Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mimosa Grill

What a fantastic weekend it has been!  I'll be back with a weekend wrap-up, but first, I wanted to share with you a delicious dinner from Saturday night.  Since moving to Charlotte, I've been eager to try so many of the fantastic restaurants I've read about.  Unfortunately, many of them don't quite fit the "resident-in-major-debt-with-a-very-small-salary" budget.  Fortunately, my parents were in town for the weekend, so it was the perfect opportunity to enjoy a special meal.  After some intense research and menu comparisons, we selected Mimosa Grill in Uptown.

Mimosa Grill features "global cuisine with a unique southern twist."  The restaurant prides itself on the "farm to fork" concept and is "dedicated to artisans, farmers, and craftsmen whose passion for food creates the finest ingredients possible.

Little did we know, the Charlotte Pride Festival was going on this weekend, and it just so happened to be occurring in the street directly in front of the restaurant.  I'll leave the visuals to your imagination, but let's just say it wasn't the quiet and peaceful ambiance I had envisioned for the evening.

After our waiter rattled off a few specials, we selected the "Trio of Appetizers" to begin our meal.  It included Carolina Lump Crabcakes with Crispy Fingerling Chips and Grilled Red Onion Salad, Pan Roasted PEI Mussels, and  Stuffed Georgia Hushpuppies with Rock Shrimp, Crawfish, and Creamed Leeks.  Based on the description, we assumed it would be a small sample size portion of each appetizer.  Needless to say, we were a bit shocked when this arrived at our table!  All three dishes were delicious and a great start to our meal.

For our main courses, we elected to combine salads and small plates rather than order a traditional entree.  

Dad's Selections:  South Carolina Mixed Greens Salad + Low Country Shrimp and Grits
Compared to the other dishes, this was very disappointing.  Rather than shrimp and grits highlighting the dish, it was instead a pile of peppers, greens, and  overpowering sauce with 3 tiny shrimp and a spoonful of grits.
Mom's Selections:  Hydrocress and Strawberry Salad + Fennel Sausage and Fresh Ricotta Pizza
Absolutely delicious!.  Perfectly seasoned sausage (without the normal greasiness that I despise), creamy ricotta, and flavorful tomato sauce.
My Selections:  Seafood Gumbo + Roasted Wild Mushrooms
Very tasty soup and chock full of seafood.  Unfortunately, it was insanely rich and I only ate  a few spoonfuls before opting to save the rest for an easy microwaved meal later in the week.
The sauteed mushrooms were seasoned with garlic, shallots, rosemary, and thyme.    I'd consider this side dish to be only average.  While tasty, for $9 I expected a mix of wild mushrooms rather than purely plain jane white button mushrooms.
The service overall was good.  The courses were well spaced and food arrived promptly, yet without feeling rushed.  Our server, however, left something to be desired.  His specials "speech" seemed forcibly memorized and he never once made eye contact with us, choosing instead to talk towards the ceiling.

So, do you want the final verdict?  A unique menu with many highlights and a couple low-lights. I'd definitely be back for the flatbread pizza, and  would be interested in trying several other items on the menu that sounded tasty. However, despite many of the glowing reviews I read, I'm not so sure I'd agree that it's one of Charlotte's best restaurants.  The Cowfish and 131 Main still hold that spot in my belly!

Overall a delicious meal that we all enjoyed!  Thanks Mom and Dad for treating me! 

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