Lake Norman Magazine

The X factor

Grilled Mahi Mahi with a shrimp, coconut and cilantro lime broth.
Grilled Mahi Mahi with a shrimp, coconut and cilantro lime broth.

Davidson residents are a lucky bunch. In addition to a world-class college and a charming small-town atmosphere, they enjoy many excellent, family-owned restaurants that have become part of the fabric of this tight-knit community.Restaurant X is one stellar example of this. Opened in 2006 by Chris and Christina Phillips, the restaurant is the epitome of a cozy neighborhood bistro with an international flair. British native Chris Phillips is the chef and wife Christina (from Belfast, Northern Ireland) is the manager of this delightful spot. Their attention to detail and concern for the customer is obvious from the moment you walk through the door. Service at Restaurant X is extremely considerate and helpful, and this warmth is reflected in the eatery's intimate atmosphere. With 10 tables inside and approximately 12 outside (two or three on a small side patio and the rest in a covered outdoor space), the restaurant's walls are painted a warm cantaloupe color and decorated simply, the better to focus on the simply prepared and delicious food.Dinner appetizers include a warm goat cheese salad with candied pecans ($7.50), a four-cheese fondue ($6.95) and shrimp spring rolls ($7.95). The latter are lightly fried, drizzled with two of Chef Phillips' homemade sauces and served atop a bed of cabbage slaw. The crunch perfectly complements the richness of the shrimp filling and makes for a satisfying start to the meal. Main courses at dinner include a popular beef brisket with mashed potato-stuffed caramelized onion ($17.50), mahi mahi with a shrimp, coconut and cilantro lime broth ($17.95), pecan crusted chicken breast with a sage and bacon gravy ($14.95) and a grilled pork strip loin with an au poivre sauce ($16.95). Fish is well-represented here, and Chef Phillips filets his own fish daily. In addition to the mahi mahi, there is a grilled Norwegian salmon ($16.50), a seared ahi volcano tuna ($17.95) and shrimp and grits ($15.95). A special one night was an oven-roasted Covina sea bass in a lemon caper beurre blanc sauce ($18.95).The bass was tender with a delicate flavor and served on top of garlic wilted spinach and mashed potatoes. The lemon in the sauce cuts through the richness of the fish with just enough acidity. Norwegian salmon, served with string beans, carrots and mashed potatoes, is flaky, flavorful and moist with a perfect sear. There are also large-portioned dinner salads on the menu – a chicken peanut Caesar ($10.95), an Asian chicken salad ($11.75) and a blackened salmon Caesar ($11.95). Vegetarian options include grilled vegetables and couscous with harissa dressing ($11.95) and roasted vegetable pasta in a light pesto cream sauce ($13.50).The lunch menu has many more salads to choose from, like a Brazilian shrimp salad ($8.50), in addition to wraps and sandwiches such as a blackened chicken creole club ($7.50) and a pastrami Reuben ($7.50). Restaurant X sources from local farms and all of its dressings, sauces and desserts are made in-house. Desserts consist of several British favorites, including sticky toffee pudding ($4.95), Bakewell Tart (a shortcrust pastry with a layer of jam and a sponge filling with almonds, also $4.95) and banoffee pie ($4.50), a delectable choice, made from bananas, cream and toffee.The beer list also skews British, with many bottles (most are $4) on offer from England and Ireland. The wine list is small but well-chosen with mostly California wineries. Prices by the glass range from $6 to $8.50.In addition to being a proud supporter of Davidson College Men's Soccer Team, Restaurant X has been the winner of “Best Overall Soup” at Davidson Housing Coalition’s annual Souper Bowl Competition, raising money for emergency home repairs. The Phillips say they try to do anything they can to give back to the community. A table of two women near me was celebrating a birthday, and co-owner Christina Phillips sent over a dessert and came by to offer a special greeting. This kind of personal service combined with a focus on fresh ingredients and soul-satisfying dishes make Restaurant X a shining star in the Davidson restaurant constellation.

Restaurant X

408 S. Main St.

Davidson, NC 28036



Tuesday - Friday

Lunch 11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.; Dinner 5:30-10 p.m.Saturday

Dinner: 5:30-10 p.m.Sunday

Brunch is served the last Sunday of every month from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.Takeout and catering is available.