Aria

100 N Tryon St. Charlotte, NC 28202(704) 376-8880 • ariacharlotte.com

 15174_1371521906

Depending on how you enter you might have two entirely different impressions of the décor. From the street it’s very nice. Heavily influenced by Craft in New York City I’m guessing. But if you cut through the Bank of America building, the entrance from that side is very unfortunate as you enter through a rather unappealing indoor mall, with an even lesser appealing entrance to the restaurant.

But either way, once you sit down, you are in for a treat. The menu really has some wowsers on it. At the top of those wowsers would be the lamb shank with tallegio polenta. Three of my favorite things one plate, served moist and stanky. I regrettably offered to share so I only had about half of it, but at least it afforded me the opportunity to sample a number of other dishes.

A very close second to the lamb was the fettuccine carbonara with pancetta. Perfectly done and as good as any place I’ve ever had it. Highly recommend it as a shared dish, because it’s as rich as the bankers on the floors above.

And speaking of rich, the peanut butter and chocolate dessert was another crowd-pleaser. And I don’t usually dig on peanut butter desserts, but this one was undeniable.

Other highs would be the scallop crudo. Very fresh, with a nice touch of heat to complement the sweetness of the mollusk. The salmon entrée. And the Crostada, which was basically a blackberry crumble.

From there the drop off to goodsville was steady, marked by a rib eye special which was a touch too fatty to be great, the NY strip, which was too hyped and too overcooked to live up to the hype and a kale salad that was, well, a kale salad.

And while there were a few misses, none of them were severe. For example, the gnocci with pear and prosciutto was great if you had a bite with all three ingredients at once. The problem is that it’s served with only enough of everything to do that for about five or six bites and then you’re left stranded with a bunch of boring potato dumplings.

Another hyped miss was the eggplant parmesan. It was honestly nothing better than you’d get at an Olive Garden for half the price. And same goes for the Tiramisu.

But after so many highs, it’s hard to complain too much about the food. Service, on the other hand, is definitely worth picking on. They simply aren’t up to the caliber of food they are serving. They are too slow and disorganized for such a seemingly high-end experience that boasts touches like a table in the kitchen and a wine list with bottles north of $500. All they need to do is weld the back entrance shut and hire new waiters and Aria would easily reach a full four knives, but as of now, I’m going with a strong 3.5.

3 teeth

Advertisements

Beaudevin

Charlotte-Douglas International Airport 5501 R C Josh Birmingham Pkwy Charlotte, NC28208(704) 359-4318

l-1

For an airport restaurant I would say you would be hard-pressed to find better. The wine by the glass was surprisingly good (Pinot Noir). And the tapas style small plates kept wowing one after another. From the prosciutto & melon to the cheese plate to the caprese skewers, to the bread plate and olives. The only average ones were the shrimp cocktail and the humus. Not bad mind you, just not up to par with their small plate siblings.

And as for the salad mains, I did the grilled artichoke. A solid good. The creamy whipped goat made for a nice complement to the peppery arugula.

Oh, and our server was awesome. Quick, friendly and without writing anything down she didn’t forget a single order from the 6 people in our party.

4 teeth

5Church

127 N Tryon St. Ste 8 Charlotte, NC 28202(704) 919-13225church.com

-1

From the moment you walk in the door you feel like you might be in NYC as opposed to NC. The décor and energy are both great. Modern industrial with very unique lighting fixtures, a bit of a brocade vibe and the entire novel “The Art of War” is written in chalk on the ceiling- presumably not to be outdone by Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.

Service was good. And the food impressive, depending on what you got. So choose wisely. Here’s a list to help you do just that…

First, the starters. Skip the jerk chicken lettuce wraps. They do not live up to the heat of their Jamaican roots. The wedge salad is a solid good. But the perogies were my favorite. Nothing was sensational, however, just yet.

But the lamb burger, now that’s a different story. So well seasoned with a complex blend of herbs and spices. The cheese. The bun. It was excellent. The fries were also pretty great, but less fry-like and more like a 2×4 of potato. And the sauce they give you to dip them in is a beautiful aioli of flavors. I put it on my burger too.

As for dessert, completely skip the Peanut Butter cake. Not worth it. And the Banana Pudding is just okay. But the S’More- ohh the s’more.  It’s campfire heaven in a glass.

So, 5 Church gets 3 knives. A touch hit and miss, with a slight edge going to the hits.

3 teeth