Cornmeal fried green tomatoes, chili aioli, black eyed pea salsa
When I learnt I was heading to Charlotte for work, even before I'd booked my flights, I started researching places to eat. It turns out that wasn't such a clever thing to do, as by the time I came to book the flight I wanted, it was full. But food research is more important, right?
I checked out a few of the Chowhound message boards and asked colleagues who had visited previously for advice. The recommendations coming back weren't terribly exciting, especially in the Uptown area where I'd be staying.
Queen City Q was suggested as the best BBQ in town. The tasting plate of 16 hour pulled pork, brisket, chicken and sides was enormous for a modestly priced $21, but it didn't knock my socks off.
I had a good chat with the lady from Manchester (England) who works at the Tic Toc Diner. Their sandwiches are filling and made to order, but nothing to write home about. Why the NY Strip Steak at Roosters Kitchen had to be smothered in an overpowering sauce I don't know. It ruined what would have been a good steak.
Aunt Beaut’s skillet fried chicken
I was beginning to despair slightly at Charlotte's food. On my final night I checked out the not for profit Kings Kitchen and had the best food of the week. All of the money raised by the restaurant is used to feed 'the poor' in Charlotte and the staff they hire are looking for a new beginning.
I started with the cornmeal fried green tomato, chilli aioli and black eyed pea salsa ($5). The salsa and aoili went well with the tomatoes. It was a nicely balanced dish.
They'd sold out of my first choice main course of the soft shell crab, so I went for the Aunt Beaut's fried chicken ($14) instead. The chicken came with a choice of three side and either corn bread of a biscuit. Not quite sure what a US biscuit was I chose the corn bread.
The chicken was moist and tender underneath it's very crisp and crunchy corn batter. The collard greens and braised green beans were the best I had of the week. There was a slight spice in the collard greens which I enjoyed. The mac 'n cheese was overly rich and didn't have any bite from the white cheese used, but that was the only let down in the dish.
I suspect my waiter on the night was one of the people being helped by the restaurant. He was friendly, efficient and confident in the recommendations he gave to me. I couldn't have asked for me.
The King's Kitchen
129 West Trade Street