A Week in Food Photos: Asbury, Dinner Lab, Tapas 51

Where we ate and what we loved last week
Jon Wile
Chef Clark Barlowe works in a makeshift kitchen outside of Dinner Lab's N.C. Wild event at C3 Lab.

Here are a few things we tasted last week that really stood out, whether for the experience, the taste, or the something else that surprised us. Editor's note: This is not a review. Some of these dishes may have been tasted as part of press events or tastings, but we expect they'd taste just as good any time.


WHERE: The Asbury
WHAT: Summer five-course tasting menu

KRISTEN WILE

This week's first course presents the tomato in a variety of ways alongside basil ice cream and compressed peach. A sunflower seed butter completes the bite, highlighting Chef Chris Coleman's knack for presentation, textures, and creativity in his dishes.

 

KRISTEN WILE

Chef Chris Coleman knows a lot about guinea hens; apparently, they are good pets because they alert you to intruders. They're also very good when cooked by said chef, both crispy in the skin and tender in the meat. Here, in the fourth course, it's plated with a red wine chocolate sauce, oyster mushrooms, and pickled beets. 

 

KRISTEN WILE

The Asbury's pastry chef, Jossie Perlmutter, keeps up with her executive chef's creativity. This dessert is one of the most fascinating I've tried in Charlotte. It's a play on root beer and the ingredients that go into it. What's more summery than that? 

 


WHERE: Dinner Lab at C3 Lab
WHAT: Chef Clark Barlowe's N.C. Wild tasting menu

JON WILE

As you can see, this isn't a picture of food. It's a picture of Chef Clark Barlowe of Heirloom cooking food—in a very interesting way. DinnerLab events are held as pop-up dinners in a variety of locations; this one, C3 Lab, is a shared workspace. There's no commercial kitchen in these places—part of the event's draw—so what you see here is how Barlowe cooked the protein for eight large tables of diners.

 

JON WILE

The second course showed off Sunset Farm's tomatoes, topped with lardo—which adds a lot to the flavor of the dish—hen of the woods (a Barlowe-foraged mushroom) vinaigrette, brassica seeds, and Lucky Clay’s baby greens. Several of the courses also came with a North Carolina wine pairing.

 

JON WILE

Grouper, my favorite course of the night, hits the plating line, where it was paired with Burton Farms broccoli, Bermuda fish chowder, and a Barbee Farm potato hoe cake. The "kitchen" is out in the open, so you can watch all this happen between courses.

 

JON WILE

Something I'm always excited to see on the Heirloom menu made it to Dinner Lab. The candied blackberry leaves were a creative (and tasty) way to use a different part of the blackberry bush.

 


WHERE: Tapas 51
WHAT: Opening night

JON WILE

The chorizo sliders are a sandwich of ricotta from Una Alla Volta, chimichurri with roasted poblanos and grilled onions, and pickled red onion on a dense but crumbly bun that I need to know more about.

 

JON WILE

The "Moooooo" was fantastic. The meat was tender, the taro root fries crisp.

 

JON WILE

The ceviches are also worth ordering; pictured here is the shrimp and octopus ceviche, flavorful and tender. 

 

 

 

Categories: Dine & Dish, Food + Drink