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Charlotte update: Taverna 100; Mert's, Copper, and a BarBQue question

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Here are a few of my own impressions from my most recent trip to Charlotte. YMMV:

First of all, Taverna 100 received mixed reviews on this board, but I really enjoyed the group dinner we had there Monday night (I was not the one to chose the restaurant; it was chosen largely due to its proximity to the Omni Hotel).
Its hard to describe Taverna's food: Mediterranean I guess would be the closest. It reminded me a little of Aziza in San Francisco, but not as Middle-eastern oriented. Same sort of "fusion" idea..... The starters were great: baba ghanoush, hummus, zucchini fritters and a great cheese plate someone ordered. And some wonderful olives. I then had a salad consisting of arugula, apple, date, and pistachios, with pistachio oil in the dressing!!! That was wonderful!! tasty and fresh and very different. For main I had the lamb chops served over a garbanzo and swiss chard stew. My only complaint is that I found the chops a little difficult to eat: they were thick and awkward and maybe not as tender as they could be. But they tasted good!! Others in the group really liked their mains as well....Desert was wonderful: a cranberry bread pudding. There were only about three left and we fought over them!! Someone also had something decadent and chocolate....very rich and creamy. Dinner for 14 including about six bottles of wine was an even 1000 including tax and tip.....and service was exemplary. I also liked the fact that they didn't add an automatic gratuity even with such a large group....the restaurant is very comfortable and we had a nice table "tucked away" in the back and were very comfortable....

I had dinner my first night at Mert's Heart and Soul. I still love this place...good food and great prices. Shrimp and grits, greens, and cornbread with a sweet tea (forgot to ask for unsweetened!) came to under 20 bucks including tax and tip. Can't beat that!! I gave up on watching the Cubs; just as well....

Had lunch at Copper yesterday. I really want to go back and try it for dinner sometime. I found the lunch menu somewhat limited. I had scallops in a goan sauce and my friend had the vegetable korma, and we shared. The scallops were very good, and the sauce delicious...although I think they were a touch underdone. The vegetable korma was creamier than I am used to....almost tasted like there was a bit of creme cheese in there. A little TOO fusion for this girl; and not nearly spicy enough. The vegetables WERE fresh and crisp, a nice change from the usual frozen fare you get with the dish. The location is beautiful...again, I would like to go back at dinner. There were only about seven choices on the lunch menu; just a little limiting for me.

Now, my quick question: There is a BarBQ place on Wilkinson on the way to the airport. I have passed it dozens of times....it looks like an old drive in complete with the mikes you use to talk to the carhop...you expect someone to come out on roller skates. North side of the street I think, about two miles from the airport..... I can't remember the name of the place...but I'm curious: Charlotte hounds, is it worth the stop for some Q to take on the plane?? I go to Charlotte frequently on business, and have long been curious......Anybody recognize this place?? BarBQ King, maybe???? TIA!!

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  1. Definitely try to hit Copper for dinner. It's such a pretty spot and it sort of twinkles at night. We went to Taverna one night last week and loved it. As for Mert's, I'm glad you liked it but I've never figured out what the fuss is all about. And as far as the Q question, pretty much every post about Charlotte says there is no good BBQ in this city. I wouldn't no good BBQ if it bit me because I'm not a fan (and yes, I've had it in Lexington and a haf dozen other places out east, just can't seem to get excited about it). So no matter what it is out on Wilkinson, it might be disappointing. I'll ask around and post something if I hear otherwise.

    1. The BBQ King may be worth trying. My SO I just watched BBQ King on an episode of "Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives" on the Food Network. BBQ is made in-house - wood or gas I don't remember - and it looks wonderful, spicy vinegar-based like BBQ should be.

      3 Replies
      1. re: pinogirl14

        well, then that must be the same place because I noticed they had a sign up: "Featured on Food Channel" or something...

        That might be a minus in my book :-)

        Here is a few links:

        EDIT: I swear I clicked on Copper and got AA Brass and Aluminum. Let me try that again....

        -----
        Taverna 100
        100 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202

        A & A Brass & Aluminum
        228 W Tremont Ave, Charlotte, NC

        1. re: janetofreno

          Trying Copper again. This "add a place" can be frustrating!!

          -----
          Copper Modern Indian Cuisine
          311 East Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28203

        2. re: pinogirl14

          BBQ King is no log burner.

          Although I have never been, I have never heard anybody in Charlotte praising it as a "must go" place.

        3. I've found the food at Copper to be a bit tame too. I love the venue and the service is great but I just seem to find the food a little lacking. I prefer Saffron although it's not nearly as convenient or groovy.

          http://www.saffron-cuisine.com/index.htm

          Thanks for the info about Taverna 100 -- it's been on my list for a while and I'll give it a whirl.

          2 Replies
          1. re: HungryGrayCat

            I know exactly what you mean about the food at Copper. Some of it is very much like baby food? Overly pureed and not spicy at all. I still want this spot to succeed so that's all I'll say. Saffron is lovely. It's close to my office so we do the lunch buffet a lot. I also enjoy Bombay Grille on 51 for Indian. Honestly, I'm just beginning to get very into Indian so some of the subtle differences between the restaurants I've been to may be lost on me. I should read some Indian threads to learn more! Janet - next time you're uptown I highly recommend The Oceannaire. I know it's a chain but the Charlotte location is really a gem!

            1. re: southernitalian

              Re: Copper -- I agree. I want it to survive so that chefs take more chances here in Charlotte.

              janetofreno: I know you're in the SF Bay Area a lot and may have been to Ajanta in Berkeley. Saffron is on that par -- really good with lots of things not on the typical Indian menu. It's worth a trip if you have the time to drive down there. I have only had dinner; haven't tried the lunch buffet.

              As for BarBQKing, I haven't been but don't let the Food Network thing put you off. They also had Penguin on that show and that's a simply fabulous place!!

          2. My favorite bbq place in Charlotte is Bill Spoon's on South Blvd near Tyvola road. Nice and attentive wait staff, good hushpuppies and sweet tea. Some of my friends swear Mac's on South Blvd (closer to uptown) for bbq. The best thing at Mac's is pulled pork soft tacos, but it is more like a bar, "be seen" kind of place.

            I just tried BBQKing last week, was not impressed. You have to get it to go or eat in your car. It was campy for the visit, but not a Must See,

            1. BBQKing is not worth the drive, it is awful cute, BUT you have to eat in your car or take away. The food was average at best. For BBQ, Bill Spoon's on South Blvd is the best for eastern style bbq, slaw, hushpuppies and sweet tea! I If you want old dirty little off the beaten path restaurant, The Coffee Cup is worth checking out.

              1. Sounds like you had a great visit in Charlotte. I'm glad.
                I think if you liked Copper for lunch you will LOVE it for dinner. - I do.
                For great high end Italian try Fiamma it’s my favorite.
                Regarding BarBQ King the Q is no great shakes but they do have a great dish. They take excellent fried chicken and dunk it in BarBQ Sauce. Might sound a bit crazy but it tastes so good. Also I love the visual of you chowing down on this while sitting on the airplane.