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Charlotte, NC

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    Post #1 - April 25th, 2006, 2:27 pm
    Post #1 - April 25th, 2006, 2:27 pm Post #1 - April 25th, 2006, 2:27 pm
    I'll be in Charlotte for business and wonder if anyone has good restaurant suggestions. Any type of food, any price range and a 45minute radius of Charlotte would be great. Thanks in advance
  • Post #2 - April 25th, 2006, 4:49 pm
    Post #2 - April 25th, 2006, 4:49 pm Post #2 - April 25th, 2006, 4:49 pm
    Lexington. OK, it's more like an hour from Charlotte.

    JackB, JeffB's dad, worked in Charlotte for some time. While it's a pleasant enough place to visit, the restaurant scene makes Orlando look like, well, Chicago I guess.

    But Lexington is one of the great BBQ shrines of the US. Make the pilgrimage. Lovely country up there, too.
  • Post #3 - April 25th, 2006, 9:17 pm
    Post #3 - April 25th, 2006, 9:17 pm Post #3 - April 25th, 2006, 9:17 pm
    I lived in Charlotte for a number of years after graduating from high school and college. It wasn't much of a restaurant town back then. But, the relocation of Johnson and Wales Culinary School from Charleston seems to be changing that.

    On the chow side, there are a number of good taquerias and thai places on Central Avenue between downtown and Eastland Mall.

    On the finer dining side, there are lots of new options that post date me in the area called Dilworth/South End.

    My recommendation would be to research the local alterna-paper "Creative Loafing". It's food writer, Tricia Childress really knows her stuff on chow and fine dining. Plus, you'll get more current info from her than you'll get from me. I haven't spent much time there since the late 90s.

    http://charlotte.creativeloafing.com/gy ... Eats/index
  • Post #4 - February 5th, 2009, 8:47 am
    Post #4 - February 5th, 2009, 8:47 am Post #4 - February 5th, 2009, 8:47 am
    The banking crisis has hit the Charlotte restaurant scene really hard, if what I saw in my recent visit is any indication. Restaurants that locals say were immensely popular just a year ago have suddenly shuddered, and many other are offering deep discounts and menu gimmicks as they hang on by a thread.

    Ratcliffe on the Green opened a couple of years ago with much acclaim due to the gorgeous space it's in (an 1800's flower shop with original fixtures), the chef's excellent pedigree, and a marketable "farm to fork" philosophy. I had two excellent dinners there this week, and got to watch first-hand as a restaurant tries to completely overhaul its menu and concept to better mesh with the times. Lucky me, I got to choose from two menus: the disappearing one with high-end ingredients and high prices, and the one that will replace it next week - a French country-style selection of humble, tasty and affordable dishes.

    From Menu 1, I had meticulously prepared rabbit terrine. I usually find rabbit too bland, but in this case the chef used every little part of the animal and coaxed more flavor out of it than I ever imagined possible. The loin was pounded out, then rolled around a mousse of pureed rabbit heart, liver, and confited legs. Then that whole thing was wrapped in house-smoked bacon and roasted. This was a memorable dish that made me think I'd never really tasted rabbit before. Also from Menu 1, I tried seared foie gras with beautifully brunoised apples. There's some fancy knife work in that kitchen. The rabbit was $32, and the foie gras was $17.

    From the humble Menu 2, I had a $12 (iirc) coq au vin - a nice rendition with falling-off-the-bone chicken legs and thighs, a rich, naturally sweet wine reduction, and some more of that house-smoked bacon, this time diced into perfect little 1cmX1cm squares. Someone in the Ratcliffe kitchen is really trying to show off. This was served over well-cooked buttered egg noodles, and I ordered a side of nicely-seasoned haricot vert.

    By the time the next LTHer gets to Charlotte, who knows what kind of restaurant Ratcliffe on the Green will be. I'm confident that if the same people are in that kitchen, the food will be delicious, whatever the restaurant's concept.

    Ratcliffe on the Green
    435 South Tryon St., Suite 100
    Charlotte, NC 28202
    Phone: 704-358-9898
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #5 - February 7th, 2009, 11:33 am
    Post #5 - February 7th, 2009, 11:33 am Post #5 - February 7th, 2009, 11:33 am
    About a year ago I had a long layover in Charlotte and ended up going to Lulu's for dinner. I thought it was great and very reasonably priced. They do fresh/seasonal cooking with a southern twist. The place was empty when we were there because it was too early for the dinner crowd, and it might have been on a Monday. The chef/owner came out to talk to us for a while because he wondered how the heck we had heard of his little restaurant. He was very cool and very laid back, and it was really cool of him, and I'd absolutely go back. Here is a link to the Lulu's site:

    http://www.luludinewine.com/
  • Post #6 - July 17th, 2014, 11:49 am
    Post #6 - July 17th, 2014, 11:49 am Post #6 - July 17th, 2014, 11:49 am
    Anything new to recommend in Charlotte? I'm going to be flying in there in a few weeks staying only long enough for lunch before driving on to Asheville. Can someone recommend a good lunch spot that features southern cooking? Perhaps a meat and three?
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #7 - July 23rd, 2014, 8:48 am
    Post #7 - July 23rd, 2014, 8:48 am Post #7 - July 23rd, 2014, 8:48 am
    Hi Stevez,

    I frequent the Charlotte, NC area monthly due to my present client load. Although not the best meat-and-three I have ever experienced in the South, Cafe South off of Arrowood Rd is always consistent. Unlike many meat-and-threes, their mains really shine, especially their stuffed pork chops and smothered chicken.

