Fresh Take: The World on Your Plate at Mariposa

It gathers dishes from around the globe and serves them under the lights of uptown
Charlotte Nc November 9th 2021 Interior, Executive Chef Jonathan Moore Gullah Paella, Street Corn Fritters, Ceviche Aguachile Cocktail Aix En Provence Cocktail With Gin, Lavender Syrup, And Sparkling White Wine Photographed In Charlotte, Nc On No
The Gullah Paella at Mariposa. Photos by Peter Taylor.

You’re walking down Tryon Street as the sun sets over uptown. The office buildings and high-rises, which look like cement blocks by day, light up, and their windows twinkle like Christmas lights. At the top of the Mint Museum’s grand staircase is a new restaurant everyone’s buzzing about, and you’ve snagged a coveted reservation.

Charlotte, Nc December 14th 2021 Food At Mariposa Lamb Belly Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps Chipotle Crusted Short Ribs Candied Apple Dessert Photographed In Charlotte, Nc On December 14th 2021. Photo By Peter Taylor

Pork Belly Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps come with kimchi slaw, roasted peanuts, and sweet mirin sauce.

Mariposa—Spanish for “butterfly”—opened in October, and it’s one of those places that makes you want to don high heels or a button-down shirt and have a proper date night. It replaces Halcyon, the farm-to-table restaurant that closed in December 2020, and got a sexy makeover with prism chandeliers, velvet couches, and murals by local artist Owl. The team behind Mother Earth Group, which also owned Halcyon, created a menu to match their new theme. They call it a “multicultural culinaria,” inspired by founder Jill Marcus’ travels around the globe.

Brad Grubb is the master maître d’ and a level 3 sommelier, and he says his goal is for you to try something new. If you normally order prosecco, try the Aix en Provence cocktail ($16) with gin, lavender syrup, and sparkling white wine. If you prefer wine, allow Grubb to recommend a Spanish Txakoli or Grecian Assyrtiko. Their namesake wine, Mariposa, is a Chilean red blend and a nice alternative if you like a robust cabernet in winter.

Charlotte Nc November 9th 2021 Interior, Executive Chef Jonathan Moore Gullah Paella, Street Corn Fritters, Ceviche Aguachile Cocktail Aix En Provence Cocktail With Gin, Lavender Syrup, And Sparkling White Wine Photographed In Charlotte, Nc On No

Mariposa’s dining room is adorned with prism chandeliers, velvet couches, and murals by local artist Owl.

Charlotte Nc November 9th 2021 Interior, Executive Chef Jonathan Moore Gullah Paella, Street Corn Fritters, Ceviche Aguachile Cocktail Aix En Provence Cocktail With Gin, Lavender Syrup, And Sparkling White Wine Photographed In Charlotte, Nc On No

Executive Chef Jonathan Moore.

Executive Chef Jonathan Moore, who also led the kitchen at Halcyon, traded “farm-to-table” for “world-to-table.” The menu begins with “small shareables.” Try the Crispy Hot Chicken Skins ($10) for some Southern flavor, the Ceviche Aguachile ($13) for a Peruvian kick, and the Lamb Belly Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps ($16) for a taste of Korea. A party of four with a hearty appetite can start with three or four shareables and have plenty of room for two larger plates.

Charlotte Nc November 9th 2021 Interior, Executive Chef Jonathan Moore Gullah Paella, Street Corn Fritters, Ceviche Aguachile Cocktail Aix En Provence Cocktail With Gin, Lavender Syrup, And Sparkling White Wine Photographed In Charlotte, Nc On No

Above: Ceviche Aguachile. Below: Chipotle-Crusted Short Ribs (bottom) with aji sweet potatoes and chimichurri.

Charlotte, Nc December 14th 2021 Food At Mariposa Lamb Belly Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps Chipotle Crusted Short Ribs Candied Apple Dessert Photographed In Charlotte, Nc On December 14th 2021. Photo By Peter Taylor

The “large shareables” include Chipotle-Crusted Short Ribs ($38), so tender you don’t need a knife, and Piri Piri Chicken ($18), marinated in a tangy cilantro-lime sauce. If you order only one large plate, though, get the Gullah Paella ($35), a heaping skillet of crisped Carolina gold rice pilaf, andouille and chorizo sausages, Gulf shrimp, oysters, soffritto, and saffron. And if you find your order was too ambitious, bring the rest home for an encore meal tomorrow, because you’ll regret it if you miss dessert.

Pastry Chef Sam Carrasquero-Chappelle developed a “sweet conversations” lineup of shareable confections. The Coconut Semifreddo ($8), a kind of frozen mousse, tastes like a tropical vacation, with chocolate coconut, tamarind, mango, and dulce de leche. The Manjari Torte ($8) looks like an edible present: a perfect cylinder of pistachio cake wrapped in a layer of Manjari chocolate, topped with namelaka cream and whipped mascarpone, and garnished with raspberries, mint leaves, and edible flowers. It’s the kind of decadent dessert you order on your birthday and dream about for the rest of the year.

Charlotte, Nc December 14th 2021 Food At Mariposa Lamb Belly Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps Chipotle Crusted Short Ribs Candied Apple Dessert Photographed In Charlotte, Nc On December 14th 2021. Photo By Peter Taylor

Candied Apple with vanilla white chocolate mousse, apple compote, and a graham cracker crumble.

Your meal is winding down, but you’re not ready for the evening to end. So you order another glass of Mariposa and pretend you have nowhere to be in the morning. That’s the thing about restaurants like this. They invite you to shake off the day, settle in on a velvet couch, gaze out the floor-to-ceiling windows, and take in the glittering skyline.


Don’t leave without trying: The Gullah Paella ($35) with crisped Carolina gold rice pilaf, andouille and chorizo sausages, Gulf shrimp, oysters, soffritto, and saffron.

 

Mariposa
500 S. Tryon St.

Hours:
5-10 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday

Categories: Food + Drink