I had the opportunity to try exactly one non-convention-center meal while I was in Charlotte this week. A few of us went to Ratcliffe on the Green, which is a very cool restaurant in a former Beaux Arts florist building (the Ratcliffe Florist neon sign is still out front).
The wine list was OK—I’ve been trained to look for certain Italian wines and am always a little miffed when Tuscany is the only part of the boot that makes an appearance—but the food was great. There were raves about the duck, the filet, and the rabbit (I had the latter and it had quite a lot to recommend it).
But for my money the best and most imaginative options were the starters. Foie gras brulée? Fabulous. The spare ribs were tasty too. But the absolute treat was the Eight-Piece Quail Bucket, which took the classic southern fried chicken and biscuits trope and miniaturized it. Little tiny pieces of quail piping hot and breaded with a crackling spicy not too greasy coating, with two biscuits the size of a silver dollar alongside. Um, fabulous. What a fun little restaurant; if more of Charlotte is like that, I’ll have to check it out again.