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Jan 19, 2011 03:39 PM

need Charlotte recommendations

Will be in and around downtown Charlotte this weekend, including the South Park area, Looking for casual, innovative, fresh, nonchain lunch and dinner fare. Any cuisine and price range is fine as long as it isn't super expensive. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Harvest Moon Grille, Lulu, Soul Gastrolounge and Nolen Kitchen
    come to mind for casual, fresh and innovative.

      1. If you're in the South Park area, you may want to check out Terrace Cafe or Cafe Monty. The former is very good for breakfast/bruch and the latter is good pretty much any time of day. I have not yet been, but I have heard very good things about George's Brasserie. Both George's and Terrace Cafe are in Piedmont Row which is adjaceent to the Mall. Monty is near Phillips Place

        I have been hearing very good things about Cow Fish from multiple sources. This is in an outparcel at the mall (near Crate and Barrell). They have unusual burger and sushi combos. We tried to go one night last week, but it was too packed to get in.

        The other hot new commodity in town is Halcyon, but I know for a fact they are already booked solidy Friday night, so you are probably out of luck there

        8 Replies
        1. re: hazardnc

          Some great possibilities here. My thanks to all of you. And keep those recommendations coming if you think of anything else because we won't arrive until Saturday morning.

          1. re: hazardnc

            Not to be a jerk, but I really don't think I'd put Cafe Monte or George's Brasserie in the "innovative" category...croque monseur, escargot, onion soup, cassoulet and steak frites have been on menus for about a 100 years. Also, to me, the OP's use of the word "fresh" implies the use of local ingredients, which I don't think either of those places specializes in. They are both decent places, I just don't think they are what the OP is looking for, but I may be wrong. They are in Southpark.

            1. re: jla1960

              You're right, jla1960. But that may be my bad. I maybe should have added the word "hip," also. (As much as it pains me.) From the websites I've visited, Halcyon, Soul Gastrolounge, Cowfish, Nolen Kitchen, and perhaps Good Food On Montford seem the closest to the kind of nuevo-fusion mashup we're seeking. My thanks to you ALL nonetheless as I don't exactly know what part of town we'll end up spending the most time in. (Besides South Park--the girl gotta sate her post-Christmas shopping jones.)

              1. re: jla1960

                Sorry -- didn't see the "innovative." And you/re right - most of the South Park places lack innovation -- but they're still pretty good for what they serve

                1. re: hazardnc

                  Just a followup: Had lunch at Cowfish, near the mall. The place is cavernous, and shout-across-the-table loud. The wait was 45 mins. at one p.m. on Saturday. We weren't in a sushi mood, so we went with medium burgers and sides, all of which were pretty darn good. I particularly liked the sweet and spicy Thai cucumber salad. Service was slow but very friendly and helpful. We likee.

                  Had dinner at Soul Gastrolounge in Midwood Plaza, which was tiny and packed and even louder than Cowfish. The hostess said she could seat us right away, and we were excited until we learned she meant at the bar. (Don't they usually ask?) Anyway, we had overpriced tiny cocktails and four pretty decent small plates, including the Shashimi Tuna Tacos, the rather too cutesy Salmon-O-Pita, and some delicious Greek meatballs. The food prices weren't too bad, but our waitress kept snatching our plates away without even asking if we were finished, at one point prompting my very mild mannered wife to actually move a plate as she was attempting to take it. Frankly, I got the feeling she was more interested in turnover than making us feel relaxed and welcome. Bad night? Bad waitress?

                  Thanks again, everybody.

                  1. re: Jeff C.

                    Sorry you had a less than stellar experience at Soul. I probably should have warned you that's it's tiny. I've never experienced the service issues you describe, so I'm not sure what up with that.

                    1. re: jla1960

                      We definitely want to try Lulu and/or Nolen Kitchen next time we're in town. Which would you pick if you could only do one?

                      1. re: Jeff C.

                        I would go with Lulu. I think it will be much closer to what you are looking for.

            2. Had lunch at Harvest Moon Grille yesterday, it was delicious! A true farm to fork restaurant - give it a try.