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What’s the trick to Local Dish’s tempura green beans?

You Asked For It
Restaurant writer Robin Domeier tracks down Charlotte restaurant recipes that readers have requested. Domeier is owner of Nibbles Personal Chef.

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  • Local Dish

    Where: 217 Main St., Fort Mill, S.C.;

    Hours: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. weekdays; 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday.

    Contact: 803-547-2201 or localdishfortmill.com.


  • Tempura Green Beans

    From chef Neil Bratton, Local Dish in Fort Mill.

    2 cups canola oil

    2 to 3 cups green beans, washed, dried and stemmed

    1 cup tempura mix

    1 1/2 cups club soda

    Salt and pepper

    Dill pickle tartar sauce (see recipe)

    POUR oil into a pot or deep skillet. Preheat to 350 degrees.

    POUR club soda into shallow

    bowl. Add tempura mix and whisk until all lumps are removed. Batter will be foamy.

    DREDGE green beans in tempura mixture and shake off excess.

    FRY green beans in batches for about 2 minutes, or until the crust is light brown.

    REMOVE from oil and place on paper towel-lined sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

    SERVE with tartar sauce for dipping.

    NOTES: Use a thermometer to make sure the oil reaches 350 degrees. Between batches, let the oil return to 350 degrees before adding the next round. Don’t crowd the beans. Make sure they have enough room to float around without bumping into each other or clumping together. This recipe uses club soda but the directions on the tempura mix will likely call for water. You can substitute water, but the coating won’t be as airy.

    YIELD: 2-3 appetizer servings.


  • Dill Pickle Tartar Sauce

    The consistency of the tartar sauce is initially quite loose. If you like a thicker sauce, chill it for a few hours. Or reserve 1/4 cup of the pickle juice and add it a tablespoon at a time until you achieve the desired consistency.

    10 kosher dill pickle spears, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

    1 cup mayonnaise

    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

    1/2 cup pickle juice

    Salt and pepper

    COMBINE pickles, mayonnaise, lemon and pickle juices in food processor.

    PULSE until a semi-smooth consistency is reached. Salt and pepper to taste.

    YIELD: 1 1/2 cups.


Ann Cricchi of Fort Mill is a fan of the tempura green beans at Local Dish, a colorful café in her town.

“I love theirs and I’m definitely not a Southerner,” she writes. “I think the appeal may be that there is a cooking twist or an unusual ingredient that provides the special taste and texture that’s so appealing to me.”

Local Dish owner John Colwell describes his menu as American with a little bit of Southern thrown in. The tempura fried green beans with dill pickle tartar sauce certainly fit that description.

Created by chef Neil Bratton, the green beans were once a side dish, but “people liked them so much, we made them an appetizer.”

I made the beans and offered them to my discriminating (that’s code for picky) 10- and 11-year-olds. Before taking a bite, they wrinkled their noses – the reaction I expected. But after eating that first bean, the plate disappeared, only to later come back empty. I’m betting they liked that little bit of crunch and salt on the outside contrasted with the bean’s faint sweetness.

It may not be the healthiest way to eat green beans, but it’s better than a plate of French fries.

Are you looking for a recipe from a Charlotte-area restaurant? Send your requests to Robin Domeier, rdomeier@carolina.rr.com. Please include your name; why you like the recipe; the area where you live and the restaurant’s location. Robin Domeier is owner of Nibbles Personal Chef.
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