Queen’s Feast — Restaurant Week in Charlotte

Charlotte’s Restaurant Week is an exciting perk for a culinary student with a limited budget residing in the hotbed of rising high-quality restaurant establishments. A few friends and I, after about an hour of debating over restaurant choices,  settled on Mimosa Grill. I had heard good things about their Sunday brunch from a few of my instructors and one of my friends said he enjoyed his last experience there too. Their restaurant week menu did not offer a vegetarian option, so I decided to call to inquiry about  accommodations. The hostess cheerfully expressed that the kitchen would be more than happy to meet such accommodations, so I was sold and made reservations.

Our dinner was last Sunday, after being seated and putting in our drink orders, I again confirmed with  server that it would not be a big deal to make a vegetarian dish, she highly recommended that I let the  kitchen surprise me. Well surprise me they did.

With a huge disappointment.

Dinner started with a beet salad mix with thinly shaved beets, goat cheese, oranges fennel, and citrus rosemary vinaigrette. It wasn’t horrible, the vinaigrette was refreshing and fennel was a different greens to try.

"MG" Beet Salad

“MG” Beet Salad

My entree was a poor concoction of pasta and vegetables swimming in olive oil and black pepper. I could even say pasta dishes I’ve had at Olive Green have been better. I first settled for it but after finishing dinner with a practically inedible pecan pie, I did not think the price I paid was worth the  whole meal.

I did not make a huge issue out of it with the server. I tried to reconcile that maybe the kitchen was too busy to make a special vegetarian dish, but I guess the dessert (my favorite part of any meal) broke the camel’s back. I’ll certainly be more cautious about choosing my restaurant week experience and allowing a chef to experiment on my pricey meal.

A caveat though–the rest of my dinner party members enjoyed their meals but not overly impressed. For appetizers they tried the lobster mac & cheese, stuffed Georgia hushpuppies, and the beef carpaccio. Chosen entrees included the 24-hour “Painted Hills” short ribs served with a farro risotto, Rock House Farm Artisan Pork — a grilled pork loin with sausage mac & cheese and homemade Arkansas Black applesauce, and The Duck Plate, which though my friend said was tasty, it was a chewing marathon because it was cooked med-rare and had lots on fat on it.  And boy do I regret not getting the S’mores Bread Pudding for dessert instead.  Overall, it was still a fun night reflecting upon our culinary courses and learning hilariously quirky things about each other.

-A

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