fahrenheit

Fahrenheit

Fahrenheit Charlotte crowned the Queen City with the best view when it opened its doors in March 2014. To see the skyline from above, head Uptown to the Hyatt Place Hotel and ride the elevator 21 floors up to Charlotte’s first and only open-air restaurant and bar. Nearly every seat provides a 360-degree view that complements the culinary creations of James Beard-nominated owner-chef Rocco Whalen and Executive Chef Dave Feimster. Outside on the wraparound rooftop terrace, the bar serves cocktails imbued with local spirits, like Covington sweet potato vodka, and herbs from the rooftop kitchen herb garden. Stake out a spot by one of the terraces with a view of the glowing Duke Energy building and the setting sun as a backdrop for a metropolitan selfie.

222 South Caldwell Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
(980) 237-6718

McNinch House

Purple is Ellen Davis’s color. The Charlotte native, with red hair and sparkling blue eyes, wears purple like a uniform around the house — a Queen Anne-style Victorian home in Charlotte’s historic Fourth Ward neighborhood. If you want to pay her a visit, you’ll need to make a reservation. Davis’s home isn’t just any home. It’s the McNinch House, an acclaimed restaurant that occupies the entire first floor of her residence. Each evening, Davis plays hostess to a dinner party complete with chandeliers and jacketed waiters, who deliver classics like she-crab soup, duck breast, and filet mignon plated on an elegant array of pieces from Davis’s personal china collection.

511 North Church Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 332-6159

Lumière 

High-backed booths lined with crushed blue velvet greets diners for a French experience at Lumière. More luxury follows. Fresh-baked bread — baguettes and mini-boules — arrives with every course. Fawning waiters sauce filet of sole tableside, and a brigade of toque-wearing chefs serves patrons shameless portions of foie gras. Chef and co-owner Tom Condron openly champions the merits of butter here, creating classic dishes with modern touches that could easily pass for abstract art. The French don’t take their meals lightly. The same goes for Lumière, where dining is an event.

1039 Providence Road
Charlotte, NC 28207
(704) 372-3335

Passion8

Behind satin drapes, ringside seats await 10 lucky diners in the private enclave of Passion8’s chef’s table. The glittering space, outfitted with champagne-colored chairs, custom marble tabletop, and a chandelier of blown glass, is reminiscent of a scene from The Great Gatsby. The opulence is a precursor to the action just 10 feet away: Behind floor-to-ceiling panes of glass, Chef Luca Annunziata plies his craft so near that diners may catch a playful wink from him as he plates squid ink risotto.

1523 Elizabeth Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28204
(704) 910-3161

Bonterra 

Pass through the century-old church doors into the vaulted space of Bonterra’s main dining room, and head toward the back set of stairs leading underground. As you move into the basement of this former church, the sounds of diners and clinking wine glasses falls away. A door marked with “The Cave” opens into Bonterra’s private dining room, where a table for 12 is the centerpiece of this grotto-like space that’s the perfect temperature for the collection of reserve wines stacked in neat rows along the wall.

1829 Cleveland Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28203
(704) 333-9463

Heirloom 

If you’re looking for the elephant ears that 28-year-old chef Clark Barlowe peeled and blanched for a pho-like soup yesterday at Heirloom restaurant, they’re probably long gone. Not to worry. The Johnson & Wales graduate has the massive leaf on tonight’s tasting menu wrapped around a filet of fish caught along the Carolina coast. Barlowe, who’s had stints in the kitchens of El Bulli — once claimed to be the best restaurant in the world — and the famed French Laundry in California, is a chef-forager who often uses unusual or unexpected ingredients in his dishes — yes, that’s caviar in his NC deviled eggs — that may or may not land on Heirloom’s daily 12-course tasting menu, which isn’t posted online until four hours before the doors open at 5 o’clock.

8470 Bellhaven Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28216
(704) 595-7710

Barrington’s

The consummate comfort food is found at Barrington’s in SouthPark: gnocchi decadently paired with rich veal stew. Chef Bruce Moffett transforms potato, flour, and eggs into soft pillows of perfection best enjoyed from a seat at the eight-person bar overlooking the chef’s window. Moffett says the perfect gnocchi is made by handling the tender dough as little as possible. The careful chef coddles the airy dumplings in a slow braise of veal stock, porcini mushrooms, red wine, and tomatoes.

7822 Fairview Road
Charlotte, NC 28226
(704) 364-5755

The Asbury

The sweet finale to a six-course tasting at The Asbury is a play on Cracker Jacks by Jossie Perlmutter, a 23-year-old pastry phenom. Her sophisticated interpretation consists of a peanut financier cake with caramel popcorn and peanut butter pastry cream, balanced with an apricot, white balsamic, and orange blossom puree, then finished with a quenelle of salted-caramel ice cream. Perlmutter’s talents make for an already memorable ending, but then, a surprise: Mignardise, sweet bites of chocolate pistachio shortbread, blackberries, and chocolate chantilly truffles arrive as a parting gift, tucked inside a wooden cheese box — the grandest of finales.

235 North Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 342-1193

Kindred (Davidson)

Sitting at the marble bar at Kindred restaurant, the newest addition to Main Street Davidson, a robin’s egg-colored enamel bowl swells with warm, yeasty milk bread, which is at once comforting and familiar, yet altogether new. Next comes a plate of fresh plums dressed with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt, the essence of the season. When a plate of charred romaine topped with ripe tomatoes arrives, doused with a generous splash of olio nuovo, it’s difficult not to cheer. The food at Kindred has that kind of power. In one moment, you’re reliving the fresh-baked bread of your childhood, and the next, you’re in the summer garden plucking fresh fruit from the vine.

131 North Main Street
Davidson, NC 28036
(980) 231-5000

Heritage Food & Drink (Waxhaw)

An exploration of tomatoes hits the table at Heritage Food & Drink, an array of reds that span from the intensity of a fire truck to the deep softness of a sunset. A bright concasse is paired with the concentrated flavor of roasted tomato puree. Tomato chips, made from dehydrated slices of the fruit, taste like candy, and tomato water consommé whispers summer. This is Paul Verica’s art — an expression of his love for the seasons transformed into a colorful melange of flavors and textures. The chef’s modern culinary creations are juxtaposed with the rattle of passing trains and the charms of small town Waxhaw. “I wanted to set myself apart,” says Verica. And he has, literally and figuratively.

201 West South Main Street
Waxhaw, NC 28173
(704) 843-5236

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Keia Mastrianni is freelance food writer living in Charlotte. You can find her work in Creative Loafing Charlotte, Edible Charlotte, SouthPark Magazine, Charlotte Magazine, Underbelly, The Local Palate and WFAEats.