Before Upstream opened in 2000, seafood here meant fish camps and the occasional grilled tuna. Whiz-bang chef Tom Condron changed that. He started flying in fresh fish every day and playing with flavors, seamlessly melding American South with Pacific Rim. Nearly a decade later, he's still at it, changing his menu monthly and employing as many as seven ingredients on one magnificent plate. Meanwhile, owner Tom Condron has refreshed the décor, adding upscale outdoor seating and transforming the bar into a destination spot.

Upstream on the Cheap
To get a taste of Upstream's ambience and cuisine for less, check it out at lunch, when almost all of its menu items range from $6 to $12, including its Pecan Crusted Brook Trout ($11) and Pan Seared Crab Cakes ($12). Your best bet for saving at Upstream is to join the e-mail club, from which almost once a month you'll be alerted to specials and discounts, such as coupons for carryout or wine-pairing dinners.

6902 Phillips Place Ct., 704-556-7730,

Categories: Feature, Food + Drink, Restaurants & Food