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Charlotte, NC


MBK
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Does anyone have any dining recommendations in or around Charlotte, NC? My parents are moving there next month, and I'd like to recommend some places for them (as well as come up with some places to try when I visit!) Thanks.

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Providence Bistro in Ballentyne (sp?) area - a newer area outside of downtown Charlotte, but delicious none-the-less. Also, check out Brixx Pizza (great wine list!) downtown. Arpa is good too - for tapas a la Jaleo. The menu is almost identical to Jaleo, in fact - but a hot restaurant with great wines too!

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Wanted to quickly post a few restaurant recommendations in Charlotte -- I had my first visit there last weekend. Although we didn't try any of Olivia's recommendations, I have a few of my own:

Mai (Japanese) -- pretty authentic, excellent quality sashimi, and they have natto on the menu (exciting for my dad, less so for me).

Mimosa Grill -- had an excellent lunch there (in the heart of downtown). Try the pecan crusted trout!

Patou -- fantastic food and service in the South End neighborhood (I think). Specials are excellent, and the rabbit on the regular menu is phenomenal.

Liu Liu (Asian fusion) -- this is in Baxter, and is a really great restaurant -- I don't usually like Asian fusion, but we asked the owner for recommendations of authentic Chinese options (she is Taiwanese) and they were very tasty. Try any of the dumplings, and the eggplant.

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Dinner at Patou must be better than lunch. I took my mother to lunch today and found it disappointing. The service was good enough but the food was merely OK and the wine list pedestrian.

Onion soup Pleasantly beefy broth with not quite cooked long enough onions, a tough crouton, and presliced swiss on top. I had to pick out several whole rosemary leaves.

Chicken and wild mushroom crepes One huge crepe bundled around chunks of chicken and mushroom sauce. My one bite was pleasant.

Steak Frites au Poivre A smallish flatiron, coated with acrid preground (not cracked) pepper. It was not browned outside, and the asked-for medium rare came out raw in the center, sitting in a pool of ordinary cream sauce that quickly became overwhelmed by the ground pepper. Accompanied by precut Sysco fries, and green beans that had obviously had different cooking times. I did not finish my entree.

Mom had a mimosa, and I had a $7 glass of Guigal Cote du Rhone.

Of course giving one's money to independent places is preferable, but I can't shake the thought that we would have had a more palatable meal at the Cheescake Factory or McCormick & Schmick. :P

Patou Bistro

1315 East Blvd

Charlotte, NC 28203

704.376.2233

www.patoubistro.com

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Dinner at Patou must be better than lunch. I took my mother to lunch today and found it disappointing. The service was good enough but the food was merely OK and the wine list pedestrian.
My second meal there, for my dad's birthday in September, was indeed pedestrian. Didn't come close to my experience there in March. I don't know if there's been a change in the kitchen, or if my pleasant experience in the spring was an anomaly.

But I'm not sure I'd go quite so far as to say Cheesecake Factory would have been better... :P

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You know, Charlotte tries really hard, but it's not even a third tier food town yet. Patou was just as bad the second time. :blink: MBK, you must hit it at the right time.

Oh, and I had a really average salad at the Cheescake Factory yesterday.

ETA regular sources of Pimento cheese makes it worth it though. ;)

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You know, Charlotte tries really hard, but it's not even a third tier food town yet. Patou was just as bad this time and it was the last time. :blink: MBK, you must hit it at the right time.

Oh, and I had a really average salad at the Cheescake Factory yesterday.

ETA regular sources of Pimento cheese makes it worth it though. ;)

I think you might be right ... we haven't been back to Patou.

A couple of places to try if you're still there (with a better review to come) -- Zebra, where I had a nice dinner a couple of weeks ago, and Customshop, the new David Pasternack venture that doesn't feel like Charlotte AT ALL. Seriously. If you go, focus on the pastas and starters, over the mains. I particularly enjoyed the squid ink pasta w/ crab, chilis, and mint, and the salumi plate.

