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Dec 16, 2007 06:23 AM

Customshop Charlotte - Well Helen Schwab loves it!

Did any other Chow Hounds read Helen Schwab's review of Customershop on Friday? She is the only person I have heard of who is happy with the place. I was glad to hear they eliminated some of their annoying policies (all dishes ordered at the same time, quirky reservation policies), but does that make up for mediocre food?

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  1. I read the article. Yeah, she was blown away, apparently. I haven't heard much about the place and certainly no one raving (besides Helen). Perhaps the changes in the front of the house also included some changes in the kitchen too. OR maybe they knew Helen was there and they pulled out all the stops. Dunno.

    It's definitely not at the top of list of places to try. I want to get to Fig Tree, Nolen Kitchen, GW Fins, etc. I'll wait to see what the "common folk" have to say here on CH about Customshop.

    Hazard, have you been?

    1. I was quite surprissed. Has the food improved?

      1. I haven't read the article yet, I'll have to dig it out. But my one experience there was a huge letdown and there are too many good places in town to risk going there again. I can't turn in my receipts like Helen. ;)

        1. Her review has put Customshop on top of my list. It's hard to imagine that a reviewer would rave so much for no reward. I'm guessing that the kinks are all worked out and it's pretty damn good now.

          That said, I'm outta town for a bit but will report back after I go.

          1 Reply
          1. re: HungryGrayCat

            Yes, HGC, please give us your rundown! Safe travels!

          2. I have had lunch and dinner here. I rate it as just OK. The Crudo -- the Italian version of sashimi was very good, fresh and delicious.
            At lunch they have something they call a spatula burger. Check this out- The waiter explained the chef believes the heat in human hands will some how upset the protein in the burger, so the meat is never touched by human hands. It is formed scooped and flattened out by a spatula.
            “Gimme a break” if this isn’t a gimmick to charge a couple more bucks I don’t know what is.

            8 Replies
              1. re: hazardnc

                So the chef isn't concerned about the heat of the grill upsetting the proteins of the aforementioned burger? This backs up why I'm not returning. I've been to Customshop a number of times (more than 8) since the first week they opened until as recent as the first week of December. I really wanted to like this place, but there's an arrogance that permeates the place, and having watched the place from the opening week until now, I guess they hoped that relaxing some of the "annoying policies" might bring back some customers. I always wondered why a "neighborhood" eatery would take such a unneighborly stance in the first place, I guess some people just don't get it. In any event I'm not returning and it's not due to any one thing done wrong...just many missteps along the way. And it's a safe bet that Helen was recognized off the bat, the guys at customshop may be clueless when it comes to hospitality, but they are savvy when it comes to shameless self promotion.

                1. re: southernitalian

                  thanks for getting the pun. if you read some of Pepin's or any of the El Bulli books and I think you'll get a clearer picture of what I'm trying to say ( I'm not hem after all)
                  Yes the muscle is dead, no question, you can take it to the gym, but it won't do your situps for you, but the fibers of the muscle do react to stimuli (heat), it contracts, as it rests the fibers relax, just like living muscles, minus the lactic acid build up and the soreness involved, which allows the hemoglobin (not blood) or "juices" to distribute.
                  Again, I'm not trying to argue or defend...just seemed like an interesting point of dialog.

                  1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                    yeah, I love bison...but have a hard time (personally) with red meat with little fat. fat is flavor ;) it seems that anytime I work with it, I'm larding it with fat back. Where have you been able to find bison in the retail sector??

                  2. re: hazardnc

                    I have a few minutes before work:
                    Why on earth would you go to a restaurant "more than 8 times" if it did not satisfy you? I've been there 3 times. Lunch was mediocre.
                    2x for dinner. I'm a sucker for a good porkchop. It's my measure of good food handling. I'm not happy that theirs are better than mine. I will now buy from "GG" for the basics.
                    I did like the menu, not the usual iceberg and blue/steak/Cab stuff, or the "fusion to try and please everyone" menu. I like good, local and fresh. Our waiter actually knew where the greens and striped bass came from.
                    A feather for Charlotte. The best food not to dress up for, I can't stand "jacket required".

                    1. re: Kubasaki

                      I think you would like one of my favorite Charlotte restaurants on Central Ave
                      Try LULU its good, local and fresh, they use Grateful Growers product. The chef is excellent. Don't you agree MJ ?

                  3. re: GodfatherofLunch

                    I found out it's whole muscle, ground in house. I have always hated overmixed, dry, "parts" burgers, but theirs is too far the other way.
                    Note: it's not the protien, it's the fat, like pastry dough, keep it cold.

                    1. re: Kubasaki

                      what do you mean by whole muscle? I do not know this term.