Last night we had our 12th anniversary dinner @ Ratcliffe on the Green. We made our reservations on Open Table and in the comments section asked for an intimate table and mentioned our anniversary. When we entered the restaurant we were greeted by Brian, the GM. He was so friendly and immediately wished us a “Happy Anniversary” and said they had a special table for us and lead the way. We were guided through the main dining room and up a narrow stairway and around a corner to our private table. A 4 top table was set for two on a balcony overlooking the main dining room – lovely and such a pleasant surprise! Deanna, our server was jovial, down-to-Earth and well versed on the specials, the regular menu and, of course, the tasting menu details. However, she was sworn to secrecy by Chef Mark who would not allow her to release specifics of the menu before they were plated before us. She was only permitted to tell us prices and # of plates, etc. in an effort to create an air of mystery & intrigue which it certainly did.
We ordered the 5 course tasting menu and I had the first tier wine pairings. But b/c of our celebration I was craving a glass of bubbly so they were kind enough to incorporate that into the menu.
First up an amuse bouche. Cream of potato and leek soup w/ chervil and locally made cheddar. Tasty, but not as smooth in texture as I would have liked. Next, I was brought a glass of sparkling from Touraine in the Loire valley. The server gave me a nice little description of the wine and the 29 yr old maker. She left and returned with spanakopita. These little fillo triangles were stuffed with Spinning Spider goat cheese and local spinach and served over lightly dressed micro greens. Very good and paired beautifully w/ the sparkling wine. I did a little chair dance after tasting both!
Deanna brought me a Hess Chardonnay next. It was okay… nothing to write home to mom about. It was paired w/ Carolina trout rolled and wrapped in Grateful Growers bacon and served over southern biscuit stuffing… YUM! The stuffing was the consistency of mashed potatoes and delicious and the trout was mild yet flavorful and the bacon, well… everything is made better with bacon!
Course #3 was preceded by a Clos du Val Pinot Noir. I really enjoyed this full bodied pinot. We were then served Ashley Farms roasted poisson thigh with Anson Mills grits and pureed butternut squash. The grits and squash were melt-in-your mouth good. The poisson was unremarkable for both of us.
Course #4 started with a ’05 Joel Gott Bin 815 Cab. Nice full-body cab w/ soft tannins for a young wine. Next came Beef filet (we were hoping for buffalo b/c it was the special that night) prepared perfectly med-rare and over a black truffle jus, served w/ pan-roasted fingerling potatoes and little baby yellow squash. I couldn’t taste the truffles at all (so sad) and the other components were not very exciting.
Finally the last course: dessert. A sauterne was served… to my disappointment. Not a big fan of dessert wine, but that’s my problem. Dessert was rosemary infused crème brulee. It was tasty but a tad too sweet for my taste.
Our final bill came to $174 before tip. Service was stellar and better than any I’ve had in Charlotte. Our server walked us down the stairs and out the door! As we were leaving Brian again wished us a happy anniversary. Food was good, but not as exciting as I had hoped. The mystery and intrigue that the server stirred up in the beginning left our taste buds wanting more. Our favorites were the spanakopita and the trout. We will definitely return but will order off the menu next time. The menu offered exciting entrees of rabbit saddle and seared duck. The server raved about a pork chop w/ apples and other fruits. There was foie gras which I had prayed was included in our tasting menu courses and I was so sad it was not. The tasting menu seemed to play it safe. We were looking for adventure! Don’t get me wrong… I highly recommend this place; I just suggest ordering off the menu.
Oh, Deanna, our server, was ever so kind to write down for me a brief description of the courses and wine pairings!!! I could’ve never remembered it all and they don’t print up the tasting menu. My SO’s blackberry was helpful too!