Uptown’s dining scene gains two new entrants later this fall when the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel opens with two eateries, adding to center city’s developing culinary landscape.
Angeline’s, Kimpton’s 3rd-Street-facing restaurant, is set to showcase Northern-Italian fare with a contemporary twist. They will serve straight-forward rustic Italian food – think expansive open kitchen, wood-burning rotisserie, rotating deck pizza oven and house-made pastas. Their dinner menu will feature Neapolitan-style pizzas and specialties such as roasted branzino with roasted red pepper coulis, Parisian gnocchi, green onion emulsion and salmon roe; 45-day dry-aged ribeye with potato puree, glazed cipollini onions, Point Reyes blue cheese and sauce Zingara.
303 S. Church St.
Merchant & Trade, Kimpton’s 18th-floor rooftop bar and lounge, will deliver stunning views of Romare Bearden Park and BB&T Ballpark. Guests will find lively indoor/outdoor space with a retractable roof, craft cocktails, local spirits and beers. The menu features globally inspired share-plates like fritto misto, a combination of flash-fried calamari, shrimp and smelt served with Calabrian aioli, and seasonal oysters with a house mignonette.
303 S. Church St.
Kimpton held a pre-opening pop-up tasting last week to introduce Robert Hoffman, executive chef overseeing all restaurant operations in Charlotte, and to provide an opportunity to preview some of their menu offerings.
Hoffman comes to Charlotte via Sedona, Ariz., where he’s been executive chef at Kimpton’s SaltRock Southwest Kitchen and Amara Resort. A Chicago native, Hoffman is well known throughout the Windy City for stints with Peasantry and Franks N’Dawgs, City Tavern and Labriola Ristorante and Café.
Though he’s trained and collaborated with several Michelin-starred chefs and mastered exotic techniques such as molecular gastronomy, Hoffman’s approach is decidedly unpretentious and focused on no-nonsense execution.
“I don’t like to overwhelm guests,” says Hoffman, explaining his culinary approach. “If I can provide one ingredient, or flavor combination or technique that folks haven’t experienced before, people find it intriguing. Our team brings a sound foundation and is well-versed in doing things the right way from start to finish. My goal is to have a dining experience that encourages routine visits.”
The pop-up, held at Uptown’s McColl Center, featured several dishes from each restaurants’ menu and craft cocktails from lead bartender and mixologist Henry Schmulling. A few of the evening’s highlights:
Prosciutto e Melone – Compressed Canary Melon, Prosciutto de Parma, Red Veined Sorrel, Meyer Lemon Oil. This classic sweet/salty pairing was the perfect foil for Schmulling’s Peanut Butter Falcon, a concoction of High West Double Rye Whiskey, Cynar Amaro, Licor 43 Vanilla Liqueur and Peanut Butter/Molasses Candy Syrup garnished with a Mary Jane Taffy Candy.
Sourdough bites – Whipped Ricotta, Lavender Honey, Pistachio. Tasty bites both floral and creamy.
Braised Ox Tail Strozzapreti- Fontina Fonduta, Sauce Arrabiatta. This dish demonstrated Hoffman’s deft approach to developing complex flavors and densely rich toothsome pasta.
Blue Crab Rolls- Carrot, Celery, Fennel, Avocado Mousse, Citrus Aioli, Potato Crisps. Chef de Cuisine Brian Kenney crafted the star dish of the evening. These buttery toasted soft rolls were packed with briny crab bathed in tangy aioli – delicious on their own and extra-good when paired with Schmulling’s Cold Storage, a summery cocktail blending Svedka Vodka, Cointreau Orange Liqueur, Dubbonet Blanc Apertif, Simple Syrup and fresh lemon juice garnished with a dehydrated orange slice.
Hoffman’s pastry chef, Chelsea Ecdao, shined with Vanilla bean pot du crème with passion fruit gelee, caramel and almond crumb. Creamy and a bit decadent though not too sweet – a nice finisher. Ecdao’s macarons, Brown Butter Caramel and Raspberry Rose, rival the best in Charlotte.
“We’re really excited to be opening in the Charlotte market,” Hoffman says. “We look forward to being part of the community here.”
Photos: Poprock Photography / Tonya Russ Price