Restaurant Reviews: KrazyFish & Luna’s Living Kitchen

My goal since moving to Charlotte this year is trying the plethora of local restaurants in town, avoiding national franchises and experiencing what local chefs are pumping out of their Queen City kitchens. Very rarely have any of the places I have been fail to please. Krazyfish and Luna’s Living Kitchen are two places I recently visited this past week and I can’t wait to return very soon!

My friends and I ventured to Krazyfish out on Central Ave after class last Tuesday, our classes were canceled for the afternoon because of the looming snow clouds predicted to unleash their wintry mix in the late afternoon. The menu offers a fusion of Hispanic/Mexican flair with Asian and Indian flavors and hints of Southern comfort food. Talk about creativity! Their specials menu that day featured a spicy edamame appetizer, BBQ calamari, and a $1 mystery beer…hmm. It took me a while to decide between getting a Roti or tacos. The roti meal is a like aburrito, you choose a protein (bulgogi beef, cuban chicken, southern fried fish, spicy potato cake, lemongrass tofu, etc.) and sauce (Jamican curry, Indian Curry, Thai Red Curry, Habanero Apple Butter, Creole, or Lemongrass Curry)—don’t all of them sound enticing? The roti is then stuffed with rice and their “Krazy filler.” If you have a big appetite — this meal is for you! And its under 10 bucks!

From their even more extensive taco list, I decided on the Lemongrass Tofu with house slaw topped with blueberry tamarind chutney and served in fried floured tortillas. For my side, my friend highly recommended their Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese Grits Souffle. I’m not a grits fan but this souffle may have converted me. I also got their house salad — mixed greens topped with pickles, pickled beets, sprouts, and black-eye peas dressed with a mixed berry dressing — it hit all the right flavor notes!

Krazy decorations & Krazy good food!

Krazy decorations & Krazy good food!

Go here to check out more of their creative offerings: http://www.krazyfish.com/

Luna’s Living Kitchen is renown for its organic, plant-based, mostly raw cuisine. They also have a line of pressed juices and smoothies. I ventured there Saturday evening for dinner. The cafe is tucked away in the Atherton Mills Shopping Center right next to the market and behind Icehouse bar. My friend and I split their delicious sunflower hummus trio — lemon-parsley, sweet curry, and roasted chipotle (my favorite!) — served with vegan cranberry walnut crostinis and sliced cucumbers and carrots.

Tri-Color Hummus

Tri-Color Hummus

For my entree, I settled on the Lunasagna. I never had raw food –that is  nothing is cooked — in a entree meal form except for maybe salads without some sort of cooked protein. This dish consisted of thin layers of zucchini noodles filled with a sun-dried tomato sauce and covered with a cashew-butter basil sauce giving the consistency of a creamy ricotta cheese topping.  The dish was accompanied with a house salad of local greens. I was quite satisfied with my meal and just wished I had some room to try their desserts. They do have some cooked entrees, so if you aren’t that adventurous yet, you can try their different vegan burgers.

Lunasagna

Lunasagna

Here’s the link to this nutritious and delicious place: http://www.lunaslivingkitchen.com/

-A

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