Friday February 5, 2010 | Food Critics: Valentine’s Edition

February 4, 2010 at 9:52 am | Posted in Coming Up | 13 Comments

Our restaurant critics are back for a special edition of Charlotte Talks. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, our panel will focus on some of the most romantic restaurants in the region, whether they be old stand-bys or surprising new finds. We’ll also explore ways to create romantic meals at home. Make your reservation for a special edition of the food critics show.
Helen Schwab
– Food Writer and Critic, The Charlotte Observer
Heidi Billotto – Food Writer and Critic, Charlotte Living Magazine
Tricia Childress – Food Writer and Critic, Creative Loafing

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Listen to Show

Some of the restaurants mentioned during the show:

From Helen Schwab….
Four less predictable choices than the usual for Valentine’s Day:
Crepe Cellar 3116 N. Davidson St.; 704-910-6543
Beef n’ Bottle 4538 South Blvd.; 704-523-9977
Pike’s Soda Shop 1930 Camden Road; 704-372-0092
Amelie’s French Bakery & Cafe, the 24-hour French bakery; 2424 N. Davidson St.

Five hipster choices:
Vivace 1100 Metropolitan Ave.; 704-370-7755
Soul 1500 Central Ave.; 704-348-1848
Nolen Kitchen 2839 Selwyn Ave.; 704-372-1424
Andrew Blair’s 1600 Montford Drive; 704-525-8282
Yn; 1315 East Blvd., 704-343-0131

Ten spots that are classically “romantic” (a little dark, a little mysterious, and/or amazing decor, view or food):
Carpe Diem 1535 Elizabeth Ave.; 704-377-7976
Dolce 1710 Kenilworth Ave.; 704-332-7525
Barrington’s 7822 Fairview Road; 704-364-5755
Global 3520 Toringdon Way; 704-248-0866
Zebra 4521 Sharon Road; 704-442-9525
Luce 214 N. Tryon St.; 704-344-9222
McNinch House 511 N. Church St.; 704-332-6159
Bentley’s on 27 201 S. College St.; 704-343-9201
Pewter Rose 1820 South Blvd.; 704-332-8149
Passion8 Bistro 3415 Highway 51, Fort Mill, SC; 803-802-7455



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  1. Please include mention of GadoGado in Matthews, a great addition to the little town. While not normally open on Sundays, will be open on Valentine’s Day from 4:00 – 9:00 with great specials as well as regular menu. Regular menu has been changed to offer lower prices with same high quality food. One of my favorite places for warm, casual but fine dining!

  2. What about that Brazilian place downtown? We’ve been wanting to try it. Would it be good for kids?

    Andy Williams?

  3. Would you please let me know the name of the restaurant that was mentioned at the end of the show in Banner Elk, NC? Thx, Luara

  4. What was that tasty sounding roast chicken & garlic recipe?

    • Shepard: Take a 3-4 pound chicken and wash and rub liberally with olive oil, then season. Separate about 5 heads of garlic into cloves, but don’t peel them — just rub off as much of the extra papery part as you can. Put chicken and garlic into an olive-oiled roasting pan with a lid, along with sprigs of whatever fresh herbs you like: rosemary, thyme, whatever. (Stick a few in the chicken cavity, too, along with a lemon cut in half, if you have one.)

      Make a dough of flour and water — use about 2 cups of flour and add just enough water to make it kneadable. Seal the roasting pan with a coil of the dough.

      Roast at 325 for about 90 minutes for a 3-pounder. Bring your guest(s) to the kitchen. Remove the pan from oven and crack off the dough, then remove the pan lid with a flourish: A cloud of garlic perfume will emerge. Remove chicken and let rest on a cutting board for about 20 minutes while you serve another glass of wine, slice a baguette and spoon the now-soft-and-spreadable garlic cloves into a bowl for passing, and toss the salad. Carve chicken and serve.

  5. Meskerem sounded interesting so I tried to get more information online. Their website is no longer operational and their phone has been disconnected. Could it be that they are no longer in business?

    • It is possible, Linda — I just tried to call and also got a disconnect message. Horrific! I’ll ask Erin to remove it from this list. Thanks for the update!

  6. I missed some of the show so I did not hear what some good economical choices are for a romantic outing. Any good recommendations?


  7. I prefer quieter settings, where I can actually hear my guest speaking to me. Something more quaint or subtle. Do you have any recommendations? It does n’t have to be for Valentine’s day. Thanks in advance.

    • For Mel: I’m a fan of less expensive places that have some significance to you as a couple. And you can make just about anything work in that context: A little pizza place because it reminds you of the pizza you split in college the night you met, etc., etc. Crepe Cellar, Pike’s and Amelie’s (info above) are all less-expensive options than upscale spots. Other good ideas are little ethnic-food places where you can curl up. Special deals — too many to list here — are on my blog; Google it or get there from Facebook (Helen Schwab on Dining).
      For GQ: Quiet spots are a rare commodity. RARE. Try Fig Tree, Carpe Diem, Luce, Dolce — can’t guarantee anything, since one table can ruin it for anyone, but I’ve had quiet meals at all of these… Hope it helps!

  8. Where did Mike Collins say hechad the best food he has ever tasted?

  9. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by CharlotteTalks: Valentine’s Edition. Charlotte’s leading food critics join us to explore romantic dining spots around the region, Friday.

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