Thursday, January 5, 2012

Beef & Bottle

Beef & Bottle opened in 1958 on South Boulevard in Charlotte. The outside looks unassuming, but once inside, it immediately presents itself as an old-fashioned, classic steakhouse. There’s both a front and rear entrance, leading into a dark dining room with 8 foot ceilings, and black and white photos of celebrities hang on wooden walls. I immediately loved this atmosphere, and felt like I would see Don Corleone sitting in the back booth. 

Waiting for us on our table was a basket of crackers and a delicious cheese spread – a sharp cheddar cheese whiz, if you will. This was a departure from the usual bread and butter freebie, but a nice change. After our server offered us a sample of a Coppola Cabernet Sauvignon (I never pass up a sample of wine!), we chose a 2009 Kendall Jackson Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. We surpassed the appetizer special, Prime Rib Chili (which sounded crazy good!) for Oysters Rockefeller. Four large oysters on the half-shell were topped with sautéed spinach and parmesan cheese, and were beautifully presented on a bed of sea salt, a tip of the hat to the oysters’ former home.

I asked for a special order, which wasn’t listed on the menu, to which the server said “no problem.” I had a 6 ounce Filet Mignon and 6 Scallops, all cooked perfectly. Though an overcooked onion ring topped my filet, the steak was extremely tender, and every bite was lusciously juicy. The scallops were dusted with breadcrumbs, and served in a dish with butter and herbs. 

There were a generous number of sides to choose from, and each entrée came with two options, so I was able to sample quite a few! Baked Potato toppings were vast and came on the side. Unfortunately, the Baked Sweet Potato was overcooked, thus having the consistency of mashed sweet potatoes. The asparagus was shoestring-skinny, and while it had a good flavor, was difficult to cut because it was so limp. Without a doubt, the Sautéed Mushrooms were the star side – button mushrooms sautéed with wine, butter, garlic and worcestershire made for salty and flavorful mushrooms – the best I’ve ever had. The money bite was a piece of filet drenched in the mushroom juice…succulent! 

The restaurant orders all their desserts from a bakery in Uptown Charlotte, but their signature dish is Apple Pie with Cinnamon Ice Cream. I had to indulge. The ice cream was velvety, and the cinnamon flavor was a perfect match to the flaky crust and large apple chunks. I would have liked one more scoop, though!

The festive atmosphere and upscale cuisine make Beef and Bottle a prime location for an outstanding dinner and evening.

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