Heading into Bone-In Artisan Barbecue's buffet, I knew I was in store for something delicious and wonderful with all the hype surrounding it, but I was in no way prepared to discover the awesome insanity that laid ahead. For $12, a mere $3-4 more then your average Bone-In meal, you not only get a full-on assault of their usual menu, but also a plethora of amazing eats and surprises that looks subtle at first glance, but explodes at first bite with bursts of creativity.
Take their mac and cheese for instance. A traditional looking pile of cheesy goodness at first site, a spoonful reveals the amazing Bone-In twist at the bottom - hoisin barbecue, by the heap. The combination of the familiar mac and cheese (which is packed with a variety of cheeses, including blue which is a nice touch) and the smoky barbecue is both amazing and sinister, a force to be reckoned with.
Hog seems to find it's way into most dishes for that matter, whether it's in their meaty hash, their succotash and collards, or in their zany bacon pimento cheese. They also have a pretty wicked lima bean and grape tomato dish that looks bright and innocent on the surface, but is packed with an incredible meaty flavor that would make even the most timid of vegetable eaters want extra. For those looking for a brief intermission, a nice salad of mixed local greens and some pretty darn special mashed sweet potatoes on the side helps keep things going.
And then there's the meats. Their barbecue admittedly somewhat falters in the face of Columbia's best for me. Little Pig's and other South Carolina barbecue joints have a slight edge with their super tender hog and classic South Carolina sauces. Bone-In's secret weapon though is in their ability to rift some pretty edgy concoctions, for me best of all being their sriracha fried chicken; a super moist, flavor bursting hunk of chicken that's just flat out delicious. Not spicy like you'd think something doused in sriracha batter might be, but really spot on and juicy all the way to the bone. A must have.
Desert presents itself in a big way, first with the oh-so-amazing blueberry cobbler. Words fail me on describing how good this is, you just have to be there. The choice of cookie for the day, perhaps not-so-innocent at first glance, was definitely not innocent at first bite either. The kitchen sink of cookies, a brownie blasted concoction filled with everything including macadamia nuts, white and semi-sweet chocolate chips, and some marshmallow-y thing. If you dislike any one of these things, you're still likely be in love with one of these chocolate bombs. Between the chocolate bomb and berry cobbler, it's a heck of a finish to a devastatingly good lunch experience. Make sure you hit up Bone-In on their twitter or facebook to find out when the next buffet is coming to the Apple to get a bite of what may be Cola's best lunch.