Charlotte · Restaurants

Midwood Smokehouse in Charlotte

midwood sigh

My husband and I visited the Midwood Smokehouse today and we were so so so happy.  So happy.  This is huge.  Because I’m not crazy about barbecue.  I was trying to be nice when I agreed to go.  But lord-have-mercy…it was good.

Inside is pretty hip.  Lots of metal pig memorabilia, waitresses wearing “Bacon” socks and general “characters” waiting tables and eating here.  I loved just sitting in the booth and looking around.  All while smelling that delicious smoky smell.

We started off our meal with a watermelon margarita and a beer.  Normally I skip cocktails, but the waiter changed my mind by telling me this one was made with real watermelon (not some mix!).  Sure enough, it tasted very refreshing, and not to sweet at all despite the sugar on the rim of the glass.

midtown smoke 4

The Cuban sandwich was the menu item that immediately drew my attention.  In fact, once I saw it, I stopped looking.  The pressed sandwich is chock full of sliced ham, barbecued pork, Swiss cheese and topped with mustard, lettuce and tomato.  I had never had a Cuban with the lettuce and tomato, and next time I’ll leave those off.  The bread got so flat and crispy in the pressing, and the barbecue pork taking the place of a sliced pork cutlet lent a smokiness to the sandwich.  I chose macaroni and cheese as my side and it was creamy  and cheesy topped with a crusty coating of baked cheese.  It was the best macaroni and cheese I’d ever had at a restaurant.  How about that?

midtown smoke 2

The hubs got the beef brisket plate, mixed.  That means it was half lean meat and half fatty meat.  I can appreciate that fat is needed to make meat tender, juicy and flavorful, but I’m no fan of fatty meat.  That said, he left me have a bite of his lean brisket and it was so tender, so juicy and flavorful…I was thankful for the fatty pieces lying around it.  The barbecue sauce is tangy and tomato-y.  I also detected a bit of beer in it?  He chose the baked beans as his side and they were baked with the same barbecue sauce that came on the plate for dipping.  A few candied bits of meat  had made their way into the beans, too.  Seriously, perfection.

midtown smoke brisket

Really love this place.  And did you notice the china this meal is served on?  Funky, punky décor, cool waiters and staff, and then grandma’s china.  I’m in love.  Go.

Midwood Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

Charlotte · Restaurants

Bistro La Bon in Charlotte

Bistro la Bon describes itself as humble, or at least describes its location as such, but to my way of thinking it couldn’t be more wrong.  When you walk in, you are immediately immersed in the modern decor and realize that this is a place where the hip come to play.  The chef, Majid Amoorpour, has over 20 years of cooking experience he brings from all over the world.  You’ll find menu items from many different countries represented.

When we arrived, we had to wait in the bar for about 10 minutes while they got our table ready.  I had a reservation, but 10 minutes wasn’t that big of a deal.  The bar was active and full of boisterous people, so could be an exciting time for those who like such an atmosphere.  Me, being a killjoy, found them loud and obnoxious.  It happened to be a large party, which proved to be loud and obnoxious even in the dining area, but that isn’t Bistro’s fault.  Just a personal note 🙂

Tomato Bisque
Tomato Bisque

But the fooooooood more than made up for the noisy atmosphere of a few toasted diners.  We began our meal with tomato bisque and a shrimp and cornbread appetizer.  The tomato bisque was creamy and smooth, with a velvety tomato flavor with just a hint of basil.  It was the perfect cup of soup.

Shrimp with Cornbread
Shrimp with Cornbread

The shrimp with cornbread was a small plate (tapas) and utterly perfect.  The shrimp were plump and perfectly seasoned in this spicy sauce with shallots and garlic and the cornbread was sweet and moist.  I wish I could make an entree out of it!

Fish with Capers
Fish with Lentils

For my entree, I ordered the pan seared fish with lentils.  I am desperately trying to remember what kind of fish it is, but all I can tell you is it was delicious.  Perfectly tender and flaky, and the sauce was light yet tangy.  The lentils were also flavorful and soft.

Airline Chicken
Airline Chicken

Dustin had the airline chicken, which was glazed with a cherry sauce and set atop a bed of couscous.  He said it was the most tender chicken he’d eaten.  Couscous is not usually my favorite, but this was spiced perfectly and savory.

Vanilla Bean Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta  with Seasonal Fruits & Berries
Vanilla Bean Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta
with Seasonal Fruits & Berries

Dustin got the Panna Cotta for dessert.  It was merely a vanilla custard accomapanied by stewed fruits and some whipped cream.  I found it not decadent enough, but Dustin found it light and refreshing.  I think this dessert will appeal to those who don’t have much of a sweet tooth.  My dessert was miles better.

Bourbon Brioche Bread Pudding  with Caramel Sauce & Vanilla Ice Cream
Bourbon Brioche Bread Pudding
with Caramel Sauce & Vanilla Ice Cream

Oh, here it is!  This bread pudding is the best I’ve had.  Creamy and warm, a perfect set up for the cold, intensely vanilla ice cream and the sweet, buttery caramel sauce.  I have no idea what the little crunchies were on the side, but yeah, I gobbled them, too.  A perfect end to a perfect evening!

Bistro La Bon on Urbanspoon