Charlotte's biannual Restaurant Week, dubbed the Queen's Feast, gets underway for ten days, January 18-27, 2013. Over 100 area restaurants are participating, among them some of Charlotte's finest dining gems, with cuisine created by the city's top chefs. As always, the Queen's Feast presents a unique opportunity to try a variety of Charlotte's best food, for just $30 per person for a three or four course meal.
The Savannah Red Restaurant and Wine Bar, located inside the Charlotte Marriott City Center, is a spot often overlooked by diners, but its executive chef, Jean-Pierre Marechal, is considered one of the city's finest, the winner of several awards from the local chapter of the American Culinary Federation. The James Beard Foundation called his menu "some of the boldest food in Charlotte." For the Queen's Feast, Marechal is offering a salad of warm Brussels sprouts and chanterelle mushrooms, smoked duck breast or his signature "New South" shrimp and grits, among other dishes, finished off with his famous Krispy Kreme bread pudding.
The Speedway Club, overlooking Charlotte Motor Speedway, also has an ACF Chef of the Year award-winner at the helm, Executive Chef Michael Rosen. His Queen's Feast menu features a number of his finest dishes, in addition to stunning views of the action on the track.
At Bernardin's at Ratcliffe, Chef Freddy Lee recreates the menu made famous at his Bernardin's Restaurant in Winston-Salem, considered a five-star dining experience. In addition to several nice menu choices, Queen's Feasters get to dine in one of the loveliest dining rooms in the city, the historic Ratcliffe Florist building on South Tryon. Don't miss the Tuna Tartare, if you like spicy.
Executive Chef Gene Briggs is one of the city's top chefs, winning numerous awards over the years for his Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. This Queen's Feast features two restaurants with menus designed by Briggs: Blue Restaurant and Bar in Uptown, and the trendy Osso Restaurant and Lounge in the NC Music Factory complex. Blue's Queen's Feast menu includes Briggs' famous chicken tangine and a bison osso buco, while the Italian influence is strong at Osso which offers a pork osso buco, veal scallopini marsala, and linguine with lobster, shrimp, and clams. The desserts at both restaurants are some of the best in the city.
The Italian dishes of Executive Chef Gabriele Grigolon are featured at Luce Ristorante e Bar in the Hearst tower. A native of Torino, Italy, Grigolon has created a Queen's Feast menu featuring classics from the Italian Piedmont, including a cheesy polenta, braised oxtail ragu, and traditional panna cotta, among many other choices.
In the Arboretum area, enjoy classic Southern dishes with a twist, created by long-time Charlotte chef Chris Edwards at his New South Kitchen and Bar. The menu includes fried green tomatoes, N.C. shrimp and grits, and bacon-wrapped trout atop Carolina Gold heritage rice.
Chef Tom Condron pioneered fine dining and locally sourced foods in Charlotte during his lengthy employment as head of the Harpers Group of restaurants. Now he has his own spot, The Liberty Gastropub, where he creates casual, fun food that surfs the ever-changing waves of dining trends. His Queen's Feast menu includes nose-to-tail dishes such as pad thai pig ears and lamb pho noodles, an Irish-inspired butcher steak, chicken and waffles, and a New England lobster roll.
Down on the state line, Chef Luca Annunziata and his wife Jessica operate Passion8 Bistro, considered one of the top restaurants in Charlotte (despite its actual location in Fort Mill, SC). Annunziata is a veteran of some of Europe's top venues and creates a constantly changing menu based on the best ingredients of the season.
In addition to the local talent, Charlotte is a magnet for celebrity chefs (the kind you see on TV) as well. Emeril Lagasse, a Food Network star, opened e2 emeril’s eatery in the Levine Center for the Arts, hoping to kick local cuisine-and his bottom line-up a notch. During the Queen's Feast, you can sample his New-Orleans style gumbo, shrimp and grits, espresso pudding, and more. The dishes are all from e2's regular dinner menu, and represent quite a value at $30 for the three-course meal.
For more new restaurants participating in the 2013 Queen's Feast, see our companion article:
You can find menus for all the participating restaurants on the Queen's Feast website, along with special offers, parking suggestions, and other details. Reservations are highly suggested.
We've published several other articles on past Queen's Feasts, and have updated them for 2013. Check these links: