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The State, Columbia, SC Newspaper Review Excerpts

Redbone Does It Up Right With Its Signature Dishes

My recipe for a perfect dining experience at Redbone Alley, 5400 Forest Drive in Columbia:

Start with a plateful of wood-smoked wings ($5.99), packed with flavor and accompanied by a ranch dipping sauce.

Or, if you're partial to spicier cuisine, choose the Buffalo chicken planks ($5.79), strips of meat deep-fried in Redbone's tasty, light batter and covered with hot (HOT!) pepper sauce.

The planks come with celery sticks and bleu cheese dipping sauce, as traditional Buffalo wings would be served – and you'll need them to cool down your palate.

Next, order up a house salad ($3.99), one of the tastiest I've had. It's mixed greens and other vegetables topped with crumbled bacon and shredded cheese. The tangy cucumber and sour cream dressing complements the smoky bacon beautifully. (My dining companion foud the Caesar salad that accompanied his meal a little too shy on the garlic.)

And the essential ingredient to your Redbone Alley dining experience: a big bowl of one of the restaurant's signature dishes, Lowcountry shrimp and grits ($11.99). The shrimp are covered in a spicy batter and deep-fried, then placed on a bed of rich, creamy cheese grits. (Grits done right, of course.) Strips of smoked ham and sliced and sautéed mushrooms and scallions top off the dish.

When you eat at Redbone, keep in mind that the portions are generous. The serving of shrimps and grits, for instance, is made with a hearty eater in mind.

And remember this, too: If the menu describes a dish as a Redbone signature, it's bound to please!

The inside of the restaurant looks like a court yard; you get the feeling you're dining beside small-town Main Street. (Ask to sit upstairs; you'll get a better view.) And it's a great place for families; the restaurant has a play area for parents can actually enjoy eating.