The Cazbah: Greenville, SC

The hubby and I left the kids with Grandma for a night and headed to downtown Greenville. We had heard great things about the Cazbah and we love to try lots of new things and share and compare, so the tapas bar theme was right up our alley. Just around the corner from Main Street, this little joint is only slightly off the beaten path, but nevertheless just that half-a-block makes it that much more difficult to spot. It is a tiny building and not very boldly marked which doesn't help either. The entry is very narrow with a host stand right in front of you. It does open up a bit but there are still only about 6 tables and the bar in the main area with a small private room in the corner. There is an upstairs, but there was a private party going on the day we were there, so we didn't get to check it out.

For being touted as one of the classier joints in the Greenville area, I have to say the appearance of the staff was anything but. Grizzly Adams-like facial hair, untucked shirts with beer bellies hanging out, basic black t-shirts you'd find at the Gap...not what I would have expected to find and an upscale restaurant. Not to mention the staff that evening (cooks, servers, bartenders) were all young 20-something males who were more concerned with carrying on their own conversation about girls and parties and sports than taking care of their customers. There was only one server...the only female in the place...that acted, spoke and was dressed to the standard of what I expect at a place like that and she happened to be helping the party upstairs. My husband and I kept wondering why on earth she would work there and put up with the belching brotherhood. Some things I will never understand...

As for the food...I have mixed reviews. Above you see the Lobster Cigars (lobster, cream cheese, and spices) which are served with a teriyaki glaze. The price is $6.95 for TWO. Yes...only TWO. We added an additional two for $2.95 a piece. They were decent...but honestly there was hardly a recognizable size chunk of lobster to be tasted. For about $3 a piece...that thing better be filled with lobster! Instead we realized we'd spent nearly $13 on four "glorified" cream cheese wontons.Very disappointed.

Above is pictured the Maine Taters which are apparently "back by popular demand." Not sure who the "populars" are that "demanded" these back on the menu, but I wasn't impressed. Yukon Gold smashed potatoes topped with Maine Lobster and Asiago cheese. Sound like it should be good, right? What I tasted: dry potatoes with little to no flavor and only one Lobster claw to share with maybe 3-4 shreds of cheese on top. That one only runs you $4.95 so is one of the more economical choices, but again...the flavor just wasn't there.

Next up we tried the Lobster Ravioli. I was nervous as the Lobster so far in every dish we tried was nearly nonexistent. The menu describes this as Pasta stuffed with succulent lobster, cream cheese and pecans. Served with a parmesan cream sauce. The sauce was decent but there were only 3 raviolis in this dish, all of which were essentially empty, deflated sacks. No lobster present and hardly any cream cheese. For $7.50...I can go to Olive Garden and get more and better tasting ravioli!!

Finally we tried the Fusion Tuna Tartar described as Sashimi grade yellowfin tuna diced in a blend of avocado, coconut milk, toasted sesame seeds, fresh ginger, cilantro, chilies, lime juice and seasoned with soy sauce. Served on top crostini bread. Freakin’ delicious! All I can say is: Freakin' NOT!!! Again, only 3 on the plate, burnt crostini and a ceviche mix made with over-ripe avocado, maybe 1oz. of tuna total and the juice of about 50 limes for that added bit of pucker (sense the sarcasm). That disappointment set us back nearly $9.
To each their own...some people would really like this place. The ingredients were fresh so I give them that. But I still found the flavors to be really off-balance and the supposed key ingredients to be lacking on all of the dishes we tried. And I found everything to be extremely overpriced based on what we actually got. If the dish was served as the menu led me to believe it would be, I would have been happy. But when you tout succulent Lobster and Sashimi Grade tuna...you better deliver. And in my opinion...they just didn't. I won't be returning and I am grateful that on that particular visit, we had a Groupon. Makes the disappointment that much more bearable.
The Cazbah on Urbanspoon


  1. I forgot to mention that of all the restaurants in Downtown that do not have a kids menu available online, we sent an email to them asking if they offered a kid friendly environment and a kids appropriate meal. The Cazbah was the only restaurant out of 13 that did not respond to our emails.

  2. Probably cause they dont want your kids in their restaurant

  3. Genius comment! Probably the only restaurant in DT that feels this way. And we left our kids at home and still felt like they didn't want us there! Not sure how you can stay in business and not want customers with open wallets!