The newest addition to Charlotte’s dining scene, Block and Grinder officially opened on March 18, 2013. Located at the corner of Providence Road and S Sharon Amity (where Panda Express was formerly located at 2935 Providence Road), the Cotswold area hot spot is headed up by Jed Kampe, the former owner of NY Butcher Shop on Selwyn and Chef Kent Graham who has previously worked at the famed French Laundry and the prestigious Plaza Hotel.
Block and Grinder’s menu focuses mostly on locally sourced meats, wild game and burgers and while eating local is not necessarily a new concept with all the farm-to-fork restaurants popping up, the idea of a steak being cut-to-order and burgers being made from beef that is ground fresh several times a day from the on-site butcher counter is a fresh idea not necessarily found anywhere else in the Queen City. Customers can also savor Block and Grinder steaks and meats at home by buying from the butcher shop as well as purchasing a nice bottle of wine from the retail wine area to pair with dinner.
Prior to opening, the management team hosted several tasting dinners intended to solicit opinions from prospective customers so that they could do any necessary tweaking to the menu before opening day. My dining companion and I attended the last tasting and were of the opinion that Block and Grinder had fine-tuned things to the point of offering nothing but fantastic, high-quality, real food.
From the appetizer section, the Deviled Eggs with Goat Cheese and Prosciutto were rich and creamy and the combination made it clear that these weren’t the same deviled eggs that your grandma takes to her Sunday potluck. We also enjoyed the Smoked Berkshire Ribs with the legendary North Carolina based Cheerwine barbeque sauce. You’ll find a poached egg atop the Frisee Salad and the Farmer’s Market Salad was dressed with just the right amount of basil vinaigrette. The only thing we felt was amiss was a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper but that was easily rectified by our server. The Springer Mountain Chicken was nearly fork tender and served over a bed of sweet potato, arugula and onion hash. There was one small bite of the hash left as our server came to collect the plates and I was so tempted to deny him access until I had licked the plate clean. Having a hard time deciding which steak to order, my friend was very happy with her choice of Hanger Steak with Pommes Frites and side of homemade mac & cheese. The dessert menu is simple and only offers a few choices, which is perfect considering that you should be nearly satiated from dinner. Between the choice of Cranberry Orange Bread Pudding or Earl Gray Crème Brulee, the crème brulee won hands down with its delicate balance of flavors.
It is refreshing to see a restaurant focus on quality rather than quantity and source locally versus purveying food from the cheapest or easiest source. Block and Grinder’s menu cannot necessarily be described as “healthy” but it is “real” food and not processed, from a box or frozen. Block and Grinder promotes healthier and higher standard of eating by opting for natural, organic and free-range meats and seasonally fresh vegetables from local farms.
Best of luck to the Block and Grinder team! Open for lunch and dinner, visit their website for a preview of their menu and contact them at 704-364-2100 for their current hours of operation.