Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gastronomy in Gastonia

As it turns out, this past Tuesday night, Marty and I had one of our best meals ever since we moved down here and it was at a restaurant in Gastonia of all places.

Not that this should be a huge shocker because Gastonia is a decent sized city and is considered part of the Charlotte MSA. But 2 years ago when we first moved down I Googled "fine dining AND Gastonia" and pretty much got zero results and then never really gave it a second try. But some people I met at a work event mentioned Lotus to me a few weeks ago and Marty and I finally gave it a whirl and it was worth it.

It's definitely fusion with lots of Asian influences (they even have a sushi bar)and some Italian and some American locavore/fresh from the farm touches. In fact, my only complaint was that it was a little too fusion - I would have liked to have felt like it took one direction more than any other, but everything was delicious.

I started with pork and chicken potstickers which were leaps and bounds better than any Chinese take-out dumplings around these parts. Marty started with a tempura softshell crab which he said was delicious (I'll take his word for it - I don't like crab) and a California roll which he said was good enough to inspire him to order only sushi the next time he came.

I had the Ashley Farms chicken as an entree - although the summer version is served with a pea and carrot risotto and honeyed pearl onions (as opposed to the version on the website). Marty had a Kobe-style filet with grilled asparagus and butter & herb roasted potatoes. That all said - there were about 12 other things we both wanted to try.

Dessert was homemade doughnuts with a trio of dipping sauces. Yum.

I give them a lot of credit for their wine list. Not too many obvious choices from California. Instead they had an eclectic list with selections from Chile, Argentina, and South Africa to name a few.

Our waiter was good in that he was earnest and knowledgeable and tried hard. But in his attempt to "space everything out" our simple Tuesday night supper turned into a 3-hour epic meal. Dessert alone took 40 minutes to appear.

Also - Marty was not fond of the decor - high ceilings, lots of open space - which he found too casual for the caliber of cuisine. I didn't mind so much - I think there's little room in the world these days for white tablecloths and traditional French service.

Still, at the end of the day, it was a delightful surprise, completely unexpected and utterly delicious. When you come for a visit, just remind us to take you to that restaurant in Gastoney.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...