Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Flatiron Kitchen + Taphouse

When you walk into Flatiron Kitchen + Taphouse, you forget you’re in the small town of Davidson, North Carolina. The trendy restaurant sits at the corner of Main and South Streets in the community’s charming downtown, yet has a New York City vibe. Beautiful hardwood floors, an intricate ceiling design and a hexagonal bar surrounding a tall metallic beer tower fill this unique space.  My dinner companion and I both remarked on the size of the menu (rather small!), but Flatiron strives to use as many local and in-season ingredients as possible. Small world: the restaurant’s new Executive Chef, Thomas Marlow, led a cooking class I attended last fall at Mimosa Grill. As much as I enjoyed the food that day, I knew Flatiron’s cuisine would not let me down.

Flatiron offers a large beer selection – both North Carolina and out-of-state brews - but being that I watched the ACC games all weekend, I decided I’d had enough beer. Usually weary of Malbec wines, my companion suggested a 2010 Dona Paula Malbec; a very tasty start to our meal. When I read the description for Pan-Crisped NC Flounder, I had no idea how the numerous ingredients and flavors would work together: there was A LOT going on. The fish is served in a little pool of parsnip puree and goat cheese fondue - the latter being an awesome complement to the fish. Parsnips are similar to carrots but have a lighter color, so it was difficult to distinguish the puree from the goat cheese. The dish also features crushed pistachios, pickled red onions, grilled grapes, orange segments, avocado and arugula. I never would have thought to put all of these ingredients together! Needless to say, it was an explosion of flavors in my mouth, and the pickled red onions and orange segments really rounded out the dish nicely.

Low Country Shrimp & Grits features six shrimp (tail-on, oddly enough) in a Tasso ham and ale gravy with Andouille sausage over a stone ground white grit cake. The round cake form was lost under the velvety gravy, so it seemed like more of a risotto. The Andouille sausage played well with the Tasso ham (smoked pork, often featured in Cajun cuisine). Though it was a bit of a hassle to cut off the shrimp tales, the spicy, barbeque-y essence of the dish makes for a unique spin on a traditional Southern specialty.

Look no further than Flatiron Kitchen + Taphouse for a first date, birthday party or ladies’ night out. Its bustling atmosphere and daring cuisine definitely brightens up quiet Davidson. 

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