Get ready for Restaurant Week
Charlotte Restaurant Week runs Jan. 18-27, with three courses (or more) for $30 at more than 110 restaurants around the area.
You can peruse menus and make reservations at www.charlotterestaurantweek.com.
Some distinctions to watch for:
• Some places offer a bonus course, glass of wine or discounted bottles or glasses of wine. Typically, those are places with lower sticker prices on the food, but not always.
• If you’re a bargain hunter, you’ll want to pull up the place’s menu; links to restaurants’ websites are conveniently located on each restaurant’s page within the Restaurant Week site. Some places include signature dishes and regular menu items in the three-for-$30 lineup; some do off-menu dishes. Some do smaller versions of what’s on the regular menu (check steak weights, in particular).
• Some places let you mix and match from their entire regular menus, which is the most efficient way to see if you’d want to become a regular customer. (Lots of people do the three-for-$30 as a novelty, a reason to go somewhere they haven’t been before. Others do it for the bargain angle. But some really are auditioning a new regular destination.)
Growlers Pourhouse now has its own “house oyster”: It’s called a Pourhouse Point, it’s what’s called a triploid, and it’s being grown just outside Harker’s Island in floating baskets, one of several techniques used to bring young oysters (called spat) to edible maturity.
Paul Manley, partner in the restaurant, says he has relied on Gulf oysters for years in various ventures, and found them inconsistent (for lots of reasons, including weather and diminished amounts of product). He pursued the idea of working with someone to come up with a particular oyster to be served on the half shell: He wanted a deep (shell) cup with a sturdy top shell that wouldn’t sliver or flake when you open it, medium body and a medium-high salt finish. (Oyster lovers can rival wine geeks in descriptive terms, but Manley keeps it pretty simple.)
He says he worked with James Morris Jr., a scientist who does research for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to choose the strain and develop the process. Triploid oysters are sterile, so they don’t get “spawny” (milky) in summer or “spawned out” (reduced in size) in fall the way reproducing diploids do.
They are Crassostrea virginicus (the Eastern oyster) and are spawned in a Virginia hatchery, then planted at the N.C. coast spot.
“It’s the best N.C. oyster I’ve had,” says Manley. On the half shell at Growlers, they’re $10 for six, $17 per dozen (cheaper than the Bluepoints and Beausoleils that go for $19 a dozen). Sibling Crepe Cellar is also using them, in a Rockefeller-like appetizer using brie, spinach and Coppa Americana that’s six for $12.
Growlers: 3120 N. Davidson St.; 704-910-6566.
Wine dinners and more
• Sullivan’s Steakhouse hosts a Barnett Vineyards wine dinner Jan. 22 with the Wine Vault, with winemaker David Tate and plenty of tastes. Among the courses: BLT salad with Barnett Sangiacomo Chardonnay and filet mignon with jumbo grilled shrimp with Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. $80; 704-548-9463.
Coming up sooner at the Wine Vault: Friday’s Southern Tier Brewing Company tasting of five beers for $5. 9009 J. M. Keynes Drive.
• Rooster’s at SouthPark hosts a Gerard Bertrand wine dinner Jan. 29 for $65. Among the offerings: smoked, seared salmon belly with black rice and Minervois; grilled quail breast and leg confit with Tautavel; and short rib with Chateau Hospitalet. 6601 Morrison Blvd.; 704-366-8688.