Near Customshop (1601 Elizabeth Ave.) is a kitchen store whose name I'm forgetting (Chef's something?), where my folks and I spent a little time browsing.

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Customshop, the new David Pasternack venture that doesn't feel like Charlotte AT ALL. Seriously. If you go, focus on the pastas and starters, over the mains. I particularly enjoyed the squid ink pasta w/ crab, chilis, and mint, and the salumi plate.
<perk> Really? That's good news. I had asked Kathleen Purvis about it and it was still in progress the last time I was down here.
On the way down to Charlotte, in Doobie Brotheresque China Grove NC, you'll find Gary's BBQ. Great stuff! Make sure you get some of them there hushpuppies too.
Duly noted. I'll give it a go on the way home Friday night.
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"Gary's? Damn, that place is country."

That was my sister's response when I asked her about Gary's BBQ. And it is, but that's a good thing where barbecue is concerned. ;) I stopped by today on my way north on I-85, and it was well worth the detour. I didn't wait for hushpuppies, just got a large chopped BBQ sandwich with slaw, homemade lemon meringue pie, and a sweet tea that would make my dentist cry. The meat was still in significant chunks rather than chopped to bits, and the slaw was nice and tangy. I would have liked a little more of the Eastern style sauce, but that's a minor quibble.

This is going to be a regular detour on the way to Charlotte. Thanks Al!

ETA: their interior decorator is a force to be reckoned with. :blink:

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"Gary's? Damn, that place is country."

That was my sister's response when I asked her about Gary's BBQ. And it is, but that's a good thing where barbecue is concerned. ;) I stopped by today on my way north on I-85, and it was well worth the detour. I didn't wait for hushpuppies, just got a large chopped BBQ sandwich with slaw, homemade lemon meringue pie, and a sweet tea that would make my dentist cry. The meat was still in significant chunks rather than chopped to bits, and the slaw was nice and tangy. I would have liked a little more of the Eastern style sauce, but that's a minor quibble.

This is going to be a regular detour on the way to Charlotte. Thanks Al!

ETA: their interior decorator is a force to be reckoned with. :blink:

Yep, it's class all the way!

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Any recommendations on places for good Q in Charlotte?

Charlotte isn't known for its barbecue. Salisbury (a bit under an hour north) has some good 'cue. Barbecue in general isn't a city thing in NC, though the other major cities in NC have decent barbecue (Stamey's in Winston-Salem/Greensboro and Allen & Son, The Pit, and Cooper's in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill). If Charlotte has decent barbecue I've never found it, and I've lived in the area for a number of years.

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So, I'm going to be in Charlotte for about two weeks next month. Anyplace in particular I should be checking out for food or drinks? Curious about pretty much any price point.

where are you staying?
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That's somewhat up in the air, but likely in the Uptown part of town (I think this is right, I've spent a total of 24 hours in Charlotte in my life).

if you're there during the DNC, all bets are off. I'm there for business decently often and stay at the Westin next to the convention center. Around there that's good:

fuel pizza is right next door and is a charlotte chain, it's good, but not amazing. For southern, there's kings kitchen, which has really good vegetables. Mert's is similar but also good. For casual stuff, that's a drive but still fun, There's Pinkys, The Diamond and The Penguin. Fun atmospheres and laid back.

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I'm there for the DNC, but I'll be there for a little more than a week before the start of the convention as well, when things should be a bit less crazy (if past experience is any guide). Once the convention starts I'll be eating at wherever is open and whenever I have time, but I'd like to take advantage of the relative calm before the storm to not eat at Buffalo Wild Wings and Rock Bottom Brewery (which are two of the places I noticed on my quick trip in and out last month).

Thanks for the recommendations. I'll definitely check them out.

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I checked out Halcyon, in the Mint Museum building in Uptown, when I was in Charlotte in September - I liked it quite a bit. (The museum is also great, if you have the time and inclination.) The only thing still on the menu that I had was the country calamari, which was tasty...

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DCDuck, anything you recommend in Charlotte based on your trip last summer?

