Charlotte: Blackthorne Restaurant - The Return of Mark Hibbs
The Three Lunch Hounds tried Chef Mark Hibbs’ new place in Ballantyne, Blackthorne Restaurant, recently for lunch. The interior space is dark but warm with some beautiful tile work. Service was professional with very small misses – but the restaurant was nearly full so the crowd may have not been anticipated so early after the opening.
The lunch menu has small and large plates with a lot of interesting choices from short rib lettuce wraps to venison meatloaf to soups, salads and sandwiches.
I ordered the speck, brie, and arugula panini with balsamic glaze. The sandwich came on a good rustic baguette with a heaping portion of crispy thin fries. The quality of the speck was good but it was piled too high. A meat as strong as speck needs only a thin layer, especially going up against delicate brie.
Overall, I liked the place and would definitely go back. Lunch Hounds: your thoughts?
Yea, I enjoyed it to and would go back also. I had the venison meatloaf sandwich (w/ blueberries, oddly). It was topped lightly w/ a tangy bbq sauce and some mixed field greens. It came on a toasted Kaiser roll that was WAY TOO BIG for the nice slice of meatloaf. I had planned to eat it open-faced anyway so not a huge deal for me. I liked it although, I didn't really tasted the blueberries in the meatloaf, which was fine. The wine list was decent and they had all price ranges available by the glass. I look forward to going back for those short rib lettuce wraps.
I have been several times and it's generally been good, but most recently we went to the outside rooftop bar (which is quite a scene). We were just having a drink and decided to have an app to tide us over until dinner. We got the 5 spice calamari served w/ a sweet dipping sauce and it was awful. Inedible really. The bartender was great and offered to take it off our bill (which we declined). I too loved Ratcliffe on the Green & I know Mark is a great chef. There are some great menu items, but I think their target market, at least right now, is The Palm-loving, Ballantyne crowd. I'm just not feeling the place right now. I hope that he refines the menu and gets back to what he does best. I'm rooting for him.
I didn't realize what you ordered was a panini. That bread looked beautiful. I got the fish and chips and loved it.
I thought it was also a really pretty restaurant. Service was great, especially considering how new the place is and how crowded it was. It's so nice to have something in the Ballantyne area that's not a chain. I think Mark's place will do really well down there.
See you at Cowfish!