If you find yourself walking down one of the busiest and most popular streets in central Charlotte, you will most certainly be greeted by an array of restaurants, eateries, speakeasies, and cocktail lounges. North Tryon is the center of it all for fine dining and prime craft pleasures. One place in particular that truly stands out in American craft cookery is 204 North Kitchen and Cocktails, a tiny eatery that neighbors the Herst tower and the Belk Theatre.
Based on the name, it comes as no surprise that visiting it, you hit two birds with one stone. Of course it’s quite common to find a restaurant in Charlotte that also serves up a good alcohol elixir, but at 204 North Kitchen, you can either enjoy the fine dining aspect of things, or you can sit at the bar and have what they call a libation.
Entering 204 North Kitchen, you will notice that it has a very rustic look and feel to it. The stairs heading to the second level have a chicken wire fencing to it, as well as rails towards the back. The chairs have a wrought iron look to them, the ceiling and walls expose the bones of the establishment, and bar and greeter’s station are made from barn wood.
We were seated promptly and our waiter came right over to us and took our drink order. I ordered what I believed to be their signature cocktail called The Banker. This concoction is made of bourbon, Reagans no. 6, angostura bitters, demerara sugar, and garnished with a brandied cherry. I was pleased with how quickly we received our drinks, and I was even more impressed when I took my first sip. A strong cocktail, but for a bourbon drinker, this is definitely one to add to your cocktail resume.
As an appetizer, we ordered the Charcuterie and cheese platter. I have ordered this quite often from places in the past, so I wasn’t expecting to receive such a treat as they served up. First and foremost, the presentation was spectacular. Second, the portion size was twice what I was expecting so this was certainly a good thing. For the meat lover, this appetizer is sure to please. It does not disappoint.
As a main dish, I ordered the Atlantic salmon with sorghum glazed baby beets, truffled mashed potatoes and a citrus oil. My wife ordered one of the popular dishes, the pork tenderloin over spring time succotash, sweet potatoes and a BBQ corn puree. Our waiter commended her on ordering it as it was his favorite dish. I would have to concur as I had ordered this on an earlier visit and fell in love. The pork is cooked to a medium with little pink in the center as per the chef, but if you are one to prefer your pork cook all the way through, relay it to your waiter.
Both dishes were absolutely incredible. The salmon was cooked just right, and had a perfect crusting to the top. The truffled mashed potatoes were a perfect paring. They had a creamy taste and texture, and overall pleasing. The pork loin was still my favorite of the two as this was a prime example of true American craft cookery. Taking a fork full of pork and succotash is the way to do it as this is yet another perfect paring to a dish.
Both my wife and I completely cleaned our plates for two reasons. First, the food is packed full of flavor and delicious, second, the portion size is just right. I am one to appreciate a proper size portion as I hate to see food being wasted. It is unnecessary to have an enormous serving knowing you can only eat 1/3 of it. But 204 North Kitchen does it right. Great food at fair pricing for the craft, and the perfect portion. You can clean your plate and not feel disgustingly full or guilty. The food is fresh, the atmosphere is great, and the service is top notch. There is a reason I am a repeat customer to this establishment. I am quite certain that neither the food nor cocktails will disappoint.
204 North Kitchen and Cocktails
204 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202