3.02.2012

Nothing Beats Walking Downstairs for Dinner: My Night at the Gallery Restaurant

On a bitterly cold and rainy evening, nothing beats leaving your hotel room and walking downstairs to dine on fine cuisine. It’s effortless! I don’t even care if there is valet parking at your fingertips, and you may not get THAT wet if you venture into town.  Why get in your car and go anywhere else when the best is right where you are staying for the night?

Gallery Restaurant located in the Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge
Charlotte, NC
If you’re joining me for the first time this week, my husband and I recently spent a night at the beautiful and luxurious Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge in Charlotte, North Carolina without our kids. This Starwood Luxury Collection property is absolutely top-notch. The lobby and rooms are gorgeous, and, well, the spa is nothing short of fabulous. We were only there for one night, but we packed a lot in that one night, all without leaving the hotel. 

This staircase near the restaurant made me want to come down the stairs and channel my inner Scarlett O' Hara 
We had dinner reservations at 6:30 p.m. in the Gallery Restaurant. It’s the hotel’s only restaurant, but it’s one restaurant with a lot of accolades. It’s a Forbes Four-Star, Best of N.C., award-winning restaurant with an emphasis on contemporary American fare. The farm-to-table inspired menu changes seasonally to provide the freshest local ingredients.


We're so happy that we only had to walk downstairs to get this fabulous meal.
The restaurant is also well known for its beef. It serves 100 percent USDA-graded Prime Steak, a superior grade which accounts for only 2 percent of all the beef sold in the USA.

I knew that little fact prior to dinner, and, as a result, I had visions of a filet mignon dancing in my head all day. Our server, Ryan, couldn’t convince me to do the five- or seven-course Chef’s Tasting Menu, which comes highly recommended. As soon as he mentioned the filet and scallops special with truffle herb crispy potatoes and broccoli, I was sold on that entrée.

My filet, cooked mediurm rare, was served with a peppercorn cognac sauce. 
It was outstanding and so tender. The savory pairing of the filet and sautéed scallops was a perfect selection for me.  I would have eaten all of it had I not been so full from devouring my exquisite roasted beet salad, on top of the other little surprises that Ryan brought for us to try.  

A favorite surprise was mini buttered poached lobster, which I honestly may be thinking about for years to come now.  I don’t eat a lot of lobster, but I’m truly spoiled after eating this decadent dish.  It was absolutely divine.

But let’s talk about the true shining star of the night: the sensational toasted coconut cake.

I've ranked this coconut cake as the best that I've ever tasted.
I think the chef put a heart on it because he knew I was about to fall in love. The Gallery Restaurant has a sweet dessert list. In all honesty, I was so full that I didn’t know if I could even eat dessert, but when I saw the coconut cake on the menu, I couldn’t resist. Coconut cake is my absolute favorite dessert. You may even call me a coconut cake snob.  I never make it myself, but I’m critical of those who do, in an expert tasting kind of way.  My husband is not as big a fan of the Southern delicacy as I am, but we always share our desserts, so he let me have my choice.

All I can say about this sweet sensation is that it is EXTRAORDINARY. Hands down, my favorite dish of the night, and the competition was really stiff, too.

And Will agreed. As a non-coconut cake fan, he told Ryan that it was the best he had ever eaten, too.

We ate every last bite. We joked with Ryan that he needed to get us a luggage cart to roll us upstairs to our parlor suite. We walked, though, and I probably burned 15 calories as we raced to the Gallery Bar for a nightcap. 

The Gallery Bar, well-known for its extensive single malt Scotch collection, is open to 2AM on the weekends. 
And then the next morning, I managed to eat again.  The restaurant's breakfast specialty is french toast.


Well, time to get back to reality, and back to our kids.  But, I'll be dreaming about my time at The Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge for many nights to come.  It was a perfect stay.  We left feeling refreshed, renewed, and reconnected.

Want to Go:
The Gallery Restaurant
Located in The Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge, which is a Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel, and a Forbes Four-Star and AAA Four Diamond recognized hotel.
10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway
Charlotte, N.C.

Related Posts: 
Pack Your Bags: We're Heading to the Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge
Every Day Needs to be a Spa Day: My Heavenly Experience at the Spa at Ballantyne






Disclaimer: My thanks to the Bissell Corporation for having me as a media guest. Even though my visit was complimentary, all opinions are my own.
Gallery Restaurant at Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge on Urbanspoon

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