An avid hiker and camper, Chef Chris Coleman says the new menu’s “campfire” theme plays off his childhood memories of fall. “Smoke, embers, warmth and comfort are part of this menu, and we use North Carolina’s signature fall ingredients as a backdrop,” he says.
We chatted with Chef for a while about his food, kitchen, family and his favorite off-time things to do. Nice guy.
A few of us media types were invited to sample the new fare at a lovely, intimate dinner with personable Dunhill General Manager, John Beatty, at their newly remodeled restaurant, The Asbury. Welcomed with a sparkling Spanish ‘Gran Bach’ Cava, we settled in for an evening of tasting and culinary conversation focused on the new menu.
Chef is also now offering a larger selection of small plates at just the right price for sampling and sharing, from $6 to $9. The Snack Plate is back by popular demand, offering Coleman’s Deviled Eggs, House-Pickled Vegetables and BBQ Caramel Popcorn.
I LOVED every bit of the Snack Plate, mostly because of the flavors their pickling magician, a medical surgeon who loves to cook and moonlights in Asbury’s kitchen, was able to achieve while not loosing crispiness.
I didn’t see the BBQ Caramel Popcorn, but thought the house-made crackers served with the Snack Plate were perfect.
A Charcuterie Board with duck rillettes, chicken liver mousse and beef scrapple offered contemporary, bite-size parings of charcuterie with notes of fruit, pickled vegetables and spice. I thought it was going to be tough to top the Snack Plate. Not so tough after all. This plate took me to my happy place. I’ll have to share this with PIC next time we’re in Charlotte.
We ordered both small and large plates from the menu:
- Hoppin’ John made with Carolina Gold Rice, sea island red peas, smoked shitakes, leeks, peppers, and roasted tomatoes. If you’re not familiar with Hoppin’ John, Southerners traditionally eat it on New Year’s Day for good luck. Read more about Hoppin’ John here. According to the gal who ordered this, and she should know, it was a tasty rendition.
- Campfire Trout features trout from Sunburst Trout Farms in Canton, N.C. brined in smoked water and seared in cast iron. It comes with a cornbread mouse (slightly sweet and cloud-like), pickled greens, roasted tomatoes and potlikker vinaigrette. And yes, the potlikker is made from the greens. It arrived at the table cooked perfectly fork-tender and flaky.
- Charlotte Fish Co. Fresh Catch of the day, which will rename anonymous due to lack of notes, was also cooked well and was flavorful.
- The Ember-Roasted Pumpkin Salad was as beautiful to look at it as it was delicious. Fresh pumpkin had been painstakingly roasted, shaped and seasoned with a hint of spice. Crispy kale leaves, whipped ricotta and roasted red pepper complete this deconstructed salad. I’d recommend ordering this when you go to The Asbury. It’s fantastic! The luscious soft-roasted pumpkin is perfect with the earthy crunch of the kale leaves.
- Ooey Gooey Candy Bar is a play off the popular Goo-Goo® Cluster candy from Tennessee. House-made marshmallows, boiled peanuts and chocolate come together in a bite-size serving. This was so much fun and yummy, too. It reminded me of a s’more given the campfire theme. Just know the paper wrapping is not edible.
- Brown Butter and Thyme Pound Cake with Apples was the final sweet finish to our evening. A slice of pound cake was served in a small cast-iron skillet with smoky sweet potato puree, salted sorghum mousse and apple garnishes (think apple butter, apple chips, and apple leather).
About The Asbury: The Asbury is named in honor of Louis Asbury, Sr., the Charlotte architect who in 1929 designed the Mayfair Manor—now The Dunhill Hotel. The modern, Southern restaurant is under the direction of Executive Chef Chris Coleman. Coleman’s cuisine is inspired by his Southern roots, the rich agricultural offerings of the region and the culturally diverse community of the New South.
Hours and Parking: The Asbury is located at 235 North Tryon St. in uptown Charlotte and is open daily, 11 am to 10 pm Monday through Friday and 9 am to 10 pm on Saturday and Sunday. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm. Parking in the Fifth/Third deck behind The Dunhill Hotel at West 6th Street is complimentary for restaurant guests for up to two hours; bring your ticket into the restaurant. For more information, visit: www.theasbury.com. Follow The Asbury on Twitter: https://twitter.com/asburydunhill and on Facebook www.facebook.com/theasbury.