Charlotte: New South Kitchen & Bar
We visited the new arboretum restaurant this week. The New South Kitchen & Bar replaces what was Dakotas. Same owners who closed Dakotas(Chris & Sue Edwardds) , took on an investor and revamped the menu and the décor. They added a much needed splash of color to the interior and expanded the once claustrophobic bar area. Now there is room for live music and a much livelier spirit inside. The dining area is still split down the middle w/ the bar occupying the center. Which never made sense to me and makes it difficult for servers who often have to work tables on both sides.
We had a party of four adults, two kids. Our server was Dory and she was great, albeit spread too thin because they were understaffed and she was juggling too many tables with little assistance from the chef’s wife who was manning the hostess station but not really doing much to help (although she did bring the kids some crayons so they could color on the butcher paper lining the top of our table). They gave us a kid’s menu which was a pleasant surprise. Basic fare for kids was chicken, burgers, etc.
The dinner menu is broken down into small plates, big plates, sides, cheese plates, green plates and pasta & grains. The menu is equally as impressive as it was w/ Dakotas. Lots of great & unusual selections at decent prices… all w/ a southern flare. The wines by the glass menu was expansive but a bit difficult to read.
We started off w/ the blackened foie gras w/ polenta and cider sauce. It was lovely! I really enjoyed the polenta as a nice alternative to the typical bread/crostini accompaniment. We also had the crispy oysters w/ chipotle tartar sauce. These had a nice crunchy texture but were way too salty for me. We had mini BLT’s too. These were ordinary.
My main course or big plate was the rabbit w/ braised apples and cider sauce…yum. SO had the duck confit w/ zinfandel cherry sauce(another thumbs up). Others at the table had the Berkshire pork loin w/ bbq demi glace and crab cakes (both good). We opted for the large plate of four sides for $20. We ordered the creamed corn, mashed potatoes, sautéed butternut squash & brussel sprouts. All were good. The only downer was that when the big plates were brought out, missing was our sides and one of the kid’s burgers. Dory immediately apologized for the missing burger and explained she forgot to order one. I so admire a server who admits to making a mistake rather than trying to blame the kitchen. We waited several minutes for the burger along with the sides. We didn’t complain, and were given a small box of chocolate truffles w/ a card for a free small plate at our next visit for our understanding and patience.
I really, really liked the menu and am anxious to return to try the braised short ribs, lamb agnolotti and shrimp & grits. I was always impressed by Chef Chris’ creativity and commitment to quality ingredients. Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of the a la carte menu – I like it when a chef plans what he wants to serve w/ a main course. It’s part of their skill. I always thought a hunk of meat on a plate by itself just seemed lonely and unappealing visually. But, fortunately, there’s plenty to work with here at New South. I also look forward to returning to enjoy the bar area and the live music.
Go give it a try, ya’ll!
I had lunch here today and it's a first since they switched concepts from the old Dakota's to New South Kitchen. It was wonderful!
I had Chef Chris Edward's famous shrimp and grits and I may have to rate them the best I've ever had. Even better than Hominy Grill in Charleston. New South's shrimp & grits had a rich brown gravy w/ house-made sausage and mushrooms over nicely cooked shrimp and the best cheese grits I've ever had in Charlotte for sure. The grits were very coarse yet creamy and perfectly cooked.
I've always been a fan of Chef Chris' food - he is committed to Southern food done well with fresh ingredients. I'v e never had a bad meal at either of his establishments. I was happy to see many folks in for lunch so hopefully business is good. I should mention that they also have a lunch buffet with his famous fried chicken, creamed spinach, other Southern staples. The wine list is always impressive too. I had a nice glass of Albarino, but at $9/glass it was a bit expensive.
Great place that you really should try.
I went there this past Sat. Night and I really enjoyed myself. Service was very good as was the food. I'd give it a thumbs up!! My only disappointments were, as you stated, the a la carte menu and, yes I know all chefs "steal" from each other, but there were more than a few items "lifted" from some of the more creative chefs in town. That said, all in all I think we're in for a pretty good ride with this place too.
Helen Schwab was on NPR yesterday and apparently will have a review of this place in tomorrow's paper. She sounded pretty positive about the place on the radio so I assume she's giving it a good review. I always admired Chris Edwards... he seems committed to fresh ingredients and interesting concepts. Glad you had a good experience too!