Queen's Feast

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Queen's Feast, restaurant No. 6

Posted By on Thu, Feb 5, 2009 at 5:14 PM

It was Charlotte Restaurant Week Jan. 24-30-- when restaurants offered 3-course (fixed menu) meals for $30. I had made it my mission to hit up at least 5 participating restaurants in 7 days. Now that some restaurants have extended Restaurant Week into February, my mission continues. Here is restaurant No. 6.

(Note: Since I have eaten 3-course meals at 5 restaurants in the past week and have gained 4 lbs, my boyfriend and I decided to cut extra calories by ordering only one 3-course meal, share the appetizer and dessert, and then get a separate entree off the regular menu.)

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 4

Restaurant: Fiamma

What I ate:

  • Appetizer: Polpettine di verdure miste al caprino con insalate di campo - vegetables croquettes served w/mixed greens and goat cheese
  • Main: Lamb Shank - marvelous lamb shank with fresh Mediterranean herbs in a Tuscan red wine reduction served with gnocchi in a Parmesan butter sauce
  • Dessert: Tiramisu

Summary: I was transported back to Italy when I walked into the restaurant. Fiamma has endearing rustic touches that remind me of true Italian eateries -- mismatching silverware, a little tea light candle on the table, a woven basket holding the bread and paper covering the tablecloths. Even in true Italian fashion, dinner was not rushed, but drawn out in an enjoyable manner.

Dinner began with a bread basket of warm focaccia and bread sticks, served with a delicious bowl of pesto.

The appetizer of eggplant croquettes with a goat cheese salad was superb. Round and fried, the 3 croquettes reminded me of hushpuppies. The salad was large and the cheese was plentiful.

Between the appetizer and entree course, we were served bowls of mango sorbet to cleanse our palettes.

With seven entrees to pick from the Restaurant Week menu, we had agonized over what to get. But once we had a bite of the Lamb Shank we decided on, we never looked back. The meat from the large shank just fell off the bone. The lamb melted in our mouths. The red wine reduction was a nice, thick, saucy stew. The side of gnocchi was surprisingly large. We barely made a dent in the big plate of gnocchi that came with the lamb.

Off the regular menu, I ordered the Homemade Saffron Tagliolini with Crabmeat Sauteed in Fresh Tomatoes. Big, visible chunks of crab were mixed throughout the perfectly al dente pasta. Delicious.

With our Tiramisu, we were offered complimentary homemade limoncello, a lemon liqueur typically from Southern Italy. I was beyond impressed at this point.

Verdict: I'd highly recommend Fiamma for Restaurant Week. They offer plenty of choices for each of the 3 courses, and even add in a few extra in between. The portions didn't seem "sized-down" at all for the Restaurant Week dishes. You get a lot of bang for your buck here. The entire experience was very enjoyable.

Read the Queen's Feast reviews:

Restaurant No. 1: Oceanaire Seafood Room

Restaurant No. 2: The Capital Grille

Restaurant No. 3: Noble's

Restaurant No. 4: M5

Restaurant No. 5: Ruth's Chris - Uptown

Tags: , , , , ,

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Queen's Feast, it ain't over yet

Posted By on Wed, Feb 4, 2009 at 11:14 AM

picture-3.png

Many restaurants are extending Charlotte Restaurant Week, originally slated to run Jan. 24-30. This means my tour de Charlotte restaurants isn't over yet, though after gaining 4 lbs already, I should really stop. I'm hitting up Fiamma (which is running Restaurant Week until Feb. 7) tonight, so stay tuned for a review coming soon.

Also extending their $30, 3-course Restaurant Week menu until Feb. 7 is McIntosh's Steaks and Seafood on South Boulevard. (Thanks to Jayne for the tip.)

Read the Queen's Feast reviews:

Restaurant No. 1: Oceanaire Seafood Room

Restaurant No. 2: The Capital Grille

Restaurant No. 3: Noble's

Restaurant No. 4: M5

Restaurant No. 5: Ruth's Chris - Uptown

Related link: Other restaurants extending Restaurant Week

Tags: , , , , , ,

Monday, February 2, 2009

Restaurant Week extended at Fiamma and LaVecchia's

Posted By on Mon, Feb 2, 2009 at 5:39 PM

Due to the great response to last week's Queen's Feast ($30 for 3 courses) at Fiamma and LaVecchia's Seafood Grille, the restaurants will be extending their $30, 3-course menus. Fiamma will be running Restaurant Week until Friday, Feb. 6 and LaVecchia's will be extending it to Thursday, Feb. 12. The info below is from the Charlotte Restaurant Week Web site. Some menu items may change from what is listed. Read it and drool!

