Our dinner at Gallery was something I’m still shaking my head over. This experience elicited a response from both PIC and myself similar to that of General Lowenhielm’sÂ in the movie Babette’s Feast. By the way, if you haven’t seen this movie, you should. It’s a moving Danish film, especially for food lovers, subtitled in English.
The Ballantyne HotelÂ in Charlotte’s Southpark community is home to GalleryÂ restaurant. Gallery’s three distinct dining areas, each beautiful in their own way, anchor one end of the hotel. Pictured below is the main dining room, decorated with cool-toned fabrics and artwork evoking casual elegance. This works perfectly for diners who “dress” as well as hotel guests that pop in for lunch or dinner in more casual attire.
In contrast, the bar has a warm, club-like feel with rich wood paneling and more subdued fabrics and wall colors.
Third is an extensive Veranda which overlooks a pond and golf course. Just stunning. Gallery’s full menu is served on the Veranda as well as the bar menu.
Most responsible for what comes out of the kitchen are J. Kelly Morrow, Chef de Cuisine and Chef David Moore, Executive Sous Chef. These guys are working magic with their “farm-to-table inspired menu”.
PIC and I had dinner at Gallery when they were serving from their regular menu and their special 2011 Finalist Best Dish in NC menu. We decided to order different dishes and share tastes. Before we ordered, our server noticed what we were wearing and switched our white cloth napkins for black, so as not to get white lint on dark clothing.
Surprised with a fabulousÂ Tomato Consomme Amuse BoucheÂ with cucumber, basil, Chilian olive oil and microgreens, we weren’t disappointed with the clarity and deep tomato flavor you’d expect from these Chefs.
Popovers followed. Sometimes referred to as the American version of Yorkshire Pudding, popovers seem to be thought of most often as “sweet” and served as a dessert. They’re also served as “bread” with meals. Light and airy, take a look at the inside of this beauty.
Caramelized Vidalia Onion Soup ($8), detailed on the menu as “Focaccia crustini, Guinness soaked Gruyere cheese gratin”, arrived piping hot. It looks over-browned, but it wasn’t. Chalk it up to my camera settings, lighting, or both. The deceptive serving dish held more soup than you’d think. PIC was completely happy with this appetizer.
My appetizer didn’t have a specific name, but featured Chapel Hill Creamery Thunder Mountain Swiss cheese along with shaved Johnston County ham, toasted caraway sourdough bread and Hall Family strawberriesÂ garnished with microgreens for $10. Both the cheese and ham had strong, bold flavors which were tempered nicely by bread or strawberries.
For his entree, PIC ordered the “special”, a 6oz Filet with CrabÂ OscarÂ and Asparagus, topped with a cream sauce ($32). This dish could have been presented in a more visually pleasing way, but the filet and Crab Oscar were terrific and the asparagus was cooked “al dente perfect”.
I had two smaller-portioned dishes; Black Walnut Smoked Heritage Pork ($14) and Baucom’s Best Grass Fed Short Rib ($26). I know, I know. Over the top. Couldn’t be helped.
Boneless and topped with local blueberry and peach BBQ sauce, this short rib was placed on Old Mill of Guilford grits and included the perfect touch – a round of fried Looking Glass Creamery goat cheese.
There you have the three entrees we shared. This is when we took our first bites, looked across the table at each other and put our forks down. My eyes, crinkled from smiling, looked across the table and saw the same as if reflected in a mirror. This was THE moment we both knew – without speaking the words – this meal was exceptional. It was incredible how thoroughly infused with flavor each cut of meat was and how completely different each tasted. They were all fall-apart tender. Every single bite was savored; just meat (to be sure we weren’t imagining things) and meat mixed with various vegetables and sauces for texture and taste variety.
This was a true dining experience in every sense of the word and it’s not anÂ exaggerationÂ to say this was some of the best food I’ve ever tasted.
Just about everything on the menu the evening we were at Gallery was locally sourced.
Service was more than impeccable, if that’s possible. It looked like senior servers took turns acting as “captains” posted strategically for dining room oversight. Neither neglected or fussed over, our server casually passed by, checking our table regularly. Between courses he scraped the cloth, removing crumbs. This is the second or third place I’ve noticed employing that practice lately.
Gallery has a slew of culinary events: Scotch Society Tastings, Wine Society Tastings, Wine Dinners, General Wine Tastings, Afternoon Tea and qualityÂ Cooking Classes. View tasting details and prices here. View all upcoming events here.
Gallery has just won another Wine Spectator Award, is aÂ Best Dish North Carolina Consecutive Winner, has been awardedÂ Open Table Diner’s Choice Award and isÂ Charlotte’s only Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond Restaurant.
A 15% gratuity was added to our check. We bumped it up to 20%.
A private dining room, available for group use, is tucked away at the back of Gallery.
If you have time before or after dining at Gallery, take a walk through The Ballantyne. It’s beautiful.
Gallery at Ballantyne Hotel
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy
Charlotte, NC 28277