Most of you may come from the school of the typical 3-course
dinner – salad, entrée, and dessert, right? Yeah…..that’s fun and all, but why
not dial it up waaaay past 11 and land on oh….I don’t know…8 courses and 4
craft cocktails paired throughout. Hey, that’s Charlotte, NC for you. We like
to party. An intimate gathering met at one of Charlotte’s latest farm-to-table
dining installments – Block & Grinder, for an Elite-Only dinner. Sigh~ the
absence of many +1’s may have been forlorn, but good, nay, great company was
found and enjoyed throughout this evening spent al fresco.
David A gives the
masses a schooling on this “offal” gathering – “First, offal refers to most
internal organs other than muscle and bone.” Chef Kent Graham isn’t afraid of
getting you out of your comfort zone, shaking you up a bit, and placing you at
the head of the table in his world. One look at the menu concocted for the
Charlotte Elites and your head will spin. Meredith
S admits, “The eight course meal really tested my bravery in trying new
foods,” and there were many triumphant declarations of “I just ate a pig’s
ear!” From pigs ears, chicken skins,
sweetbreads, and wild game meatloaf, this offal evening was awfully
Joining in the culinary fray was our friends from Tito’s
Vodka who were not shy about making a big splash on the scene. Splash indeed.
Splash a little Anaheim pepper-infused
syrup, passion fruit, and Tito’s for good measure – BAM! You’ve got
yourself a Chupacabra! A spicy, peppery, sweet, tangy, and vibrantly colored
cocktail. 4 cocktails of equal and unique caliber made their way from
bartending magicians of Block & Grinder, Kyle and crew, onto the tables
with every two courses. Chad E gives
some insight – “Chupacabra for the win. This was no goat sucker, but there was
plenty of sucking here, and not due to poor flavor. Nay, it was from everyone sucking their ice cubes to get every last
drop.” Bravo, Tito’s and Block & Grinder’s impeccable bar staff for
boozing up the crowd in the tastiest way imaginable.
Course 4….then 5…oh, dear….7….then, the 8th and
final course of the evening. You see, Block & Grinder happens to be
juxtaposed to one of Charlotte’s finest of chocolate purveyors – The Secret
Chocolatier. Our fearless Elites were up for anything else that was to be
thrown at them and these chocolate masters produced a wonderfully plated
dessert for each guest. Emily P handily recalls the confection – “Chocolate mousse, orange infused whipped
cream served in a chocolate shell on raspberry and chocolate sauce” paired
with the orange-laden “Snowbird” cocktail. On top of dessert, our Elites were
also adorned with their very own pair of “Elite Socks.” Whispers were heard
throughout the patio of plans to sport them proudly at the gym and elsewhere.
Sock it to em’, intrepid Yelpers!
gives a nice synopsis of Block & Grinder’s approach – “Chef Kent Graham was
adorable because you could sense the passion and effort he pours into each and
every dish. He takes pride in what he does and wants his customers to
have a fabulous experience.” The evening was nothing short of unforgettable.
With a high glass raised (most likely filled with a stellar Tito’s cocktail),
cheers to Block & Grinder, Tito’s Vodka, The Secret Chocolatier, and our
pink-haired friend, Poprock Photography, for delievering and capturing an
evening that will be placed in the Yelp record books.
Check out the rest of the reviews here.
Until next time,
Ben G – Yelp Charlotte Community Manager