Oops, sorry, didn't see this until now. There are two restaurants that I would absolutely recommend without reservation, which are Harvest Moon Grill and 5Church. Harvest Moon Grill is attached to a hotel of some sort, and is very stereotypically "farm-to-table" and it is fantastic. I ate there twice during my time in town. 5Church was brand new when I dined there, but I would say it produced the best meal I had during my time in Charlotte.

Not on the same level, but also good, and worth visiting if you've exhausted these two other options, is King's Kitchen. There was a barbecue place (Queen City Q? I can't remember) that I also remember as being rather solid.

I apologize for not have more recommendations. Unfortunately I was very geographically constrained to essentially the Uptown area near the basketball arena and convention center, and Matthews, NC, where I was staying. I was also working absurd hours for much of this time, which frequently limited my dining to whatever I could find open late at night.

In my experience there was nothing near Matthews, NC worth visiting. I went to Azteca, a Mexican place, at least three times. It was edible, they had cheap beer, and I could walk there from my hotel.

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Careful w/ Harvest Moon Grill. I had a horribly mediocre meal there in September, despite really looking forward to it. I have heard great things about it from people I trust - but my meal didn't strike me as an anomaly (that is, they seemed completely happy with what they had put forth, and it was just mediocre in every way - from concept to execution to service). I would love to hear more positive reports, but my experience won't lead to my return, despite the fact that I visit Charlotte two or three times a year.

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We ate at Rooster's Kitchen in the Southpark neighborhood, as we were right nearby. Definitely recommended.

http://www.roosterskitchen.com/

http://www.roosterskitchen.com/pilotFiles/menuFiles/files/food.pdf

Most things were a la carte or came with one side(except for dinner specials that included sides), so it wasn't inexpensive, but we thoroughly enjoyed everything we ate.

I had salad with baby arugula, chevre, and almonds; the seared sea scallops; and the side (big enough for sharing) of assorted mushrooms. Scallops were perfectly done -- big, beautifully browned, cooked just right inside so as to be tender. They were on a pea puree (not that exciting, though it balanced the scallops well). The assorted mushrooms were absolutely outstanding (husband agreed, and he is not as hobbitlike crazy for mushrooms as I am). I felt bad paying $10 for a side dish that I thought mostly I would enjoy, but not once I started eating them. Husband had a pasta special which he liked very much (even more with my mushrooms mixed in, and some of son's peas). Son had hanger steak -- came with a slight spicy sauce he didn't expect, but he liked very much despite that. All the ingredients were top-notch. Dessert was trio of truffles which were delightful.

There was a bar menu of specials with lots of items, and a few nightly specials.

We had no reservation because we hadn't known our schedule, but were told (around 7 or 7:30) we could be seated right away at the communal tables near the bar (on barstool seats) or in about half an hour for a table in the dining area, and we went with the communal ones happily (we ended up being the only ones at ours). Service was warm and helpful.

We will be going back next time we're in Charlotte.

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Kindred

After a rainy, harrowing drive through the less developed roadways north of Charlotte, stepping through the doors of Kindred felt like home in a way only the best neighborhood restaurants can. Although located in Davidson -- a small college town currently best known for a non-graduate -- the work being done by owners Joe (husband) and Katy (wife) Kindred has been far reaching, including a nod from Bon Appétit as one of the top ten new restaurants this year. That's how I found it, and a few looks over their menu made it a necessary addition to my work trip.

Rittenhouse rye Manhattan ($11) -- Perfectly made. The bar program is in full control here, and well within their right to charge double figures for their work.

Milk bread, fleur de sel, cultured butter (N/A) -- Once this hits the table, the Kindreds have already won you over. It's everything great about a dinner roll, served in an oversized ramekin as if they only made one especially for you. Comfortingly familiar yet different enough to stand out (the taste of fermented butter is a sadly rare treat), this is the kind of signature item that great places have.

