Loft & Cellar’s spring menu is a treat for the senses. I joined local food writers and influencers at the Uptown hot spot for a preview of new culinary delights highlighting local ingredients.
“We take what’s seasonal and play around with it,” said the restaurant’s James Beard-nominated executive chef Greg Collier.
Collier, along with his executive sous chefs Oscar Johnson and Calvin Wright, wowed the crowd with a variety of Southern delicacies.
Hands down, my favorite dish of the night was the Fried Dyed — a medley of chicken skins and pickled squash chips served with a garlic buttermilk dressing. An appetizer meant to be shared, the Fried Dyed can whet your appetite for $11.
“Chicken skins, for me, that’s the best part of the chicken,” Collier said. “Usually when we create dishes, we’re trying to pull from a place that everyone can relate to. Wings and ranch is [sic] synonymous with all cultures, so we did a riff on that.”
Another shareable was the Chesapeake deviled eggs. Collier kept some of the ingredients a secret, but he described it as a classic Southern deviled egg with mayonnaise, mustard and blue crab then folded into a trinity. It was a close second for my favorite bite of the night. Enjoy an order of the savory dish for $15.
Collier’s favorite, a sea scallop entree, did not disappoint. The scallops star alongside grit cakes, kola peanuts, confit sweet potatoes and a romesco verde sauce. Priced at $29, it’s worth every bite.
For dessert, I went for the Bluegrass, a fried walnut pie with buttermilk jam and chocolate mousse. The chef drew inspiration from the “derby pie,” a common treat found during the Kentucky Derby. Round out your meal with the $7 dessert.
Overall, the new menu at Loft & Cellar continues its creative spin on Southern food that “pulls from the African diaspora.” View the menu list here.
Accompanying the dishes were equally delicious and innovative cocktails prepared by Bar Chef Stephen Marshall. Ingredients like orange blossom water, as well as patchouli and ginger syrups from Marshall’s upcoming Grassroots Beverage Company line, perfectly complemented the meal.
In addition to the new cocktail lineup, the Loft & Cellar bar updates include 22 wines and a half-priced wine night inviting customers to expand their palate.
“There are many establishments in Charlotte known for their food or their drinks,” Collier said. “Loft & Cellar will be known for both.”
Sabrina Clark is a NY native who enjoys the South, but still loves the perfect view of a city skyline. She’s a social worker and child advocate who finds her zen by enjoying all that Charlotte has to offer.