrella-shaded tables that boast a lovely view of Falls Park. This is a perfect perch to enjoy a leisurely lunch in warm weather, or simply to sit and sip a glass of wine after work. You can even bring your well-behaved canine friends. (The restaurant provides water bowls.)
Mountain trout at Passerelle Bistro — Photo courtesy of Getz Creative / Table 301
Inside, a black and white mosaic-tile floor and dark wood bistro tables and chairs fashion an atmosphere reminiscent of the Left Bank in Paris. On one side of the room, there’s a small, marble-topped bar, where the bartender shakes up the likes of a Rosé cocktail and a French 75, a tantalizing mix of gin, Cointreau, Champagne and lime juice. On a nice day, the front windows swing open to welcome the fresh air.
A chef’s bar flanks the kitchen, the domain of Chef de Cuisine Teryi Youngblood, who honed her skills in French cuisine as a budding chef watching Julia (Child) and Jacques (Pépin) on TV in the years preceding Food Network.
At the chef’s bar, foodies enjoy watching Youngblood and her staff whip up favorite small plates such as baked goat cheese (wrapped in light, crispy pastry and served over a tangle of greens with house-made blueberry lavender jam and candied walnuts) and Mussels Passerelle in a saffron broth spiked with tomatoes and espelette peppers (a variety of chile pepper that hails from the Basque region of France).
For something more substantial, Chef Teryi suggests the cassoulet, a hearty traditional French stew made with duck confit and sausage. The chef lightens her version with the season, adding, for instance, local field peas and Swiss chard in summer. Another much-ordered dish, fresh mountain trout sings an ode to simplicity, crusted with parsley and garlic and accompanied by sweet peas, carrots and “chateau” potatoes.
Don’t hesitate to bring the kids to Passerelle, as the children’s menu accommodates younger palates with the likes of Twirly Whirly (a cheese and vegetable tart), roast chicken with potatoes and carrots and a healthy version of mac and cheese, made with puréed cauliflower. (Never fear: The kids won’t know it’s there!)
Before being tapped to head the kitchen at Passerelle, Youngblood was the pastry chef at Soby’s on the Side, so dessert tugs at her heart. Knowing that, you would be wise to save room for the almond galette or the chocolate mousse tart at the end of your meal.