In the heart of uptown at the infamous EpiCentre resides your new favorite American Pub: Blackfinn. Happy faces greet you at the door of the two story restaurant, and lead you upstairs or to the bar; your choice. Two staircases lead you to the sunny second floor where another bar awaits if you decide the dimly lit bottom floor isn’t your style. The bottom floor is frequented by businessmen and executives, always ready to strike up a conversation over a drink or two. The second floor offers long tall tables with stools for large parties and booths for smaller groups. Big windows allow light to fill the room and the second bar is bright and open for business.
My visit to Blackfinn was the very first time I ever stepped foot in the pub. I arrived with an empty stomach, ready to eat my heart out and I did. I started off with the most delicious cocktail I’ve had in a very long time. It was like a citrusy dessert before dinner. If you love lemonade the Lemon Berry Cooler is for you. It consisted of New Amsterdam berry vodka, freshly squeezed lemonade, sprite, and mint leaves shaken to perfection. It was hard not to guzzle it down within seconds. Do not fret, however, if you’re not much of a citrus fan because Blackfinn has a cocktail to meet any tastes. The other drink I indulged in during dinner was the Blind Mule, which was a mixture of moonshine, ginger beer, a lime wedge and simple syrup. Both were fantastic drinks and offered different flavors to ponder, the Blind Mule went down easy and the taste of ginger was never overpowering or underwhelming.
After my first drink at the bar downstairs I was led upstairs by a happy, sunshiney blonde where I sat at the tall tables with friendly strangers all from different places, as we all prepared to be one of the first to try Blackfinn’s new spring menu which will be released to the public April 4, 2017. First we went through a round of Pub Snacks, starting off with the crunchiest order of Bacon Crackerjacks which is sweet caramel popcorn tossed with salted peanuts and crispy bacon. THIS WAS THE BEST THING ON THE MENU, I repeat THE BEST! Everything I tried at the tasting was wonderful and savory, but I have to say that if I could marry the Bacon Crackerjacks I would. It was sweet, it was salty, it was the perfect snack in between drinks, I don’t think there is a soul that would dislike this menu item.
The other pub snack we got to try was the fried deviled eggs served with coleslaw. If you like deviled eggs this is the perfect adventurous snack to pick. Generally people are used to having deviled eggs only at home because it is a common homemade snack, but I promise you will not regret getting it at Blackfinn. They might as well add “homemade” to its name on the menu because I think it just might be better.
Next we moved to small plates. If you’re hungry but not too hungry this portion of the menu is directed at you. Also if you like fried anything, you’ll be happy to hear that I tried the fried oysters and the fried green tomatoes and I may or may not have hogged the plates. The fried oyster was dipped in buttermilk-brine and was served with cajun tartar and cocktail sauce. If you aren’t super adventurous when it comes to food but you like seafood this small plate is for you. It is crunchy on the outside, the right amount of soft ratio on the inside, and if drenched in cocktail sauce, that has a faint hint of sweetness, will change your life. If you’re wanting something a bit more unique then go for the fried green tomatoes served with pimento cheese. You have to dip it in the pimento cheese to get the full experience. It’s packed with flavor and creamy as can be. You won’t be able to put it down.
After that we moved on to a pear, bleu cheese, and arugula salad, and a plate of chicken fried chicken, Cheerwine ribs, and chipotle steak frites. OH MY GOD. Can I say anything bad about my experience? I wished my stomach was larger, in a moment of weakness. Everything and I mean everything was fried, baked, tossed, and grilled to perfection. If you want something light and unique the Pear Bleu Arugula salad will convince you with every bite that you are lounging on your sun soaked veranda, enjoying the sharpness of the bleu cheese perfectly balanced with the sweetness of the pear. The chicken fried chicken will either A. remind you why the south is the best place to live or B. convince you to move to the south. It was served with ham hock collard greens, black pepper gravy and garlic roasted potatoes that might even beat grandma’s secret recipe. The Cheerwine ribs are very sweet but not to the point where it’s too much. The baby back ribs are tender, dry rubbed, and glazed with Cheerwine bbq sauce. What a way to celebrate being in the Carolinas, with North Carolina produced Cheerwine made into a bbq glaze. Finally my personal favorite of the entrees was the Chipotle Steak Frites. This reminded me of “Lomo Saltado” which is a Peruvian dish. If you’re feeling like you want something a little on the Latin side get the Chipotle Steak Frites. It was skirt steak in garlic butter on top of a bed of the crunchiest natural cut fries.
Blackfinn certainly has something for anyone’s taste, whether you want something light or something that will make you drool days later when you think about it. Although not mentioned currently on the online menu, at the tasting I had the pleasure of trying the Fireball Pecan pie and the freshest Banana pudding I have ever had. The pecan pie reminded me a bit of the Big Red gum it was the perfect amount of spicy cinnamon and the crunch from the pecans made it fantastic. The Banana pudding was phenomenal! If you love banana pudding get it at Blackfinn. The whipped cream was fresh and the bananas were sweet and firm but not too hard. I think I ate about 2 or 3 plates of banana pudding.
Truly everything was delicious. I can’t say there was anything that made me think twice about visiting Blackfinn. I’m dying to go back. The staff was so attentive; the waiters, bar staff, and even cooks asked how my meal was and if I was enjoying it. They made sure that my glass was never empty and I had enough napkins and my used plates were removed to give me more space. Anyone in the staff could have probably recited every ingredient to me if I had asked and it was enjoyable to be surrounded by people who truly care about the quality of their service.
Blackfinn currently has 13 locations with 3 of those locations in North Carolina and a 4th one coming soon to the historic downtown of Wilmington, NC. Blackfinn is the new golf course for businessmen and the perfect locale for friends to meet for happy hour. Go experience the Finn for yourself and get an extra to go box of bacon crackerjacks for the road. Happy dining!
Note: From time to time we’re invited out to try a restaurant or to taste new menu items. This meal is usually comped, as this one was. We’re under no obligation to write a positive review or any review at all when we’re invited out to try a place. Every review you see on our site will be an honest review of the place whether or not the restaurant provided us with the meal at their cost.