Chef Alex Lira is so talented that he’s turned The Lot, a restaurant that shares space with a live music venue, into a suburban dining destination, thumping beats and all. He first won us over with his farmers’ pick plate — a collection of fresh, raw, cooked, and/or pickled veggies in a vibrant pile of crunchy, sweet, salty goodness with a smear of aioli bringing it all together.
The menu at the Lot may be diminutive but it delivers a big wallop of flavor and technique. With experience making sausage and curing meats from time spent at Craft and Marlow & Sons, Lira makes all sorts of treats for your mouth: housemade hot dogs, trotter cakes, country pate, porchetta, and he has just as much finesse with veggies.
Perhaps feeling a little overlooked over on James Island, Lira is coming downtown for the festival weekend, teaming up with Mark Andrew Gravel, a freelance chef who has put together conceptual pop-up events from here to San Francisco and back to Brooklyn, published food ’zines (food + sex), and wrote a visual cookbook called Kill the Recipe.
The two will be taking over the tiny Elliotborough Mini Bar for SloCuts, which they’re touting as a fun and affordable event during the wine and food festival weekend. For $15, you’ll get an evening of house-made charcuterie like head cheese, smoked meats, pickled vegetables, slow-cooked cowpeas, housemade frank and beans, and the market pick salad. They’ll be serving the food right off a smoker. (Beer and wine will be available for purchase at the bar).
Gravel, who met Lira at Marlow & Sons, says they’ve booked the Travelin’ Kine and Steady Hand String Band for music and promises it will be a good time.