More Asian cuisine is hitting Uptown Charlotte soon. Chef Bryan Emperor, previously of Departure restaurant in Oregon, is bringing creative dishes with Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Pacific Rim influences to his restaurant Kalu (pronounced Kuh-LOO).
Today I got a sneak peek of the restaurant, which is located on the ground floor of the 505 Building at the corner of Sixth Street and North Caldwell, near Time Warner Cable Arena.
Kalu boasts multi-tired eating and lounge areas, lush white and red leather seats, round wooden tables, LED-lighted bars, paintings on the ceilings, flat-screen TVs and an international group of chefs in the kitchen.
Chef Emperor, an investment banker in his previous life, discovered his love for restaurants and cooking while in Japan. He has worked in fine dining establishments in Japan, Beijing, New York, and in Portland. He brings to Charlotte authentic Asian goods including eight sakes straight from Japan that are not available anywhere else in the U.S., soju spirits from Korea, and much more.
The pièce de résistance is his Kamameshi machine though. This Japanese machine only found in Japan (and there is one in Beijing as well), cooks up individual bowls of rice in 13 minutes. The beauty of the machine is that each bowl of rice can be hand-crafted with special flavors and sauces specifically for each customer.
Today I sampled Chef Emperor's Tori no Tatsuta Age (Japanese style chicken wings with daikon sauce). Served in a glass (votive candle) holder, the four perfectly fried and crispy, chicken drumsticks looked like meatballs instead of chicken wings. They were surprisingly delicate with just a thin bone sticking out from each, but were also meaty with a big crunch. Each were topped with a dot of chopped daikon. I've never had anything like it before. The technique used is just one of many special techniques and flourishes that Chef Emperor imparts on his food.
The restaurant is slated to open sometime in May - the date has yet to be finalized. I can't wait to try more.
Andrew Blair's will be open Mother's Day, May 9, offering a special brunch menu:
Maryland Crab Cake - $9
English cucumber salad, dill & caper crème fraîche.
Trio of Dips - $10
Hummus, spinach and artichoke dip, and pimento cheese.
PEI Mussels - $8
Thyme, garlic, shallots, white wine, roasted red peper aïoli, grilled baguette.
Austin City Brisket - $7
House-smoked, baked bean cake, chow chow, Piedmont bbq sauce.
AB's Breakfast - $8.50
3 eggs, grits or morning fries, bacon or house made sausage, toast.
BYO Omelet - $9 (add $1 for each additional filling)
3 egg omelet, with choice of 2 fillings, grits or morning fries.
Filling options include: tomatoes, peppers and onions, mushrooms, spinach, ham, bacon, sausage, cheddar or Gruyère.
Eggs Benedict - $10
2 poached eggs, ham, spinach, English muffins and hollandaise sauce. Served with your choice of grits or morning fries.
Montford Benedict - $10
2 poached eggs, fried green tomatoes, house made sausage, sweet jalapeño relish, hollandaise sauce. Served with your choice of grits or morning fries.
Crème Brûlée French Toast - $10
Vanilla custard-dipped Texas toast, topped with apple pear compote. Served with your choice of bacon or house made sausage.
Duck Hash - $15
Duck confit, cherry peppers, roasted peppers, onions, diced potato hash, topped with 2 poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. Served with AB's side salad with three-mustard vinaigrette.
DRINK SPECIALS - $5
AB's Burger - $10
7 oz. in-house ground chuck, ribeye & brisket, cooked to temperature, lettuce, tomato, Cumin onion rings, fried egg, pimento cheese, potato sesame seed bun, served with ABs fries.
Litchfield Chicken Sandwich - $10
Grilled chicken breast with avocado, apple-smoked bacon, melted brie cheese, ABs fries.
Croque Madame - $9
Black Forest ham, béchamel sauce, Gruyère cheese on toasted white bread, topped with a sunny-side-up farm egg.
Served with AB's side salad with three-mustard vinaigrette.
Madison Park Chicken - $16
Airline chicken breast stuffed with feta cheese, topped with tomatoes, artichokes, capers and onions, served on risotto.
Roasted Salmon - $17
Pearl cous cous tabbouleh, fresh grilled artichokes, smoked-tomato coulis.
Shrimp & Grits - $16
Creamy Anson Mills grits, N.C. shrimp with tasso gravy.
1600 Montford Drive
While eating my way through Seattle's Pike Place food market last week, I discovered Chukar Cherries. The bird-logoed company native to the Pacific Northwest produces delicious chocolates, dried fruits, and sauces. Best known for their dried cherries, the company offers awesome chocolate covered cherries. The blend of dark bittersweet chocolate and tart dried cherries make these little bauble treats delicious. The rich chocolate coating offsets the tartness of the cherries. So amazing, loaded up on my suitcase with a supply to take back to Charlotte. (If you ever find yourself in Seattle, check out the REI flagship store on Yard Avenue ... you can buy an assortment of Chukar candy by the pound at the self-serve kiosk of candy dispensers. Exciting, I know.)
