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Report: Forty-Six in Kannapolis, NC

After David Murdock decided on Kannapolis for his Research Campus dream, he realized there was nowhere for him to eat when he visited. So he built Forty-Six. And it was good.

Really, really good. And beautifully decorated, comfortable, and (supposedly) sourced as much as possible from NC farms and animals.

Before I get into a review, a warning. They only serve dinner on Friday and Saturday nights. I'm guessing this will change once the Research Campus is in full swing, but who knows when that will be. On Thursday nights they have a cocktail/networking thing till 7:00 with free hors d'oeuvres. I am unfamiliar with their lunch schedule (if there is one).

We ate there this past Saturday for the second time. I didn't want to post a review after our first visit because I was afraid the deliciousness was some kind of a fluke. In Charlotte, this place might get lost among the other notable places, but for those of us who dwell in Cabarrus County, Forty Six is a rare gem and a place that my husband and I will be visiting, I'm guessing, at least monthly.

Even on Friday and Saturday nights, the incredibly attractive dining rooms (there are 2) are still largely empty, which is unfortunate. The servers are very cheerful and eager to help, but pretty inexperienced for this type of restaurant. I imagine the pool of applicants in Kannapolis did not include a whole lot of folks who had served in higher-end places before. But this fact doesn't subtract much from the enjoyment of the meal and they'll learn in time I think.

The wine-by-the-bottle list is currently tiny, but reasonably priced. There are cocktail specials on the menu too, but I have not sampled any of those. One of our gripes is that they serve the wine in mod looking old-fashioned glasses (they look sort of like beakers, which matches their science theme I guess) - no stemware. With the mid-range wine that we've ordered, this is only aggravating. If we were to order something off the high-end, it would border on being unacceptable.

The appetizers have been great so far. Though this time I ordered a salad which, on the menu, promised warm goat cheese with spiced walnuts, but turned out to have warm goat cheese and beets. It was still tasty though. On our first visit, a delicious crabcake starter was a real standout.

The dinner menu is not long but offers a nice range of offerings that are reasonably priced for the quality. As the menu changes weekly, there are no specials. I THINK the most expensive thing I have seen is the NY Strip with lobster mashed potatoes for $26. My husband had this on our first visit and loved it. On that visit, I had scallops which were perfectly cooked. This time I had the pork chop which was good, but not amazing. My husband ordered the Shrimp and Grits. The menu states simply "Our version, trust us". What we expect when we think of shrimp and grits is a big bowl of grits, shrimp, maybe some sausage - basically comfort food. What arrived was five shrimp prettily arranged around a square of grits cake (better than it sounds) - very modern presentation. It was definitely delicious, but didn't necessarily fill the "comfort food" hole.

So far, the dessert menu has not changed. The chocolate creme brulee is soooo good. As was the pumpkin cheesecake. The only thing that hasn't been great was some hazelnut gelato which was really grainy, though the flavor was nice. They do offer a menu of dessert drinks including 1.5 oz pours of port, which is just the right amount for me and not priced prohibitively.

Overall, this place gets a big thumbs up from me. The food has yet to disappoint and I think the service quirks will be smoothed over; I can't wait to see it get more crowded. I encourage you to go try it if you can. If anyone else, has been there, I'd love to hear about it.

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  1. I tried to add the location using CH's tools, but it didn't take, so here it is:

    101 West Ave
    Kannapolis 28083
    704-250-4646

    1 Reply
    1. re: concordcourtney

      Thanks Courtney. We will try it soon and report back. It would be great to have a good restaurant in our area.

    2. Finally made it here for lunch today. Quite good. I had a cup of 12 bean soup with a bit of curry kick -- great -- and a cobb salad with grilled chicken -- also very good. Service was pretty quick and very friendly. The restaurant is quite cute and plenty of room with the tables spread out nicely. Lunch was $13. I was impressed and will be back as it is only maybe 15 minutes from my work.

      In addition to daily specials they have 6 salads to choose from each with a choice of Grilled Chicken or Salmon mostly in the $9 to $10 range. One of the salads is a combo shrimp and lobster for $11. Sandwiches are done with a touch of something different like the the tuna with sunflower seeds and golden raisins. Others: Salmon BLT, Chix Salad with Walnuts and Tarragon, Grilled Veggie panini, Pulled BBQ braised Turkey, and house roasted turkey. Good list of deserts too. Saw an example of the dinner menu which looked quite good as well -- they still serve dinner only Friday and Saturday until 9. Considering what little better restaurants are in this area I certainly hope it does well and it encourages others to try something in the Concord Kannapolis area. Looked like there are two good size dinning rooms, one of which was 90% full at lunch today. Thanks for the tip Courtney. I really liked it!

