Quantcast

Vine American Kitchen

The new Ballantyne concept takes on the traditional steakhouse



Vine American Kitchen brings a Southern approach to the steaks-and-seafood concept with dishes like this jalapeño cornbread, served warm in a cast iron skillet.

Taylor Mathis

It’s a brisk Sunday night, and Vine American Kitchen is bustling. A few children weave in and around their parents and other patrons as they wait, pagers in hand, for their tables. Vine is the latest addition to the city’s burgeoning roster of upscale casual eateries, and from the looks of the cheerful crowd, it’s a welcome one.

The new concept was created by Charlottean Bill Freeman, most recently the CEO and director of McCormick & Schmick’s. With its simple, elegant layout and snug seating, Vine seems familiar in a chain restaurant kind of way—while a large display kitchen and exposed brick make it feel luxurious and upscale. At one corner, a circular room, the Fireside Terrace, boasts cushy couches and a fireplace; the Barrel Room, a small private dining room, takes up the opposite corner. It’s comfortable and family friendly. In short, it’s almost exactly what you’d expect from a former executive of an upscale restaurant chain.

The McCormick & Schmick’s steak-meets-seafood influence is also evident on Executive Chef Paul Cruz’s menu: traditional steakhouse standards including pear and blue cheese salad ($9), Maryland-style jumbo lump crab cakes (available as a starter or entrée) and prime rib dip sandwich ($14) keep company with Southern favorites, such as jalapeño cornbread ($4), served warm in a cast iron skillet and topped with jalapeño butter, and fried green tomatoes ($7), topped with goat cheese and sherry aioli.

Standouts include an ahi tuna tartare ($14), bright and fresh, arriving finely chopped, with capers, egg, and red onion, and served with salty, crispy wontons, and a roster of flatbreads such as the Classic BLT ($10), topped with bacon, tomato, and arugula, on a crispy, thin crust. An aromatic mound of jambalaya ($17) comes topped with a grilled jalapeño and is fluffy, not soupy—best eaten with a fork instead of a spoon—and packs just the right amount of heat.

Oenophiles will appreciate Vine’s beverage program, which features more than 100 wines by the bottle, many under $30. In addition, more than 40 wines are available by the glass—20 of which are kept fresh in a wine refrigeration system.

There’s room for refinements and tweaks if Freeman and crew have plans to expand this new concept beyond Ballantyne. (One suggestion? Ask servers to wait to vacuum up crumbs until neighboring tables are empty.) Overall, however, with its large bar area, Vine is a strong candidate for a happy hour gathering, and with its oversize leather booths and approachable menu, it’s an elegant option for couples and families, too.

More »Related Stories

Tupelo Honey: Old South and New

Tupelo Honey fills a void in South End left by a beloved establishment

Guest Post From Asheville: Beer Like Grandma Used To Make

Asheville's Wicked Weed Brewery has a Milk & Cookies Stout, but wouldn't you rather have milk and cookies instead?

Mountain Cabin Cuisine: Stone Mountain Grill

This restauant offers familiar cuisine in a warm atmosphere

American Alternative: Nan and Byron’s

Business brings an upscale casual flair—and an approachable menu—to South End

We invite your responses and discussion. Please refrain from personal attacks, profanity, commercial promotion, or non sequiturs.

Add your comment:

Blogs »


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

The 'Republican Civil War'

A Monday afternoon sampler.

Comments


On Tap

Matt McKenzie on Craft Beer in Charlotte

NoDa Brewing takes gold in World Beer Cup

Hop, Drop ‘N Roll lays claim to top American IPA

Comments


Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

The Mint's 61st Annual Room to Bloom

From a book signing with an international designer to an elegant evening outdoors, this fund-raiser is packed opportunities

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Concerts in the Round

South Charlotte will host Concerts in the Round again this summer and the fun kicks off soon

Comments


Revue

Andy Smith on Charlotte Arts & Culture

Will Springsteen Cover a Local Song Saturday?

Comments


Making Pictures

Photographs from Charlotte and beyond

#OpeningKnight

Comments


Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

4 Local Plant Sales this Weekend

Get out and make your purchases

Comments


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

Tillis's 'Big Boy Pants' and the Creeping Tyranny of Toll Roads

A leaked recording of Thom Tillis unveils a silly phrase and the warped mindset of his GOP opponents.

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Easter Brunches in Charlotte

Easter is next Sunday, April 20, so make those reservations if you want a special brunch out with family and friends

Comments


Revue

Andy Smith on Charlotte Arts & Culture

Charlotte Knights' Opening Day Schedule (And Six More Weekend Events)

Comments


On Tap

Matt McKenzie on Craft Beer in Charlotte

Your chance to brew with Olde Mecklenburg and NoDa

Video submissions for collaboration contest are due April 15

Comments


Dusk Till Dawn

Jarvis Holliday Chronicles Charlotte's Nightlife and Social Scene, Straight No Chaser

Celebrate Knights Baseball, Fashion Mixers, Party with Brody Jenner, Beach Bash, and More April 10-13

You know the drill… get in where you fit in!

Comments


Making Pictures

Photographs from Charlotte and beyond

Finding A New Mayor In 10 Pictures

Comments


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

The Burden of Incumbency

The GOP primary for U.S. Senate looks like it'll result in a runoff—a fitting result in an age when incumbency ain't what it was.

Comments


Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

Let IKEA Redo Your Room

Submit a video to the Home Tour Squad

Comments


Revue

Andy Smith on Charlotte Arts & Culture

Photojournalist Stephanie Sinclair Talks Women of Vision

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Brunch at Block & Grinder, Kids Eat Free at Nan & Byron's, and Updates from the Ritz-Carlton

The Ritz-Carlton uptown has some exciting events in the coming weeks, there's a new reason to bring kids to Nan & Byron's, and Block & Grinder will be bringing back Sunday brunch

Comments


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

5 Reasons Why Dan Clodfelter Was the Right Choice For Charlotte Mayor

Risk is good sometimes. This was not one of those times.

Comments


On Tap

Matt McKenzie on Craft Beer in Charlotte

Ballpark Brew: Olde Mecklenburg and NoDa highlight craft beer options at Knights’ new uptown park

Comments


Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

Wing Haven Plant Sale

The four-day event offers unusual varieties and one-on-one instruction

Comments