Inspired by this chocolate cherry combo, I came home wanting to try using the same flavors in cookie form. I came up with a Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookie. The cookie has an oatmeal cookie base with organic dried cherries, organic dark chocolate, whole wheat flour and some wheat bran for a tad extra added health benefits. Hey, in Seattle they are all about some natural health foods.
Charlotte's newest butcher The Meat House, located in The Village at Robinson Farm in Ballantyne, has opened its doors. Take a a look at what they have to offer.
The Meat House, 4/28/10
To learn more about The Meat House, read this previous post.
Witty and hilarious Ree Drummond of the blog The Pioneer Woman Cooks is coming to Charlotte next Friday, May 7. The food blogger and photographer will be signing copies of her cookbook at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at SouthPark Mall.
Ree lives on a ranch in with her cattle rancher husband and a bevy of children. Known for her gorgeously photographed step-by-step home-style recipes, along with humorous writing, this Pioneer Woman has a huge following of readers.
I've got my ticket to the book signing and I just recently purchased my copy of her cookbook The Pioneer Woman Cooks, a #1 New York Times bestseller. The first recipe I tried out of the book was her Penne a la Betsy. It's penne pasta is tossed in a sweet tomato cream sauce with chunks of shrimp. The recipe is courtesy of her sister Betsy and Ree claims it would be one of the dishes she'd eat on her last day on earth. It's that good.
Morton's The Steakhouse is preparing a special Mothers Day menu for May, 9, priced at $59 per person. The menu will include:
Salad ~ (choice of one)
Mortons Salad Mortons Blue Cheese Dressing, Chopped Egg, Anchovies
Caesar Salad, Classic Dressing
Entrée ~ (choice of one)
Single Cut Filet Mignon, Bearnaise Sauce
Filet Oskar, Asparagus, Jumbo Lump Crab, Bearnaise Sauce
Broiled Salmon Filet, Chefs Beurre Blanc Sauce
Colossal Shrimp Alexander, Beurre Blanc Sauce
Chicken Christopher, Garlic Beurre Blanc Sauce
Side Dishes ~ (choice of one)
Dessert ~ (choice of one)
Double Chocolate Mousse
Morton's The Steakhouse
227 West Trade Street in the Carillon Building
For Mothers Day, the restaurant will be open from 1:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
Whose mom wouldn't want all-you-can-eat meat for Mother's Day? Chima Brazilian Steakhouse will be offering luxury raffle prizes and children's activities on Mother's Day, May 9.
Andrew Blair's on Montford Drive will be offering specials Tuesday, April 27 through Saturday, May 1 in celebration of spring and the Quail Hollow Championship. Thirsty after walking the grounds chasing your favorite golfers? Stop by for a $5 Firefly cocktail. Also, if you bring your tournament badge, you will receive a free appetizer of your choice too. Hole in one!
1600 Montford Drive
Foodies, heads up. The Top Chef Tour will be in Uptown Charlotte today. Pre-registration is closed (sorry!) but seats will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Chefs on deck will be Jennifer Carroll (from Season 5) and Ariane Duarte (from season 6).
More info from WCNC:
This year's tour features an updated, restaurant-style format with table seating, bringing "Top Chef" fans a fuller, more elaborate culinary experience hosted by their favorite former "Top Chef" winners and chef'testants.
Visitors of "Top Chef: The Tour" will have the opportunity to meet and greet with "Top Chef" talent, sample food tastings, receive gourmet cooking tips, hear "Top Chef" show "secrets," get chef'testant autographs, and participate in a variety of on-site "Top Chef" activities, including a chance to win prizes.
Attendees can also try for a hole-in-one on the "Top Chef"-themed putting green, purchase Bravo and "Top Chef" merchandise, and capture their "Top Chef" experience with a photo at the "Top Chef" judges table.
(photo courtesy of Greenmarketguy)
Well, I'm excited. Coming to the corner of of South Boulevard and Tremont Avenue (just down the street from me!) is a brand-new fresh market. My SouthEnd neighbors, let us rejoice the market opens May 15.
The market, at 2104 South Blvd., will feature local and regional items such as fresh meat and produce, baked breads, pasta, flowers, spices, condiments, beverages and handmade goods. In addition, the facility will offer green-living educational sessions, arts and entertainment, and cooking demonstrations from local chefs.
Historic South End has experienced remarkable residential growth and is becoming a vibrant urban neighborhood, says Darlene Heater, vice president of neighborhood development for Charlotte Center City Partners. We have heard from many of our new South Enders of their desire for a fresh foods produce market within walking distance of their homes.
The market will initially be open from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. It will expand its hours at a later date.
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