    Due to the quality of the food, it is a bit pricier than some other meat-and-threes in the area. I would shy away from the fried okra as it is usually rubbery. You'd do better with their squash (fried or casserole), baked sweet potato, and collards.

    The place definitely fills up around lunch time with Starmount's business workers

    Cafe South
    cafesouthcharlotte.com
    7901 Forest Pine Dr, Charlotte, NC
    (980) 224-7328
  • Post #8 - July 23rd, 2014, 9:07 am
    Post #8 - July 23rd, 2014, 9:07 am Post #8 - July 23rd, 2014, 9:07 am
    Thanks for the rec, Vinal Endive. Do you hav any experience with Mert’s Heart and Soul http://mertscharlotte.com/? I've had a couple off list recommendations for this place.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #9 - July 23rd, 2014, 9:52 am
    Post #9 - July 23rd, 2014, 9:52 am Post #9 - July 23rd, 2014, 9:52 am
    Definitely not the most direct route if you're heading to Asheville, but for my money Keaton's BBQ in Cleveland (near Statesville) is worth a detour. The name is deceiving -- while they do serve pulled pork, their specialty is fried chicken that's dipped in hot (warm) BBQ sauce just before serving. If you're up for a little adventure, I'd recommend giving Keaton's a try.

    http://www.keatonsoriginalbbq.com/


    17365 Cool Springs Road, Cleveland, NC 27013
    "There’s only one thing I hate more than lying: skim milk, which is water that’s lying about being milk."
    - Ron Swanson
  • Post #10 - July 23rd, 2014, 2:51 pm
    Post #10 - July 23rd, 2014, 2:51 pm Post #10 - July 23rd, 2014, 2:51 pm
    stevez wrote:Thanks for the rec, Vinal Endive. Do you hav any experience with Mert’s Heart and Soul http://mertscharlotte.com/? I've had a couple off list recommendations for this place.


    Sorry to say that I have not ventured into the hip areas as I usually stay close to the hotel and/or have loads of work to do.

    After seeing the website, it appears to be a 'heightened' form of meat and three -- a bit more sophisticated than the true experience. The prices on the menu also reflect this.

    If you do decide to go, let me know how it is.

    VE
  • Post #11 - July 23rd, 2014, 3:36 pm
    Post #11 - July 23rd, 2014, 3:36 pm Post #11 - July 23rd, 2014, 3:36 pm
    I'm traveling with the Chow Poodle, so a slightly sanitized version of a meat & three might be just what the doctor ordered. :wink: I'll certainly report back, no matter where we end up having lunch.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #12 - August 2nd, 2016, 2:12 pm
    Post #12 - August 2nd, 2016, 2:12 pm Post #12 - August 2nd, 2016, 2:12 pm
    Bump.

    I'm again heading to Charlotte in a few days and I was wondering if anyone has any current intel.

    I notice that I never reported back on my one lunch back in 2014. We ended up going to Mert's Heart and Soul. It was not at all what I expected. It was a brand new spot on the first floor of a modern downtown (or Uptown, in Charlotte's case) office building. Both the food and service were perfunctory at best; geared to the corporate lunch crowd. Not recommended (unless they have another location in a neighborhood somewhere).
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #13 - August 31st, 2016, 2:19 pm
    Post #13 - August 31st, 2016, 2:19 pm Post #13 - August 31st, 2016, 2:19 pm
    I just got back from a trip to Charlotte. We ate at a few places that are worth mentioning. Apologies in advance for the quality (or complete lack of) pictures. Most of the ones I took on this trip were made with my cell phone. In some cases, I didn't take pictures at all. Hopefully, this update to the thread will inspire others to add to it as they travel to Charlotte.

    We got to Charlotte on our anniversary. The Chow Poodle wanted Italian, so we asked a local friend for a recommendation. Fiamma was his choice, and it was a good one. Fiamma is located in the fashionable Dilworth neighborhood and is in an old brick building. It's dark and romantic and the food is very good...just what you'd want for an anniversary dinner.

    We started off with an appetizer of house made burrata, served with country ham, arugula and a slice of eggplant topped with red peppers.

    Fiamma House Made Burrata
    Image

    For our mains, the Chow Poodle ordered Pappardelle Bolognese and I opted for a daily special of Mountain Trout stuffed with Calamari & Shrimp. The trout was served with a side of linguini with a citrusy butter sauce with fresh herbs and broccolini. Both dishes were excellent, but we agreed that the linguini was the best item of the night. If I ever make it back to Fiamma, I'll ask the chef to prepare that as my main!

