Feast Friday
This is the day that I get to pour over all of the wonderful food out there. Although I am no food connoisseur, I do love it, and I love writing about it.

This Saturday kicks off Restaurant Week here in Charlotte, and that, my friend, is a beautiful thing. For 30 bucks a person, you get 3 courses at some of Charlotte’s best restaurants. Pop over to the website to see the menu choices from nearly 60 places. Get the most for your money by going way upscale, or better yet, choose an independently owned restaurant or one with local ingredients and help out your local restauranteur or farmer. Here are my picks:

Location: Elizabeth Ave.
Why: The owner Trey Wilson also works in the kitchen as the executive chef. He is a Charlotte native, and was trained in Charlotte, except for his internships in Asheville and Charleston. Customshop is committed to using organic foods from local farms where possible.
What I’d order:
Starter:Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Shrimp & Brown Butter
Entrée: Beef Short Rib with Black Kale & Caramelized Cipollini Onions and Skillet Brussels Sprouts
Dessert: Dark Chocolate Pate with Pistachio Shortbread

Copper Restaurant
Location: East Blvd.
Why: Owner Pannu Singh opened this Charlotte returant after he saw that there was an interest in Indian food in Charlotte. His concept is to use all traditional Indian ingredients, but bring the preparation and presentation into the 21st century. He is an innovator. His other successful Indian resturant Nawab is in Roanoke, Virginia, and he commutes back and forth. Despite his success, the guy is really humble too, which makes me want to visit even more. In a Charlotte Buisness Journal interview, he cited his toughest decision as:
“Choosing and hiring the right people, Copper’s greatest asset.” He named his mentor as: “Mel Oza, our consultant chef and wine director.”
What I’d order:
Starter: Radish/Pineapple/Romaine Salad with Boondi, Sesame Seeds, Coconut and Mustard Seeds Dressing
Entrée: Junglee Khumbh Musallam, Curry Braised Portobello Mushroom, Shalgam-Gajar Mash, Chive Dahi
Dessert: Trail Mix Halwa, Rasmalai Sauce, Marinated Pear Sticks

Sonoma Modern American Cuisine
Location: Tryon Street, Uptown
Why: Originated in uptown Charlotte on Tryon Street in the Bank of America Corporate Center (A.K.A., wear your nicest diggs). The Sonoma umbrella now includes three restaurants, all in Charlotte. They use ingredients from small family farms and fresh, sustainable seafood, as they say “in hopes of preventing further jeopardy to the structure and function of affected ecosystems.”
What I’d order:
Starter: Mediterranean Romaine Salad with feta cheese, Greek olives, and a thyme vinaigrette
Main: Caramelized N.C. Flounder with organic garlicky greens, roasted turnips, marcona almond vin. and potato fantasy
Dessert: Changes daily

Resturant Week runs from January 24th until 30th, 2009. My boyfriend will be working restaurant week in its entirety at one of those 60 restaurants, so uhh, anyone want to go out to dinner…

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