      2 Replies
      1. re: artlee

        I'm so glad that you like it, artlee. And I appreciate the in depth review of lunch. Although I'm in Charlotte in the daytime hours, I'd like to try it sometime. Salmon BLT? Le yum.

        1. re: concordcourtney

          Took my wife there yesterday and she was dazeled. "Why can't there be more healthy places like this that are soooo good?" Brother, now I won't be able to get to that burger or fried chicken place!! I might have made a strategic mistake. Thanks again Courtney!! lol

      2. Sorry, I wasn't impressed at all.

        Went last night with some friends. It was nice looking, but some of the food left a bit of room for improvement. I got a taste of the steak and it was very good, but the fish plate that I ordered tasted as though someone had spilled a pound of salt in the coating. I couldn't eat it without picking all of the coating off. The side of home potatoes was OK, but still pretty bland.

        And when you say "The servers are very cheerful and eager to help, but pretty inexperienced for this type of restaurant", you hit the nail on the head. It took forever to pay. First, getting the three checks split up correctly was a job in itself for our waitress. Once they were finally split up correctly, they were all charged to the wrong credit cards and had to be cancelled and recharged. The whole process took around half an hour. Frustrating to say the least.

        One final thing I had a problem with was the 20% gratuity that we were automatically charged. That's insane. On top of this, they leave a blank on the ticket for you to add a "tip"......LOL. Was $50+ (for serving 6 people) not enough of a tip???

        By the end of it all, I was just glad to get out the door. Definitely NOT worth the money. I won't be surprised at all when I drive by in a few months and see a "for lease" sign in the window.

        1. My wife and I went last night and sadly were dissappointed. I had the pork chop with greens and sweet ptotatoe (hash?) and my wife had the fish and chips panko crusted. Thought it was fair and at $25 and $22 probably overpriced. The service was slow to start but pleasant and the interior is nice -- not fancy, but nice enough. We decided on the way home that maybe we would stick to lunch here. Have you been back Courtney? Any others tried it yet? I want to like it as we don't have a lot near here.

          3 Replies
          1. re: artlee

            I haven't been in the last month or so though it often comes up when we're trying to decide where to go. But with them only serving dinner Fridays and Saturdays (I assume this is still the case) it just seems we always have something else going on. I do plan on getting back soon - I want to see them smooth things out and really make it (and save me the drive to Charlotte for a nice meal!).

            1. re: artlee

              We went back this past Friday for dinner, with reservations at 6:30. It wasn't a perfect meal, but I'm still pro-46. The service this time was very quick and attentive throughout the meal, though our waitress was still a bit nascent and I felt a little bad for her as she struggled with opening the wine.

              Though the physical menus had changed, I was disappointed to see that there was very little change in the entrees since the last time we'd been (I think January?); mostly the same preparations of the same meats with just a few changes to the sides. The scallops (and something else I think) had been moved from entree to app. My husband had the scallops as a starter and they were still delicious and perfectly cooked. I had the goat cheese salad again which arrived with a VERY generous serving of the goat cheese.

              For entrees, we both ended up having the tenderloin. The demi-glace and vegetables were all great and plated very nicely. Unfortunately for both of us, they overcooked the meat; medium-rare arrived a solid medium so that was a strike.

              There were new dessert items and we ordered a mango crisp and (gasp! - my favorite) profiteroles. The crisp was good but the profiteroles were a huge letdown. They had quite obviously come from the freezer, the pate a choux tough and nearly inedible. It was frustrating, but in my experience, a falling down in the dessert menu is not at all uncommon among restaurants like 46. I'll stick to the creme brulee from now on.

              Overall, I still really like it given the location and over-arching philosophy of the restaurant. I suspect we will continue to visit fairly regularly.

              1. re: concordcourtney

                Thanks Courtney. We'll give it another try.

            2. I feel the quality has gone done from my past visits and it's the same old menu too.
              wonder what happened they used to be real good.

              1. My wife and I had our inaugural visit to Restaurant Forty-Six a couple of months ago. In short, we were pretty impressed with everything except our choice of dessert. For my full review of our experience, see http://cmpilato.blogspot.com/2009/05/...