    Fiamma Pappardelle Bolognese
    Image

    Fiamma Stuffed Mountain Trout
    Image

    The next day, our friends took us on a tour of Charlotte, and we ended up at an Asian fusion spot called Baku. Service was not the best, owing to the fact that Olympic soccer was on the TV, and the entire waitstaff was more concerned with watching the game than serving their customers. Baku is similar to places like Izakaya Mita in their offerings. Our friends did the ordering and most of the food we got skewed a little too sweet for my tastes. On another day, with more freedom to order some other things that looked good to me, I might have liked Baku better.

    Our plan the next day was to get fried chicken from Price's Chicken Coop, rumored to have the best fried yardbird in Charlotte. Unfortunately, they are closed Sunday and Monday, so we never got there. Instead, we found a cafeteria style soul food restaurant called Nana's Soul Food in an unlikely location just a couple blocks from our hotel in a strip mall. The chicken was great, and the sides were plentiful and delicious. Highly recommended, if Price's is closed, or if you want something other than fried chicken.

    Breakfast one day was at the Flying Biscuit Cafe. Flying Biscuit is a mini-chain out of Atlanta (I think) serving up substantial southern style breakfasts.

    We passed by Ed's Tavern a bunch of times on our travels around Charlotte, so we just had to stop in to see what's up. Ed's has been open since 1935 and is a typical roadhouse/sports bar with lots of screens and tons of cold beer, plus a separate little bar just for bourbon drinkers. As mentioned earlier, the Olympics were on, so the multiple screens were actually welcome in this instance. I got a burger and the Chow Poodle ordered a Salad. Both were decent, though the burger didn't hold a candle to some of the great ones served around here and in Wisconsin. Still, It's a nice spot with a friendly staff and is a good place to hang out for a couple of hours during a rainstorm, which was what we did.

    Ed's Tavern
    Image

    Ed's Tavern Beer Supply
    Image

    Ed's Tavern Salad
    Bourbon Bar in Background
    Image

    Ed's Tavern Burger W/ Sweet PotatoTots
    Image

    After a few days in Charlotte, we moved on to explore a good swath of the rest of Eastern North Carolina, which I'll post about in another thread.

    Fiamma
    2418 Park Rd
    Charlotte, NC 28203
    (704) 333-3062
    http://www.fiammacharlotte.com

    Baku
    4515 Sharon Rd
    Charlotte, NC 28211
    (704) 817-7173
    http://www.baku-restaurant.com

    Price's Chicken Coop
    1614 Camden Rd
    Charlotte, NC 28203
    (704) 333-9866
    http://www.priceschickencoop.com

    Nana's Soul Food
    Shops at Lake Pointe
    2908 Oak Lake Blvd #106
    Charlotte, NC 28208
    (704) 357-3700
    http://www.nanassoulfoodkitchen.com

    Flying Biscuit Cafe
    Park Road Shopping Center
    4241 Park Rd
    Charlotte, NC 28209
    (704) 714-3400

    Ed's Tavern
    2200 Park Rd
    Charlotte, NC 28203
    (704) 335-0033
    http://www.edstavern.com
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #14 - February 10th, 2018, 2:14 pm
    Post #14 - February 10th, 2018, 2:14 pm Post #14 - February 10th, 2018, 2:14 pm
    Anyone been to Charlotte since Steve’s helpful post? We are headed there in early April. Staying in Uptown but will have a car for at least part of the trip and can certainly Uber into the neighborhoods. We like meat & threes but are open to all cuisines and typically just look for places that are unique to the areas we travel. We are lucky that our daughter will eat just about anything.
    Also planning a day trip to Asheville and could use a lunch recommendation. Have been to Tupelo Honey Cafe - good experience but not sure our 6-year-old could handle the typical wait for a table.
  • Post #15 - February 10th, 2018, 3:54 pm
    Post #15 - February 10th, 2018, 3:54 pm Post #15 - February 10th, 2018, 3:54 pm
    LynnB wrote:Also planning a day trip to Asheville and could use a lunch recommendation. Have been to Tupelo Honey Cafe - good experience but not sure our 6-year-old could handle the typical wait for a table.


    Have you seen this thread? For a great breakfast/lunch spot, I'd recommend Sunny Point Cafe. Also worth mentioning is Rocky's Hot Chicken. If you're interested in Nashville Hot Fried Chicken, Rocky's turns out some of the best versions I've had (including in Nashville).

    Sunny Point Cafe
    626 Haywood Road
    West Asheville, NC 28806
    828.252.0055

    Rocky’s Hot Fried Chicken
    1455 Patton Ave
    Asheville, NC 28806
    (828) 575-2260

    Rocky’s Hot Fried Chicken
    3749 Sweeten Creek Rd
    Arden, NC 28704
    (828) 676-3222
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #16 - February 10th, 2018, 4:20 pm
    Post #16 - February 10th, 2018, 4:20 pm Post #16 - February 10th, 2018, 4:20 pm
    Had not seen that thread, thanks. Sunny Point’s menu has many items that appeal to me. Bonus points for kids menu. Had to Google “Hempeh” though. Had no idea hemp-fortified tempeh existed.

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