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Charlotte- Customshop or Carpe Diem

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I have not eaten at either restaurant and have reservations at both for Saturday night. Which is better food, more fun, better atmosphere? I've heard great things about both. Please advise. Thank you!

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  1. So where did you go? I have been to Carpe and liked it a lot. HAve not been to Customshop and have heard mixed results. Anxious to hear.

    6 Replies
    1. re: artlee

      went to customshop. it was good. not great. i like the atmosphere a lot. it was a lot more affordable than i would have thought. we ordered several different things to try as much as we could. the hashbrowns were great. the brocoli rabe was ok. we had a meat plate that was good (but you can't really screw that up). we had a whole red snapper that was ok, but overcooked. i can't remember what else. the menu doesn't scream at you as being so yummy and appealing. but, i would go back to try other things. i think it is still working out the kinks.

      1. re: kdub

        Thanks for the feedback. That's kind of what I have heard. Maybe we need to give it some time.

        1. re: artlee

          Yeah, Tom Sietsema - the food critic for the Washington Post (who I revered when I lived up in DC) - always said he waited a few months after a new restaurant was open before going to review it...

          I can vouch for Carpe Diem - had a great meal there a few months ago! I've only been once, so I'm not sure if it's consistent, but our meal was excellent, and the pace was very relaxed, and the service professional.

        2. re: kdub

          I've been to Custom shop twice, and am unimpressed. Nice vibe in a good looking room (that's noisy) and hip diverse crowd, but the food and service do not complete the package. Great idea, interesting pedigree, but lacking in execution. I don't buy the needs time excuse, they have been open for a couple of months and should have the basics figured-out. The place is missing some key ingredients that would move them up from mediocre. They will do fine, but they will not fill the niche in Charlotte that I was wishing they would.

          1. re: RICKO

            I agree with the assement of CUSTOMSHOP so far. Interesting concept, great pedigree but lacks the punch of some of the best neighborhood spots of Charlotte, ie. Lulu or Barringtons. Lulu I think, for all it's quirks is really the stand out in new(er) Charlotte restaurants with a chef owner. I've seen some posts on it as well as customshop being loud, but isn't that the point of a bistro or neighborhood eatery? That being said, I've been to Customshop a few times, and have left with the feeling that somethings just not quite right...not horrible but..missing. I don't think it's a matter of it hitting it's stride, it's almost a personality flaw somehow. But I will continue to support it (and places like Lulu and Barringtons) because 1.) it's near my home and 2.) because to do otherwise will allow Charlotte to become a food city filled with steakhouses and lifeless multi unit "concept" restaurants.

            1. re: RICKO

              RICKO - What niche is that? Just curious what you meant by that...