Ballantyne Magazine

FALL 2012

Ballantyne Magazine covers news, events, real estate, restaurants, shopping, health, schools and business in the upscale Ballantyne Area of Charlotte, NC.

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Page 66 of 99

Fresh Approach New South Kitchen & Bar Gives Favorite Dishes Enticing Twists By Amy Rogers, Photos by Ray Sepesy AN HEIRLOOM TOMATO ISN'T ALWAYS THE SHOWIEST one on the shelf, but the enjoyment to be found inside its humble skin can surprise and delight you. New South Kitchen & Bar is a lot like that tomato; its location at a suburban shopping center doesn't begin to hint at the pleasures within. "The menu is strongly 'ingredient driven,'" explains Chris Edwards, who owns and operates the restaurant with his wife, Sue. "People want something new that feels familiar, so we play up what's local. We can add a twist to a dish — or add a new ingredient." He cites an example: "Now, people are willing to try pork belly, but it's been on the menu for over a year." A chalkboard at the entrance to the comfortable dining room displays the names of the farms in Waxhaw, Weddington, Lincolnton and Mooresville that provide local ingredients. Another placard lists the independent breweries supplying beers and ales. Rather than offering appetizers and entrees, the menu sorts items according to size. "Small Plate" selections number about a dozen. Pulled pork spring rolls show off their spiciness when teamed with a piquant green tomato chow-chow. A romaine salad that's grilled is a nice variation. And there are two cheese offerings: a more traditional artisanal plate that arrives with nuts, fruit and crostini, and the cleverly modern "Redneck Cheeseboard" featuring house-made pimento cheese. "Big Plates" showcase time-honored favorites such as shrimp and grits, fried chicken and grilled sirloin with a red-wine demi-glace. Some dishes proudly boast that "new twist" Chris described: A bacon-wrapped trout is accompanied by stewed butter beans and orange-fennel slaw. A bountiful salad of local greens, apples, country ham, and chicken takes on extra Southern attitude when crispy fried okra jumps into the mix. Desserts are simple and straightforward. Since good blueberries are easy to get most of the year, fried blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream is a mainstay. So is chocolate mousse. But recently Sue experimented with a red velvet cake so mouth- watering that the family is urging her to put it on the menu. She also develops the restaurant's wine list, along with a pleasing selection of creative cocktails that are served in the pleasantly lit bar. A "Dirty Blue Bird" or "Yahoo Martini," anyone? Longtime Charlotteans may remember the Edwards family's earlier restaurant, Dakota's. Although it operated successfully for years, customers would typically wait for a special occasion to visit. So in the summer of 2007, the owners decided to close, re-tool, and re-open as the more relaxed New South Kitchen & Bar. "We took the old and made it new," says Chris. FALL 2012 Fried blueberry pie with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream is a popular dessert. New South Kitchen & Bar offers casual, contemporary dining in the Arboretum Shopping Center. BALLANTYNE MAGAZINE 65

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