I have been a long time lurker, and had such great experiences in Charlotte this weekend I just had to post about them. After researching where to dine on previous Chow threads, my hubby and I decided to have our anniversary dinner at Customshop, and then to Dandelion Market for dinner after the Checkers game the next night.
Customshop was all that folks had claimed, and then some. We split several items, so that we could try more things, and there wasn't a bad course in the lot. We started with the 2-Minute Cerviche--it was a perfect balance of citrus and spice, and the shrimp were "cooked" perfectly. We then progressed to the Pumpkin Ale braised Pork Belly with Cranberry beans. Again, the sweet braise on the pork belly was a wonderful complement to the acid of the light tomato sauce on the cranberry beans. We split the the Tuna Meatballs on Pepper Linguini alla Chitara for our pasta course. It was truly amazing! The meatballs were wonderful, and the sauce gave a great spin on the more traditional "tuna peppers." Our main was the Crispy Duck Breast with Almond Crepes over swiss chard, and again, the blend of sweet, sour and spice was excellent. Can't believe we tried dessert too, but the brioche bread pudding sounded too good to pass up. The service was excellent; the kitchen didn't miss a beat, and it appears that the staff is very well trained and attuned to guest needs. It was a truly enjoyeable experience - we both came away thinking that we wished it was closer to our home in the Triangle.
Dandelion Market was also a hidden gem- we had great food and service. The stuffed zucchini and the seared prawns were the standouts there, along with a really reasonably priced wine list.
So, even though we have many stand-out restaurants here in the Triangle, I am envious of you Queen City folks that can take in these on a regular basis.