Background: Kid Cashew. So hot right now. (see also: Hansel). Kid Cashew opened on East Boulevard about two weeks ago and Scallionpancake is here to give you the scoop. The owner, Martin Sprock, also owns RuRu’s Tacos & Tequila and Leroy Fox. This spot is what I (affectionately!) term a cancerous location--it has housed two or three failed restaurants in a short period of time. Is this the restaurant that ends the losing streak? Well, in the words of Marcel the Shell…“read on!”
Eat This: The menu is a family-style affair with selections for small plates, salads, sandwiches and “from the butcher” items--meat cooked on the grill served with a selection of sauces.
Small Plates--Hummus, tzatziki, & eggplant caponata dips served with grilled bread. We tried all three, and they were awesome. The hummus was super thick with a strong coriander flavor, the eggplant caponata was sprinkled with golden raisins, but my favorite was the tzatziki. Sometimes this iconic yogurt dip can taste anemic--like the chef threw some cucumber slices into a cup of Dannon and called it a day. Kid Cashew’s version was thick and had that distinct tangy greek yogurt taste. At this point, we were all feeling pretty good about the state of things. Then we got the Chargrilled Spanish Octopus, and our lovely dining companion Daniela wanted to know why the heck you would go out of your way to say “chargrilled” when the flavor was anything but. We didn’t even see grill marks. The roasty, crispy giangte beans served with this dish were our favorite part. Otherwise, bland and run of the mill: skip.
Salads--We unanimously agreed that the Passionate Beet & Arugula salad was the way to go when we were ordering; it’s served with whipped goat cheese and toasted pistachios. You had us at goat cheese. However, we were unpleasantly surprised that the goat cheese was a microscopic smear on the bottom of the dish, and we could barely make up the flavor. The beets were seemingly poached in a sweet, cinnamon broth, rendering the entire dish too sweet and not at all what we were expecting. Lots of other tables had the Farmer Greek salad, which looked really tasty.
Sandwiches: We tried the Lamb Burger on a brioche bun. This was our favorite dish of the night, but it’s a little difficult to split burgers/sandwiches between more than two people. The burger was cooked perfectly, but it was served with two awkward baby potatoes that were hanging out like a garnish. Either offer potatoes as a side or don’t--this was a weird tease (and the potatoes were undercooked).
We would have liked to have tried one of the meat dishes & more of the sandwiches--maybe next time. We left feeling pretty nonplussed, on the whole. This place definitely has room to grow, but we would certainly give it another shot after they have been open a few more weeks.
Dessert: They have two options right now, a caramel ice cream and a sponge cake--we got the cake. With a dessert of this quality, it might be better not to offer anything at all. It tasted like a cake from a grocery store --bland and somewhat dry.
Drink: They have a Goat’s Breast Milk cocktail--but the name is just to shock you (uh, well played), this drink does not have milk of any kind. It’s a sweet and tangy mix of ouzo, amaretto, lemonade, and mint. We ordered a pitcher, and while the flavor was great--refreshing, and not too sweet, it was very light on the booze. It was basically mint lemonade. Still good, but not what we were expecting or worth the price tag ($30 for a carafe).
Atmosphere: This place is adorable. I couldn’t stop marveling at the details when we first walked in--water carafes in an antique bathtub, chandeliers, and cool knickknacks scattered about. My only complaint is that the lighting was harsh--why do so many dinner places insist on having lights like a supermarket? What happened to mood lighting? We are pushing 30--we need it.
Southern Hospitality: Our server was very personable, and someone else was quick to fix our wobbly table. The food came out quickly and with a smile. They were perhaps a bit too quick to try and take our plates away (before we were finished), but that’s a minor complaint.
Frankie’s Notes: Don’t take “Tax Season Jason” to dinner if you aren’t ready for him to throw expletives across the table at the top of his lungs; What does Daniela want? Grill marks. When does she want them? uh, yesterday; How do you measure the level of passion in a beet? Cinnamon, apparently; Only really good friends can split a hamburger into thirds; Restaurants that are about as romantic as a Wal-Mart on a Wednesday afternoon; We are not sure if this was worth missing Tuesday Trivia over--they need more Johnny & hot wings.
Rating: 3 out of 5
1608 East Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28203
11 am-10 pm daily