Over priced, average quality, poor service..
Party of 6 with reservations - very tight tables in very small room - large one room dining area; Wattress was unattentive -- didn't explain menu/ala-carte etc - didn't ask for drink orders/appetizers-- straight to entree orders. One couple did order bottle of wine but after taking order she didn't ask remaining 2 couples if they wished mixed drink or wine.
I asked her to confirm the "lump crab" description of the crab cakes since I lived on Chesapeake Bay and have had them many times there. However, in other restaurants, outside of sea side locations they are mostly filler and bland. She assured me they were lump crab (although not backfin) so I ordered them. Crab cakes arrived on beautiful finished plate but were perfectly flat / perfectly round shape and blacken on bottom --- should have realized that probably meant machine made. Couldn't find a teaspoon of crab in the filler. After finally getting her attention -- she didn't check back after food delivered -- I showed her mixture spread out on plate. She didn't say "sorry" or offer any apology. As she started to leave, I asked that it be returned to the chef. She asked if I wanted to order something else -- "No". Left with the plate.
One diner had duck --- bland per his description. One diner had salmon -- very small portion and also so thin the flavor was grilled out of it -- very pricey for so little.
Wattress did not return for water refill and at the end of the meal did not ask if we wanted desserts; The dessert table was placed at the end of our long table!! because the room was so small - this was about 8 feet inside the door.
Bill included 20% tip for six which is normal, however, the "comp'd" lump crab cakes also were part of the 20% tip calculation. No apology from the owner who was within sight of the table when she signed off on the "comp'd" entree removing it from out bill.
Bottom line --- much better, cheaper, food and service at many other places in Charlotte.
charming, romantic little spot. We were driving past and went in on a whim. It's a small, cozy place, very nice ambience. The tin ceiling was a nice touch; the small room give an air of intimacy but was not cramped. They had a nice quiet patio in the back. We were surprised to be greeted at the door by the owners' young daughter. She was nonplussed by the fact that we didn't have reservations, but manage to gather herself and promptly got us a nice spot. The service was excellent. Our server was inquiring but not smothering. The she-crab soup was good, subtle and sweet. I had the pork chop with sausage grits. Very good - nicely grilled. The grits were not too strong. The fresh vegetables were excellent. My table-mate had the striped sea bass with gnocchi. The fish was subtle, which was underwhelming at first, but by the end of the meal was good - a lot of restaurants have strong flavored foods that taste good with the first bite, but are way too rich by the time you finish the entree. We didn't save room for dessert. Overall an excellent experience. I think the location helped - it could easily be Uptown or in South Park or somewhere else trendy, but by being in Matthews, it's cozy and unpretentious. We'll definitely be there again.
Fabulous!. Best rest in Charlotte Area. We had the Red Snapper Special and the Halibut. Highly recommend both!!!
Considered one of Charlotte's best-kept secrets, there's no pretension hiding anywhere in Hidden Garden..
A tiny storefront along Matthews' historic Trade Street, Hidden Garden welcomes visitors with a clapboard sign announcing "Dinner" or "Lunch." Inside, well-spaced tables allow you to have a conversation without shouting. The exposed-brick walls, hardwood floors and a mauve-and-green color scheme make you feel warm all over.
The service is equally pleasant and un-stuffy. Our server, for instance, unfolded our napkins from our drink glasses, then held them for us rather than placing them in our laps. He later brought us a complimentary sample of the chef's smoked trout mousse with table water crackers. A nice gesture.
Entrees at first seem familiar: pork tenderloin, trout, filet mignon. Their accompaniments, however, are just quirky enough to make you smile. The cornmeal-crusted trout, for instance, is served with a creamy polenta (to die for) and a tomato-ginger relish. The wild mushroom-crusted halibut arrives with braised leeks in a mushroom broth. We ordered the special--a veal chop with apple-infused au jus, which came with a savory potato-mushroom pie that tasted delicately of Roquefort. (Two small gripes from my dining companion: Our server did not disclose the price of the special, and it seemed a smallish entree--only one veal chop.)
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