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Charlotte’s new Nan and Byron’s aims at family-friendly dining, with upscale notes

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/11/13/12/20/6lI2i.Em.138.jpeg|316
    HELEN SCHWAB - hschwab@charlotteobserver.com
    Meatloaf with chipotle ketchup over mashed potatoes, peas and carrots.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/11/13/12/20/uZmz6.Em.138.jpeg|237
    HELEN SCHWAB - hschwab@charlotteobserver.com
    Half chicken roasted with Peruvian spices and “spicy green sauce,” aka green aji sauce.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/11/13/12/20/1uBPhl.Em.138.jpeg|237
    HELEN SCHWAB - hschwab@charlotteobserver.com
    Smoked poblano cheese dip with housemade potato chips.

The food: This refreshingly short menu is interestingly split-focused: dineresque classics such as meatloaf, tomato soup with grilled cheese, mac ’n’ cheese and battered fish share space with Peruvian-seasoned roast chicken, ghost-pepper chicken wings, a beet-and-boursin burger and portobello stuffed with quinoa.

We tried a little of each side (after the complimentary cayenne-and-sea-salted popcorn) and found good flavors and nice execution on opening weekend. Exec chef Jamie Lynch, also of 5Church (Nan and Byron’s older uptown sibling), and chef de cuisine Marc Jacksina (most recently at Halcyon) have packed a lot of peppers into this lineup, and it seems to be working so far. Beef meatloaf, a thick slab nicely finished with a little caramelization, comes topped with a glob of sriracha ketchup (also offered with the fries), and there’s sriracha ranch dressing for your Kitchen Sink salad; poppers are done with peppadews, and the cheeseburger with poblanos.

The look: Check the stamped tin ceiling first, then marvel at a space that was once a fairly rowdy oyster bar. Creamy walls and lots of brick, a long horizontal rectangle full of askew shutters separating bar from dining room, woody tables and long stretches of caramel-colored banquette offer options, though there’s no mistaking the sound: It’s loud. Fresh flowers in little glass vases are pretty but dysfunctional (servers knocked ours over twice) but the tea-towel napkins are inspired, as are the big metallic mesh circles with lit-element bulbs: warm but contemporary – just the ticket.

The service: Super solicitous and super enthusiastic (“The smoked poblano dip is super yummy!”), ours was a shade long in his descriptions and waxing rhapsodic, but who complains about exuberance? Not me. Plus, he was fast.

The details: Dinner daily for now, with breakfast and lunch on the way; $5 dogs and $17.50 steaks (an 8-ounce piece of prime rib); 1714 South Blvd.; 980-224-7492; www.nanandbyrons.com.

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