Read Charlotte Restaurant Week reviews.

Fiamma

2418 Park Road

Charlotte, NC 28203

RESERVATIONS: 704-333-3062

www.americascuisine.com/charlotte/Fiamma.htm

At Fiamma Restaurant, located in the heart of Dilworth, we offer the most authentic Italian cuisine in Charlotte. Owner and Chef Fernando Campoverde prepares homemade pastas and exquisite Italian dishes, using only the freshest ingredients to bring you an exceptional dining experience. All of our pasta and pizza dough is made fresh twice daily in our kitchen. Italian meats and cheeses are imported directly from the finest markets. Fiamma has a wonderful staff and a great wine list from which to choose. Our goal is to provide our customers with excellent prices, food and quality. We pride ourselves on providing great service and a fun family atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.

Appetizers and Antipasti (choice of one)

  • Calamari al Salto - fresh calamari sautéed with scallions, avocado marinated in lemon dressing with grilled mushrooms
  • Frito Misto - shrimp, calamari and seasoned vegetables deep fried
  • Polpettine di verdure miste al caprino con insalate di campo - vegetables croquettes served w/mixed greens and goat cheese
  • Insalata del tropici- frissee salad served with hearts of palm, cherry tomatoes, avocado and shaved Parmesan cheese

Entrée(choice of one)

  • Ravioli - spinach and ricotta cheese with fresh tomatoes, brown butter and sage
  • Lobster Ravioli - homemade pasta stuffed with fresh lobster and light spicy lobster sauce
  • Lamb Shank - marvelous lamb shank with fresh Mediterranean herbs in a Tuscan red wine reduction served with gnocchi in a Parmesan butter sauce
  • Salmone - roasted Norwegian salmon finished with salmoriglio sauce
  • Tagliatelle con funghi porcini e crème tartufata - homemade pasta with porcini mushrooms and truffle spread
  • Pollo al Mattone - brick oven-roasted chicken with lemon and herbs served with roasted potatoes and caramelized onions
  • Veal alla pizziola - pounded veal with light fresh tomatoes, Sanremo olives and fresh oregano with sautéed spinach

Dolci/Dessert (choice of one)

  • Torta di Formaggio - Italian ricotta cheese cake with cinnamon ice cream and raspberry sauce
  • Panna Cotta - vanilla flavored cream served with blackberries
  • Tiramisu - espresso-soaked lady fingers, layered in mascarpone cream and cocoa
  • Crème Tostada - cold Italian crème brulee with raspberry

LaVecchia’s Seafood Grille

225 E. Sixth Street

Charlotte, NC 28202

RESERVATIONS: 704-370-6776

www.lavecchias.com

Uptown’s original steak & seafood restaurant, serving super-fresh fish, live Maine lobster and aged steaks. Located close to all shows, concerts and arena events. Take the LYNX light rail to the 7th Street Station. Free parking.

Soup or Salad (choice of one)

  • Lobster & Shrimp Bisque - creamy shellfish soup topped with crab meat & sherry crème fraiche
  • LaVecchia's Salad - mixed greens, Roma tomatoes, carrots, red onions, dried cranberries, crisp bacon, candied walnuts with choice of bleu cheese, creamy herbed ranch or bacon sherry vinaigrette dressing
  • Classic Caesar Salad - hearts of romaine, shoestring potatoes, shaved aged Parmesan, LaVecchia's own Caesar dressing
  • Spinach & Goat Cheese Salad - warm almond-crusted goat cheese, baby spinach, roasted mushrooms, caramelized sweet onions, Roma tomatoes, bacon sherry vinaigrette
  • Chilled Wedge Salad - chilled wedge, diced Roma tomatoes, carrots, crispy bacon, bleu cheese dressing, crumbled Danish bleu cheese

Entrée (choice of one)

  • Black & Blue Chicken Penne - blackened chicken breast, Roma tomatoes, crisp bacon, scallions, bleu cheese crumbles, light alfredo sauce
  • Spicy Shrimp & Scallop Linguini - large Gulf shrimp, sea scallops, basil, Roma tomatoes, scallions, andouille sausage, gorgonzola, shellfish cream sauce
  • LaVecchia's Shrimp & Grits - jumbo shrimp, roasted mushrooms, caramelized shallots, andouille sausage, creamy cheese grits, lemon butter
  • Tenderloin Tips & Cheese Grits - grilled tenderloin, caramelized sweet onion, gorgonzola cheese, roasted shallot red wine gravy
  • Grilled Atlantic Salmon - steamed jasmine rice, sautéed asparagus, roasted corn, chile glaze & soy sherry reduction
  • Stuffed Jumbo Shrimp - loaded with lump crab, seasonal vegetables, crisp bacon, tomato, basil, lobster beurre blanc
  • Almond-Crusted Tilapia - with lump crab, buttermilk whipped potatoes, seasonal vegetables and chile-spiked cilantro hollandaise
  • New York Strip Steak - 12 oz. center-cut strip, buttermilk whipped potatoes, seasonal vegetables, signature herb butter

