In the South, food is serious business. There is a lot of sweat, and pride that goes into this region’s dishes. With the knowledge and the alchemy of seasoning one must master, it’s easy to get it wrong and you certainly can’t fake it. I’ve lived in the South all my life and I have seen establishments fall by the way-side as they try to fabricate a stereotypical southern menu … some feeble attempt at being “cute” or “quaint”. It’s always a menu of what they think Grandma would have made that typically just ends up being a bland, and overcooked hot mess. Places like this try to hide the poor quality of food by the decor, serving it up on plates that have “Ya’ll” or “Bless Your Heart” on it … like that is suppose to make it all ok.
No, it takes real skill to cook southern food. This region’s cuisine pulls from all cultures and ethnic backgrounds and you have to know what you are doing to get it right.
We have found a place in Charlotte, NC that pulls this off very nicely. It’s called Haberdish, a southern kitchen and craft cocktail bar who dishes out southern inspired food influenced by the history of the mill town of North Charlotte (known as NoDa) .
This place is rustic and open, with shelves of delicious booze against a handsome looking white-clay brick wall. The bar top is a magnificent soap stone that came from a quarry in Virginia. They also have salvage denim on their interior seating that was produced in Cone Mills, N.C. and their table tops are hand crafted locally in Charlotte. The bar taps are reused spindles from a former mill, and the beautiful copper lights are hand-spun, designed and assembled in Charlotte as well.
It’s a very welcoming and intimate place. The hostesses are nice and accommodating. We tried to sit outside in the front of the restaurant but it started to rain, so they nicely and quickly moved us to the side patio that has a unique pergola from Belgium where the overhead slats open and close which allows customers to still sit outside without getting wet. Once it stopped raining they opened the slates back open so the sun could shine through. Ingenious idea!
Now, lets get to the good part.
The Food and Drinks
When we looked at the menu we were surprised to see the selection. There were many signature southern items, but they were anything but typical.
- Smoked Deviled Eggs
- Liver Mush Toast
- Kale Grits
- Smokey boiled peanuts
Thats just to name a few small items.
A true sign of a good restaurant is when you have trouble ordering because you want all the things! So, what we ended up doing, and something we recommend, is choosing a few different items and share. You can check out there menu right here
The first move was towards the hush puppies (served with this delicious sweet tea butter). Next, went went with the pickles because well…I love pickles. With the pickles you can choose from dill, bread & butter or the daily pickles. On this particular day, they had these spicy pickles which were just damn dynamite! They had a huge kick to them but they were fantastic!
With our appetizers we ordered some cocktails. Jillian got the Smoked Mint Julep and I got an Old Fashion. The Smoked Mint Julep was everything we had hoped for. Most places butcher this cocktail but Haberdish delivered the goods. For those who have never had a Mint Julep, you must try theirs and for those who love this cocktail like we do, you will appreciate their take on it.
As for the Old Fashion, most places can’t make a proper one, leaving you wishing you had never ordered it in the first place and I always judge a bar by their Old Fashion. Haberdish yet again came through. They just know how to make cocktails, period.
For the Main Dishes we went for the Pork Shank and the surprising good brined, and Smoked Chicken, a juicy concoction glossed with Alabama-style white barbecue sauce. We also had the BBQ glazed carrots and charred okra.
The chicken might be one of the best menu items we have tasted in a long time and if you go, you must absolutely have this dish. The portion size is great for two people.
Every single dish was thoughtful, exciting and delicious. Hiberdish does an fantastic job of giving you a complete dining experience without having to spend loads of cash on pomp and over priced food accompanied with ill-made cocktails. This place has both style, and just a great vibe to it. You back all that up with great food, and you almost get into the realm of perfection. Take a bow Haberdish … well done!
FOR YOUR VISIT: No, they do not take reservations. BUT, wait, the good news! They use the No Wait app so you can see your wait times and even add your name to the waiting list before you arrive.