Lower Greenville restaurant satisfies a primal palate

The flourless chocolate cake topped with almond milk ice cream. (MALLORY ASHCRAFT/The Daily Campus)


Hunt and gather your next meal seated inside the cozy dining room at HG Sply Co., a Paleo-inspired restaurant that offers dishes that draw from the so-called “caveman” diet.

Staples in the Paleo diet include meat and vegetables, and that emphasis can certainly be felt at HG Sply Co. The “hunted” side of the menu features high-quality meat and fish entrees, while the “gathered” side offers a selection of unique vegetable side dishes.

Processed foods, grains and starches, and dairy are all off the menu in the Paleo diet. But fear not — diners can still get grub in the form of a meaty sandwich or burger at HG Sply Co.

While it technically isn’t 100 percent Paleo, the straightforward menu makes it easy to enjoy healthy food in general. The meat dishes are pure and simple but not lacking in flavor, and the vegetable side options offer enough variety to keep things interesting. The average price of an entree is $25, and each side is $6 (bumping up most dishes closer to the $30 range).

The bowls, $14, are build-your-own style dishes served with a choice of vegetables and protein. The flavors offered are easy to combine and have the potential to generate many palatable variations.

The duck confit, brussel sprout chips and sweet potato hash complemented each other particularly well. The duck was fork-tender and lean with a rich, gamy flavor. The sweet potato hash had a subtle spiciness to it, and while the brussel sprout chips were not crispy or at all like a chip, their distinct flavor came through nicely.

Other offerings for making a bowl included bases such as quinoa, organic greens and curried cauliflower; meats including chicken, steak and pulled pork; and toppings including spicy broccoli, wild mushrooms and guacamole.

The beet salad, a different take on a trendy dish, was a clean and refreshing appetizer for $9. Bibb lettuce, red and golden beets, spicy candied pecans and crumbled bacon were tossed in a light and herby green goddess dressing. The beets could have been roasted a bit longer to make them softer and more tender, but the ingredients all paired nicely with one another.

It’s hard to imagine that a caveman would deny himself dessert after feasting on so much vegetable sustenance. And when dessert is a gluten-free and dairy-free flourless chocolate cake, it’s easy for anyone to say yes.

The cake, served warm and topped with a scoop of almond milk ice cream, was rich and chocolaty with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Apparently it was made from coconut flour, but there was no trace of coconut. It was positively intoxicating.

As the name suggests, the Paleo diet dates back to the Paleolithic Period, a time before industrialized agriculture when people gathered plants and hunted animals for food.

Proponents of the diet say that the human body did not evolve to digest foods that came as a result of industrialization — namely dairy products, grains and legumes (beans) ­— while critics argue that the diet is too restrictive.

Mark Sisson, author of “The Primal Blueprint” and a strong supporter of the Paleo diet, said on his blog that replacing unhealthy processed foods with high-quality meats and vegetables can’t be bad.

According to an article from Scientific American, most nutritionists agree that cutting down on processed foods is a good choice for everyone. But other guidelines of the Paleo diet are stirring up controversy.

Many critics argue against cutting out entire food groups and the healthy nutrients they provide, including fiber from whole grains, protein from beans and calcium from dairy products. Furthermore, the article also states that humans adapted to eating a wide variety of foods since the Stone Age and that the central philosophy of the Paleo diet is fundamentally flawed.

The beauty of a concept like HG Sply Co. is that people don’t have to be on the diet to eat there and enjoy it, and for once they can feel good about what they’re putting in to their body at a restaurant.

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