Dessert

  • Your choice from our menu.
  • Tags: , , ,

    Queen's Feast, restaurant No. 5

    Posted By on Mon, Feb 2, 2009 at 3:40 PM

    It's Charlotte Restaurant Week -- when restaurants offer 3-course (fixed menu) meals for $30. I've made it my mission to hit up at least 5 participating restaurants in 7 days. I hypothesize I will gain 20 pounds by the end of the week, but hey, it's all in the name of research. Here's goes...

    Date: Friday, Jan. 30

    Restaurant: Ruth's Chris Steak House - Uptown

    What I ate:

    • Appetizer: Steak House Salad with vinaigrette
    • Main: Bistro Filet with sides of Creamed Spinach and Garlic Mashed Potatoes
    • Dessert: Chocolate Sin Cake

    Summary: I was less than impressed with the steak house of sizzling steak fame. Ruth's Chris definitely had the feel of a chain restaurant. The bread brought out was half a loaf of French Bread that looked like the frozen stuff you buy and bake at home. The butter dish came with a smudge of brown something from someone's finger.

    I asked for my salad to be served light on the dressing -- instead I got just the opposite. The iceberg lettuce was drenched in thick, tart dressing.

    The "Bistro Filet" offered for Restaurant Week was the same as the filet mignon on the regular menu, but it was just called "Bistro" because it was a measly 6 oz. (At The Capital Grille, we got 8 oz.) The filet came out on a screaming hot plate sizzling in probably a stick-worth of butter. I ended up moving the filet from the butter bath onto my bread plate to avoid a clogged artery. Either the steak knife wasn't sharp enough and/or my medium-rare filet was tough because trying to cut the meat was like sawing wood.

    The sides of Creamed Spinach and Garlic Mashed Potatoes came with a good dousing of butter as well. Each course was served quickly as the restaurant was trying to turn tables.

    For dessert, the Chocolate Sin Cake was served by the sliver, not by the slice. The cake itself was OK, but it was served with a zig-zag of raspberry sauce, which was stuck to the plate (it probably sat too long due to pre-assembly), and it was garnished with a strawberry rather than a matching raspberry. Mismatching garnishes is one of my pet peeves. The waiter did a couple of drive-bys asking us if everything was good as he ran by our table in a blur, not bothering to actually stop.

    Verdict: Disappointing. Instead of trying to provide a quality experience for Restaurant Week diners and to have them return again and again, Ruth's Chris seemed to care more about quantity -- as in, how many people they could squeeze into one night and rake in the easy money. Save your $30 for The Capital Grille instead.

    More Queen's Feast reviews:

    Restaurant No. 1: Oceanaire Seafood Room

    Restaurant No. 2: The Capital Grille

    Restaurant No. 3: Noble's

    Restaurant No. 4: M5

    Tags: , , , ,


    Friday, January 30, 2009

    Queen's Feast, restaurant No. 4

    Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2009 at 3:54 PM

    It's Charlotte Restaurant Week -- when restaurants offer 3-course (fixed menu) meals for $30. I've made it my mission to hit up at least 5 participating restaurants in 7 days. I hypothesize I will gain 20 pounds by the end of the week, but hey, it's all in the name of research. Here's goes..

    Date: Thursday, Jan. 29

    Restaurant: M5 Modern Mediterranean

    What I ate:

    • Appetizer: Seared Maine Sea Scallops with Fava Bean Puree, Celery Leaves & Lemon
    • Main: Smoked Pork Tenderloin with Braised Clams
    • Dessert: Warm Chocolate Cake

    Summary: A long red carpet greets guests as they walk into the restaurant. The decor of the restaurant reflects the "Modern" part of their name -- the place is decorated with dark wood, chocolate-colored crocodile print, and yellow onyx details.

    Prior to the meal, focaccia bread was brought out in a conical wire basket. Though no olive oil was brought out with it, I thought it was tasty, but now looking back, I attribute that to my state of starvation at the time. Everything tastes better when you are hungry.

    The scallop appetizer came two to a plate. The perfectly crisped sides of the scallops paired well with the delicate texture of the insides.

