Block & Grinder officially opened its doors on March 18th but we got a chance to check them out a few days before the grand opening. If you’re not up to date on the Charlotte dining scene no worries… heres the scoop. The Block & Grinder concept specializes in premium beef, all-natural and organic meats / wild game. Their goal is to create a “back to the basics” menu structured around fresh ingredients.
Our night started off with a small charcuterie sample plater and some fresh made biscuits.
We were instructed by our waiter to order as much as we wanted… and not needing to be told twice we dove right into the menu. Our first pick was a small plate of pork belly with a bourbon & sorghum glaze over corn bread pancakes and topped with a green slaw. This was easily one of our favorite dishes of the night and from what we could hear around the restaurant it was a big hit with everyone else too.
Next up we tried the dry rub smoked berkshire ribs with a Cheerwine bbq sauce and pickled slaw. The first thing we loved about this plate was its impecable presentation and bold flavor. The ribs had a delightfully crunchy exterior with with perfectly tender meat and the sauce was full of bold flavor.
For our entree’s, Ella started off the night with the butter poached rack of Carolina rabbit with a loin & leg roulade over bost stone ground grits. The leg roulade was a delicious twist on such a fun choice of meat. The grits complimented the rabbit really well and had a great sauce, I just wished there was more great sauce. Though the rack of rabbit on top looked nice I found it a little unnecessary.
Then it was my turn :) I couldn’t figure out whether I wanted to try a steak or a burger, so I got both.
The bacon and cheddar and burger was toped with thick cut slices of house cured maple bacon and NY cheddar cheese with a side of fries. The fries were nothing special but the burger (especially the bacon) was absolutely devine. I closed my eyes after every bite and transcended to a state of burger nirvana that could perhaps only have been surpassed with the addition of some sweet caramelized onions on top.
The only complaint I had at this point in the evening was that there was no ranch dressing.. anywhere… in the whole building. I became addicted to fries dipped in ranch the very second I moved to NC and not having any ranch was a significant let down for me. The fries weren’t amazing to begin with but without the sweet and loving caress of creamy ranch dressing they were a little worse.
Being the giant man that I am (165lbs) I decided the charcuterie, the pork belly, the ribs, and the burger just wasn’t enough food quite yet so I got the 20oz porterhouse. Unfortunately it wasn’t what I was hoping for :(
I cant speak for everyone, but my steak was completely devoid of any flavor at all… except for one bite. There was one single bite that seemed to have all of the flavor of the entire steak crammed into the one bite and the rest of the steak was bland and forgettable.
We also got some sides of warm asparagus and mac & 3 cheese, both of which were a big hit.
For dessert we went with the earl gray creme brulee with sugar biscuit and the bread pudding.
The Earl Grey Creme Brule was not only the best thing I ate that night, but the best creme brule I have ever had. The flavor of the tea blended perfectly with the rich creamy texture of the brule. To top it all of the sugar biscuit added a carmel flavor and crunch that was even better than the torched sugar usually sprinkled on top. This dessert is a must have in my kitchen!
The bread pudding was decent but forgettable by most accounts.
Executive Chef Kent Graham and his team have built an amazing concept and developed a great menu. We had a great evening and are looking forward to seeing the restaurant grow and succeed.