If the arrival of summer has you counting the minutes till vacation, a mini getaway at the North Harbor Club Restaurant and Bar in Davidson Landing can help stave off the cravings. A glass of wine, a martini or something from the Kaleidoscope of Cocktails as you watch the boats drift in and out of the cove will have you as blissed out as a weekend in Bermuda—well, almost. A Charlotte Observer poll declared it one of the top 10 places to visit in the Charlotte area. A favorite on the Lake Norman dining scene since 2003, North Harbor prides itself on offering creative dishes of the freshest ingredients “in interesting and fun combinations.” “We think of it as contemporary American cuisine,” says manager Barry Handleman. “We’re proud of all our dishes, but we get an extraordinary number of compliments on our filets, which we cut ourselves.” If you’re not lucky enough to snag a table on the patio, you can enjoy the view just as well from indoors through the two walls of windows. The décor is tastefully nautical: sailing prints, charts, maps and models of clippers and schooners. A rowing scull from the 1970s Royal Henley Regatta hangs from the ceiling of the main dining room, a 1913 Old Towne canoe tops the bar and a World War II-era “shell” adorns the ceiling in The Boat House, the private dining/banquet room. So as you might expect, the menu features plenty of piscatorial pleasures. The lobster mac and cheese appetizer, ($8.95) a signature dish, is a must, as are the lobster chowder and crab cakes. Dinner entrees include tilapia, tuna, salmon, mahi mahi and cornmeal crisped catfish ($16.50 to $19.95). For landlubbers, there’s brined pork chop, stuffed chicken breast, a grilled Flat Iron steak, filet mignon and several pasta dishes, as well as daily specials ($16.50 to $24.95). The tempura-battered asparagus fries, served with honey mustard aioli and soy vinaigrette, offered as a side or appetizer, are also not to be missed. The lunch menu features plentiful salad choices and a wide selection of imaginative sandwiches, such as the charred balsamic and honey marinated Portobello on ciabatta bread ($9.25), ham, gruyere and fried egg panini ($9.25) and fried green tomato BLT (8.95). Bring your appetite and leave your diet at home for brunch. You’ll want to indulge. The choices are plentiful and chef Jose Resendiz’s vanilla-infused French toast ($8.25), smoked salmon and gruyere panini with poached egg ($9.75), “crabby” poached eggs smothered in a coriander Hollandaise sauce ($10.75) and the “West of I-77” omelet ($8.95) deserve to be savored. Beginning Memorial Day, there’ll be live music on the patio Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night, weather permitting. Hmm, with all this on tap, is that condo in Hilton Head for a week really necessary?
Slow Roasted Turkey & Avocado Panini ($9.50): My sandwich was good, with lots of fresh-sliced turkey and thick-sliced bacon and cheese. The cole slaw was tangy and refreshing. But the best thing was the lobster mac and cheese we had as an appetizer. It was creamy, and the pasta cooked just right with chunks of lobster and asparagus. So much goodness. --Account Executive Jane Rodewald
Miso Glazed "Thai Style" Tuna Sandwich with asparagus fries ($11.50): This was a beautifully displayed sandwich. The Thai seasoning was just the right amount so I could still taste all the other ingredients. The Tempura asparagus was an interesting alternative to a side of fries." --Senior Graphic Designer Tracie Stafford
Charred Balsamic & Honey Mopped Portobello on Ciabatta ($9.25): Although the balsamic vinaigrette was a bit too tangy to my taste, the Portobello was thick and meaty, the roasted red peppers delicious, and the bread good enough to qualify for dessert. Though that honor may have to go to the lobster mac and cheese appetizer. --Freelance writer Terry Hoover
South of the Mason Dixon Meat Loaf Sandwich ($9.75): This was a very hearty meal and I left with my belly full and ready for a nap. The juicy meatloaf was complemented nicely with thick-cut bacon and pimento cheese, and the smoky grilled bun was a nice touch. --Editor Sam Boykin Want to go?
Where: 100-D North Harbor Place, Davidson 704-896-5559
Prices: Brunch: $8.50 - $13.75 Lunch: $4.75 - $14.50 Dinner: $4.75 - $24.95
Hours: From 11 a.m. every day. Lunch and dinner Monday-Friday Brunch and dinner Saturday and Sunday