    The pork entrée was served with Creamy Polenta, Saffron, Sweet Pepper Stew, Potatoes & Capers. The pork came sliced and positioned on top of the clams and the sweet pepper stew was spooned over. Hands down the best entree I've tried this week.

    Dessert was the ubiquitous molten lava cake with a scoop of ice cream on top. Good, but not to-die-for.

    Verdict: The dessert was OK, the appetizer was good, and the main was excellent. You could probably order off the normal menu and manage to get an appetizer of soup and a main dish for around $30, so the $30 deal for three courses isn't as enticing as it is at other higher-priced places on the Charlotte Restaurant Week list of eateries.

    More Queen's Feast reviews:

    Restaurant No. 1: Oceanaire Seafood Room

    Restaurant No. 2: The Capital Grille

    Restaurant No. 3: Noble's

    Tags: , , , ,

    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    Queen's Feast, restaurant No. 3

    Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2009 at 3:17 PM

    It's Charlotte Restaurant Week -- when restaurants offer 3-course (fixed menu) meals for $30. I've made it my mission to hit up at least 5 participating restaurants in 7 days. I hypothesize I will gain 20 pounds by the end of the week, but hey, it's all in the name of research. Here's goes..

    picture-1.png

    Date: Tuesday, Jan. 27

    Restaurant: Noble's

    What I ate:

    • Appetizer: Braised Noble's Bacon on Local Field Pea Cassoulet
    • Main: Coq Au Vin
    • Dessert: Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte

    Summary: The restaurant looks like a European villa with leafy chandeliers, tall columns and veranda-like details.

    The meal started off with a simple bread basket. The bread was not note-worthy, though all the bread is made in-house. It was room temperature and served with plain olive oil. Sad...I do enjoy a good bread basket. Oh well...on to the appetizer!

    The cassoulet contained "pommes puree, Noble's Pancetta Crisp" and a mix of peas. The thick slices of soft pork on top of the potato puree and peas contained layers of fat throughout which made the dish extremely flavorful. This appetizer was one of the most unique so far among all the Charlotte Restaurant Week places I've tried.

    For my main dish, I had the Coq Au Vin. The description of the dish on the menu read: "Red Wine Braised Chicken, Creamed Spinach, Pearl Onions, Mushrooms, Fondant Potatoes, Red Wine Chicken Jus." I never order chicken at restaurants because I consider chicken a boring meat and it is often times dry. I decided to go for it this time because the description sounded so promising. Unfortunately, this dish wasn't my favorite. The leg of chicken was dry and I found myself having a hard time getting it down at times. A big gulp of wine helped. Oh well...on to dessert!

    Now dessert was GOOD. The Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte name does not do the dessert justice. The actual torte was "Japonaise topped with Peanut Butter Mousse, Chocolate Cake and White Chocolate Bavarian, Salty Candied Peanuts." Heaven on a plate. I could have inhaled a whole tray of this stuff it was so good.

    Verdict: The food was good, but not excellent. The redeeming factor of the meal was the dessert. Service was great and our waiter was extremely educated about the menu and food. Go if you wish, but perhaps try the other entree option, which is a flounder dish.

    More Queen's Feast reviews:

    Restaurant No. 1: Oceanaire Seafood Room

    Restaurant No. 2: The Capital Grille

    Tags: , , , ,

    Tuesday, January 27, 2009

    Queen's Feast, restaurant No. 2

    Posted By on Tue, Jan 27, 2009 at 5:20 PM

    It's Charlotte Restaurant Week -- when restaurants offer 3-course (fixed menu) meals for $30. I've made it my mission to hit up at least 5 participating restaurants in 7 days. I hypothesize I will gain 20 pounds by the end of the week, but hey, it's all in the name of research. Here's goes...

    Date: Sunday, Jan. 25

    Restaurant: The Capital Grille

    What I ate:

    • Appetizer: Field Greens, Tomatoes, Fresh Herb
    • Main: Filet Mignon 8 oz. with sides of Sam’s Mashed Potatoes and Fresh Creamed Spinach
    • Dessert: Classic Creme Brulee

    Summary: The Capital Grille has the look of a typical steakhouse: dark wood, ornate carpets, and huge chandelier lamps. We got to sit at a cozy table by the open kitchen where we could watch all the action.

    The bread basket consisted of flat bread, warm and soft focaccia, a seeded roll, and a type of brown bread studded with golden raisins.

    My salad was pretty good -- it tossed with a good amount of dressing, but not overly drenched. The caesar salad my boyfriend got was great though. The croutons were baked with parmesan cheese which gave them great flavor and crunch. I regretted not getting the caesar salad as I ate off all the croutons on my boyfriend's salad.

