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The Asbury, Charlotte, North Carolina: A Restaurant Review

The Asbury, Charlotte, North Carolina: A Restaurant Review | CosmosMariners.com

While on my trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, one of the things I was most looking forward to was a dinner at The Asbury, the restaurant that's attached to the Dunhill Hotel (read my review of the hotel here).

I'd originally heard about the Asbury back in November 2014 when I discovered a bag of spiced popcorn in my goody bag from a travel writers' luncheon: the popcorn was spicy, a little bit sweet, and completely different than anything I'd had. I ended up fighting for pieces of it when I introduced tastes of it to my family.

I figured that if the chef could make popcorn that exciting, then he must be capable of seriously amazing things when given control of an entire menu. All of the reviews that I read online about the restaurant emphasized Executive Chef Chris Coleman's unique and inventive approach to his dishes: the bar was set high for our dinner, and I was ready to dive in.

On our first night in Charlotte, my dad, my daughter, and I headed down to the restaurant--it's in the lobby of the Dunhill, which is convenient if you're staying there. We arrived around 5:40 p.m. for our 6:00 p.m. reservation, but were told that we needed to wait. We were finally seated 20 minutes later at exactly 6 o'clock. I give the staff kudos for being so prompt, but as there were several tables available (both at 5:40 when we walked up and at 6:00 when we sat down), I'm not sure why we needed to wait. While the lobby of the Dunhill is very nice, it's pretty uneventful if you have a decent wait.

The Asbury, Charlotte, North Carolina: A Restaurant Review | CosmosMariners.com

We were all quite hungry, so I was pleased that our waiter, Donnie, headed over to us as soon as we were seated by the hostess. He efficiently explained the new spring menu--which had only been in existence for about week before we arrived--gave us a few wine suggestions, and left us to ponder our meal choices.

The Asbury, Charlotte, North Carolina: A Restaurant Review | CosmosMariners.com

While I wanted to try the Chef's Tasting menu ($65), I decided to order a few items a la carte since the full tasting can take upwards of 2 hours. Britton's usually a pretty good dining partner, but I didn't feel that I could test her patience for that long.

I ordered two small plates, the terrine of rabbit confit ($10) and the pea and basil orecchiette ($12).
The Asbury, Charlotte, North Carolina: A Restaurant Review | CosmosMariners.com
Pea and basil orecchiette with duck confit salad and locally sourced burrata cheese from Uno Alla Volta

 I also decided to get two sides to share, the minted peas ($6) and the assorted potatoes ($8).

The Asbury, Charlotte, North Carolina: A Restaurant Review | CosmosMariners.com
Assorted potatoes, fresh cheese, mushrooms, and radishes

My dad decided to try the fresh crab and Benton's ham big plate ($30), a selection that came highly recommended by our waiter. Since I'm allergic to shellfish, I like to have other members of my dining party try out those dishes for me.

The Asbury, Charlotte, North Carolina: A Restaurant Review | CosmosMariners.com
Fresh crab and Benton's ham with cauliflower panna cotta, asparagus emulsion, strawberries, and mustard greens

Throughout the meal, the Chef de Cuisine Matthew Krenz also sent out a few amuse bouches so we could sample a larger array from the menu.

For dessert, I chose a dense, dark chocolate cake with coconut and lemon curd garnish, while my dad went with the Chef's Little Bites, a trio of Napoleon-style layered desserts crafted by pastry chef Jossie Perlmutter.

The Asbury, Charlotte, North Carolina: A Restaurant Review | CosmosMariners.com
Passionfruit, lemon, and blood orange and chocolate Chef's Little Bites

Chef Krenz also tempted our taste buds with a homemade strawberry salt water taffy wrapped around a kumquat slice.

Best dish: While I wouldn't have sent any of the dishes back to the kitchen, a few stood out in my mind. The rabbit confit--a daring choice for me, as I'd never tried rabbit previously--was wonderfully seasoned and paired well with the crunchy chili and orange blossom meringue accents.

My dad couldn't stop raving about his crab and ham plate, and he pronounced the crab as some of the freshest and sweetest that he's had in a while.

Britton's favorites (as she tried most everything that came to the table!) were the rabbit confit, the assorted potatoes, and the pea and basil orecchiette (which was quite mild and had a delicious duck confit as one of the components).

Of the desserts, the chocolate cake I ordered was a hit with all three of us. Of my dad's dessert, we both determined that the lemon one was the stand-out.

The Asbury, Charlotte, North Carolina: A Restaurant Review | CosmosMariners.com
Flourless chocolate cake with coconut and lemon curd

Least favorite dish: Although it came recommended by our waiter, neither by dad nor I enjoyed the minted peas. Peas have a delicate flavor, and I thought that the mint overwhelmed the flavor of the peas to the point where they tasted as if I were just eating pea-textured mint. I don't mind mint as a flavoring, but this seemed like perhaps too much of a good thing.

The Asbury, Charlotte, North Carolina: A Restaurant Review | CosmosMariners.com
Minted peas and mushrooms with herbs

Service: Other than the seemingly unnecessary wait at the start of the meal, our service was impeccable. Our waiter was very knowledgeable about the wine menu and happily suggested a selection for my father and I after listening to what we liked in a wine. Donnie also took the time to explain each dish and its components to us as it came out.

If you visit the Asbury and are unsure as to what to order (as the menu, though on the short side, has some amazing choices), just ask your waiter. Donnie guided us through the entire experience flawlessly, offering suggestions as he learned about our palates.


Throughout the meal, Donnie was exceedingly patient with my toddler, making sure that she had extra silverware or a plate for each dish. When Britton decided towards the end of the meal that the window clings near our booth were actually "pretty stickers" (her words, not mine) and tried to dismantle them, Donnie tucked them away out of her reach with a smile.

Atmosphere: The restaurant is on the more formal side, but you can leave the three piece suit and diamonds at home. I wore a tailored black jumpsuit, heels, and a wrap, while my dad wore suit pants, a dress shirt, and a sports coat. Both of us felt appropriately dressed based on what everyone else was wearing.
The Asbury, Charlotte, North Carolina: A Restaurant Review | CosmosMariners.com
The restaurant wasn't completely empty, despite what this picture may show. Everyone else can just gotten up to leave for their theatre show!
The Asbury caters to a more adult crowd, but I didn't feel completely out of place with a semi-well behaved toddler. If you have a picky eater (of any age), you'll probably want to peruse the menu before hand, as you won't find any boxed mac and cheese or chicken fingers here! If you do have younger children, the lunch seating is more casual, while the dinner crowd was more mature. The restaurant does a lot of business with the theatre goers, as the Carolina Theatre is directly across Tryon, so you'll see well-dressed people in the evenings.

Location: As it is attached to the Dunhill Hotel, the Asbury is conveniently located in the middle of Uptown Charlotte. Enter through the lobby of the hotel or through the street entrance.

Final Thoughts: I cannot recommend this place enough! Throughout the meal, my dad and I kept telling one another, "This is so good. This is so good." Chef Coleman has done an excellent job taking local, seasonally available meats and vegetables and turning them into something worthy of an occasion. Even though he's quite adventurous with some of the flavor combinations, you'll have a palate-pleasing experience if you trust his judgement and try something new.

In conclusion, this isn't food--it's an art form.

The Asbury is located inside the Dunhill Hotel at 235 North Tryon Street in Uptown Charlotte.

Which of the dishes would you like to try? Where is your favorite restaurant located?

I was provided with a complimentary dining experience in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Asbury, Charlotte, North Carolina: A Restaurant Review | CosmosMariners.com