Recently I had dinner at Thoroughbreds Chophouse and Seafood Grille in Myrtle Beach. I chose a New York strip steak and I had a broiled lobster tail as a compliment. It was a memorable meal. The steak was fall-apart tender.
The restaurant is designed to look like a jockey club. It looked like a country club dining room to me. The colors were muted browns and corals. I was there to do this review. It is not hard to get a reservation at Thoroughbreds. The service was attentive and efficient. My server looked after my needs well. It’s an older crowd who all seemed to be quietly enjoying themselves. It would be a great place to propose.
Dave Amend, the restaurant’s manager, has been there for 12 years and seems content. I felt welcome when I came in the door. The lady who showed me to my seat was gracious and accommodating. The menu was well balanced. The wine list was balanced, as well.
The chef, John Tapper, sat for an interview and was generous with his answers.
The Daily Meal: How did you get into cooking? Who taught you most about cooking?
Chef John Tapper: Initially, I got into a cooking class in the 10th grade to meet girls at the vo-tech culinary program at Elk Lake High School. The next summer I got a job washing dishes at the local Italian bistro across town. I was very excited to get the job, and even walked several miles each way to get there. A few weeks later I was telling the chef that I had some cooking classes, and she decided to take me in. From that day I was no longer a dish washer. She was the first one to really spend the time it took to train me. I graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Minneapolis, but probably learned more in that tiny kitchen in Pennsylvania. Cora Jones, a CIA graduate was in her late 20’s, and at that age owned and operated a busy place with her brother Mike. I tell stories to this day about her trucker laugh, salmon skin throwing, sublime rocking, and most of all her huge heart.
How do you work with your local suppliers? How did you choose your suppliers?
At Thoroughbreds we work with local suppliers mostly for fresh South Carolina produce. Buddy, owner and operator of Strand produce, delivers fresh produce daily, hand selected from Charleston farmers markets. Our micro-greens are locally grown from Hulls Island Farm, and delivered fresh by the owner twice per week. The local suppliers were carefully selected to deliver the freshest produce, and top quality meats. Our Braveheart NY strip just received the James Beard award for outstanding quality.
What is your specialty, signature dish and why?
My specialty at Thoroughbreds is Sous Vide cooking. I can deliver amazing results, each and every time using this cooking technique. It has translated well with our guests. My signature dish is the grilled Australian rack of lamb with silky sweet potato, garlic spinach, bacon bourbon jus, and tomato jam. It showcases sous vide technique, artistic style, and southern flavors to tie it all together.
What are your plans, hopes for the future?
Right now, each day, I continue to learn and grow as much as possible. I have a cooking channel on you tube, (Food Fox), and a cooking page on Facebook (Pearl onion culinary arts blog). I hope to learn enough to have my own successful small restaurant and bar. I would like to provide signature cocktails, small plates, and daily entertainment to help people relax and unwind.
I would go back and eat at Thoroughbreds in a heartbeat. I loved the meal and the atmosphere at this white tablecloth restaurant.