    The 8 oz. filet mignon offered for Restaurant Week is smaller than the restaurant's usual 10 oz portion, but it was enough for leftovers. Cooked medium-rare, it tasted like the beef version of sashimi tuna -- buttery smooth. The mains were served with family style side dishes of creamed spinach and mashed potatoes. The sides were good, but as I watched the mashed potatoes being slopped into the dishes cafeteria-style in the kitchen, they sort of lost their appeal.

    My creme brulee could have been better. The flavor was there, but the texture wasn't. I was disappointed that the crunchy bruleed sugar on top wasn't crunchy. Instead of tapping the top to break the thin layer of caramelized sugar, my spoon just kinda went poke-poke, making dents in the cold sugar topping. The boyfriend ordered the Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberries. As our waiter described it, "it's thicker than mousse, but not as thick as fudge." This one was a winner.

    Verdict: On the normal menu at The Capital Grille, $37 would get you a 10 oz. filet mignon and nothing else. Getting slightly smaller cut, along with an app and dessert for $30 is a great deal. I'd give the experience a score of 8.5 out of 10 (10 being fabulous). They lost points for the creme brulee, not clearing the salad plates before bringing out the entrees, and leaving a stray (but clean) unnecessary napkin on our table for the entire meal.

    More Queen's Feast reviews:

    Restaurant No. 1: Oceanaire Seafood Room

    Tags: , , ,

    Monday, January 26, 2009

    Restaurant Week extended at some places

    Posted By on Mon, Jan 26, 2009 at 5:09 PM

    $30 for a 3-course meal makes Queen's Feast, Charlotte Restaurant Week, very popular. If you weren't able to score a reservation at one of the participating restaurants, there might still be hope. The following few restaurants are extending the $30 offer until Saturday, Jan. 31. The original Restaurant Week is supposed to run Jan. 24-30.

    • Sullivan's
    • Upstream

    Please feel free to add on to this list if you know of any other restaurants extending the offer.

    Tags: , , , ,

    Queen's Feast, restaurant No. 1

    Posted By on Mon, Jan 26, 2009 at 3:27 PM

    It's Charlotte Restaurant Week -- when restaurants offer 3-course (fixed menu) meals for $30. I've made it my mission to hit up at least 5 participating restaurants in 7 days. I hypothesize I will gain 20 pounds by the end of the week, but hey, it's all in the name of research. Here's goes...

    Date: Saturday, Jan. 24

    Restaurant: Oceanaire Seafood Room

    What I ate:

    • Appetizer: Calamari with a sweet chili sauce.
    • Main: Lobster Thermador with Wilted Spinach, Forest Mushrooms & Sherry Cream
    • Dessert: Key Lime Pie

    Summary: Having never been to Oceanaire, we didn't know what to expect. Walking into the restaurant, my eating companion (aka. boyfriend) and I were greeted warmly and were seated promptly at a cozy booth. Every table at the restaurant was full, but the place didn't feel loud or crowded.

    The pickled herring with an array of veggies and olives that were brought out with bread prior to the appetizer was a pleasant surprise. The appetizer of fried calamari served with a sweet chili sauce might have been best calamari dish I've had yet in Charlotte -- sweet and spicy, with a great crunch.

    The 1/2 lobster I got was good, but a tad too creamy for my liking. I was happy with the size of the serving though. I was expecting a measly-sized lobster with little meat. (Oh yeah, and please note: a LOBSTER dinner for under $30! Great deal.)

    Dessert was a honking huge slice of key lime pie. Super tart, just how key lime pie is supposed to be. It was of the non-bake variety, slightly wobbly like jell-o, but still good. Served with a dollop of whipped cream and a slice of lime for garnish, what more could you want? The boyfriend ordered the pumpkin pie for dessert. Instead of the slice of traditional pie we were expecting, they brought out an artsy deconstructed pumpkin pie -- a layer of baked pumpkin pie filling, a cloud of whipped cream over that, and a wedge of shortbread pie crust balanced on top. If you took a bite of all three at once, it tasted exactly like pumpkin pie. My only qualm with it was that the pumpkin layer was too thin.

    Verdict: Considering a normal-priced entree is around $25+ at Oceanaire, to pay another $5 for the full 3-course meal is totally worth it. Charlotte Restaurant Week is the perfect time to try expensive restaurants that you normally wouldn't try.

    Tags: , , , , ,

    Search Events

    Recent Comments


    © 2019 Womack Digital, LLC
    Powered by Foundation