Flounder crudo, wasabi tobiko, grapefruit, avocado ($11) -- While heavy on Southern ingredients, nearly menu item passes through a finishing school from another global cuisine. The gratis Japanese baked bread was a sneaky prelude for things to come, as the tobiko added just the right amount of saltiness here. Stunningly presented with complex tastes in a simple package, this was a great dish that could be served in any city.

Wagyu beef tartare, katsuobushi, celery leaf, mushroom ($12) -- More Asian flavors at play here, with an interesting mix of fish flakes and dehydrated mushrooms on top of well-diced tartare. Spicy as well, which I don't prefer (I like to taste a bit of extra fat rather than heat) but still enjoyable overall.

Oyster mushroom tartine, stracciatella, cranberry, mint ($10) -- The type of Thanksgiving leftovers I wish I had. Beautifully cooked mushrooms stacked on top of cheese and country bread, then dotted with acid and herbs to lighten it up.

         

Gnocchi, blue crab, citrus, chive, crème fraiche ($14) -- Plenty of pastas add heft to the mostly appetizer-sized menu (only two or three $19-23 full entrees). I'm sure they're all winners, but I'd be content to eat this edition every time: the gnocchi light, the pulled crab meat plentiful, and the sauce a great background singer.

Apple galette, ice cream, milk jam, candied thyme ($8) -- At this point in the meal they could've served me Breyer's and I wouldn't have held it against them, but of course their desserts are as good as everything else. Either the work of a skilled pastry chef or talented savory cook, this was the best sort of ending to a delicious meal.

Kindred has only been open ten months, but runs like a restaurant already in full stride. The parade of regulars coming in on a dreary Tuesday night, all greeted by name and inquired about family not present, hopefully is an indicator it'll be around for the next ten years. A treasure of a restaurant that reminds me why I spend the time and money to search these experiences out.

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About to spend weeknights for the next two months in lovely Mooresville, NC, about a half hour north of Charlotte off I-77.

Anyone know of anything up that way, especially moderately-priced places? The client per-diem maxes at $32 for dinner, including tax/tip.

Thanks!

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1 hour ago, DanielK said:

About to spend weeknights for the next two months in lovely Mooresville, NC, about a half hour north of Charlotte off I-77.

Anyone know of anything up that way, especially moderately-priced places? The client per-diem maxes at $32 for dinner, including tax/tip.

Thanks!

Too bad you aren't going there for the weekends and not the weekdays.  Great area for boating, biking and being outdoors, especially in the Autumn.  Now...food wise....I can't comment...its been a few decades....but just a favorite relaxing place for boating, fishing, waterskiing...and very nice for long distance biking.    In fact, as I recall it, it was like sleep away camp for adults.  Its really a shame you have to go there to work.  ;)

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45 minutes ago, DaveO said:

Too bad you aren't going there for the weekends and not the weekdays.  Great area for boating, biking and being outdoors, especially in the Autumn.  Now...food wise....I can't comment...its been a few decades....but just a favorite relaxing place for boating, fishing, waterskiing...and very nice for long distance biking.    In fact, as I recall it, it was like sleep away camp for adults.  Its really a shame you have to go there to work.  ;)

Well, the object is to get home to my family as quickly as I can, so no weekends or days off down there.

Now if there's a nice place to eat on the water...

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2 hours ago, weezy said:

It wasn't worth starting a new thread for Burnsville, NC, which is about 30 miles from Asheville, the county seat for Yancey County.  There are not a whole lot of options, but if you happen to be there, Rio is passable Mexican food -- except the chips are meh, from a bag -- and choose Bubba's Good Eats (go for anything pig, plus excellent pork rinds) over Pig & Grits (no smoke in the pulled pork and mushy, so probably braised or sous vide).  Garden Deli on the town square has serviceable food, not high end,  but potato wedges are fried crispy & not greasy, and the portions are generous for the price, friendly service, kid friendly.  Since the last time I was there, Yancey Co. now allows alcoholic beverages, so there's beer & wine in the grocery stores and there's a liquor store and a wine shop in town.

I used to frequent the Bubba's BBQ in Charlotte, NC - I loved it, but the two don't appear to be related.

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