There are a handful of places in the city where you are guaranteed a good meal every time you walk in the door. Barrington’s (7822 Fairview Road) is one of them. The cozy 47-seat restaurant in the Foxcroft neighborhood near SouthPark is a stalwart among Charlotte’s restaurants. The first of three for veteran chef Bruce Moffett, who also owns Good Food on Montford and Stagioni, Barrington’s opened in 2000 boasting a comfortable familiarity and seasonal cuisine that has consistently delivered well-executed dishes for the last 14 years.
The standout this season is the Pan Seared Swordfish ($31), a crisp yet tender piece of mild Atlantic swordfish with European flair. Sous chef Jason Newman traipses across the Mediterranean with the components of this dish, from a French-forward side of white beans beefed up with smoky Spanish chorizo to a punchy Moroccan-inspired charmoula and decidedly Spanish tomato and olive salsa. The synthesis of flavors is comforting and rich, with components bright enough to be enjoyed on a summer night out.
Newman starts with white gigante beans and Spanish chorizo sauteed with mirepoix, a flavor base of carrots, celery and onions, to create a rich, comforting slurry of beans similar to the French peasant dish called cassoulet. The original dish slow-cooks white beans, pork and herbs into a stew-like consistency. Here, Newman adds acidic tomatoes and white wine to cut the smoky richness of the chorizo.
Next, a meaty portion of Atlantic swordfish, ocean kin twice removed from steak, is pan-seared, bronzed and set atop the beans. A tangy tomato-olive salsa tinged with red wine vinegar and spiced with jalapenos serves as another counterbalance to the richness of the beans and dense swordfish fillet. Drizzled around the entire dish is a bright, herbaceous sauce known as a charmoula. Originally found in Moroccan cuisine and in places like Tunisia and Algeria, a charmoula is a classic match for seafood with its mix of herbs, citrus, spices, garlic and olive oil. Here, Newman combines cilantro and parsley with garlic, lemon juice, cumin and other spices as the finishing touch to the dish. The result is a well-balanced dish with a comforting baseline and flavorful bursts of brightness that take your taste buds on tour.
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