My SO and I went for lunch today. It just opened this week but we couldn't resist - Ballantyne is SO lacking in decent restaurants. It's a beautiful place - hard wood booths abound, beautiful bar backed by a wall of windows, an open kitchen and an all glass wine room for private dining (is that a contradiction?). The menu and atmosphere/decor SCREAM 131 Main. Even the menu has similar offerings and similar price points. The wine list is pretty conservative and doesn't have as many by-the-glass selections as I had hoped (they should offer more local brews too).
We ordered an Old Mecklenburg Brewery Copper Ale, a King Estate Pinot Gris, a Chop House Burger and the Napa Salad. The burger was good. We ordered it med-rare and it came out cooked perfectly. The bun was a little too big (kaiser roll), I would have preferred a brioche bun. The garlic aioli was a nice addition. The fries are the shoestring variety - again, just like 131 Main. The Napa Salad was mixed greens w/ bits of rotisserie chicken, chopped asparagus, roasted red pepper and mixed mushrooms all tossed in an herbed vinaigrette. It was perfectly dressed and nice and light.
The service was stellar too. Everyone we encountered was friendly and competent. The tables are a little dark but all in all its a nice atmosphere and I look forward to hanging out at the bar.
Our only complaint, really, is the lack of leg room in the booths. We're short people and our legs & feet were on top of one another. I can't imagine how the 4 guys in the booth next to us managed to sit comfortably.
I think this will be a nice addition to the Ballantyne area and will likely do well. It's got a safe menu of salmon, crab cakes, steak, ribs, etc. (no bone marrow, chicken livers or shortbreads here) but this is Ballantyne after all. ;-)
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