Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Cozy, Inviting Interior
Image courtesy of
The Food Baby bottom line:
  • Customshop's reputation as an Elizabeth "gem" is absolutely true.
  • Cozy atmosphere, sexy crowd, and great service.
  • If the Living Social menu is that good, I MUST return to try everything else
I, along with everyone else in Charlotte, purchased the Living Social coupon for Customshop in the fall. I usually have decent self restraint with Groupons, Living Socials, etc - because if I didn't try, I would buy them every single day. This one was too good to pass up: A 3-course meal for two, including a glass of wine, for 50 bucks! So my coupon had been sitting there, flaccid and unused for months, until I finally busted it out for a romantic Valentine's dinner with my hubaroni.

From the outside, Customshop is fairly unassuming - on the end of an adorable strip on Elizabeth Ave. The dining room is very intimate and dimly lit, and was jampacked with attractive couples. We were given a separate Living Social menu, which offered three options each for the appetizer and entree, and Apple Walnut Brioche Bread Pudding to share for dessert.

We got our glasses of wine from our sweet and polite server, Josh, and placed our orders. I had huge plans for sappy, lovey Valentine's conversation with Shawn, but had to abort the mission since were were approximately 4 inches from the table next to us. So instead, I just talked about The Food Baby the whole time (how lucky for Shawn).

Alright TFB fans, please forgive me - I totally forgot to snap pics of our first course! Send me back to food blogging 101.

So do your best to picture this: Kobe beef carpaccio with fresh horseradish and lemon - served on a wooden board with baked crackers. I loved the flavor of this carpaccio: the sharp, tangy flavors of horseradish and lemon brightened up the beef, but things were balanced with a drizzle of fruity olive oil and microgreens. Shawn's salad was simple and clean: butter lettuce, dijon vinaigrette, and some seriously amazing blue cheese. So picture all that - half eaten - when I shrieked an expletive upon realizing I forgot to take pics.

The entree course was wonderful. I had the scallops, beautifully presented over a sweet potato puree, shitake mushroom caps, and asparagus slices. The scallops were perfectly grilled and pleasantly salty. The sweet potato puree was yummy and comforting, but I did comment that the dish would have been better served by having less of it on the plate (the amount overwhelmed the dish just a bit).

Beautiful Scallops

Shawn's beef short ribs were flavorful and had some sexy marbling, but the star of the plate for me was the crazy delicious kale served alongside. Each bite was infused with garlic and salt, and perhaps some know it's good when I tell you kale is the star of a beef dish. I think the universe just imploded.

Beef Short Ribs and Killer Kale

Okay, my favorite part of the night: Apple Walnut Brioche Bread Pudding. This took my already-sizable food baby to a new level, because I could NOT stop eating it. Crusty on the outside and creamy on the inside, sweet and nutty and topped with a perfect scoop of ice cream.....ahhh I'm getting nostalgic writing about it. I sunk into a whack depression when the last bite was scooped up.

We shall meet again.

What a fabulous, romantic place. If the Living Social menu is any sort of preview, we will be back to try every other delicious-looking item on the menu. I've heard from multiple sources that the squid ink linguine is to die for. One of those sources was the couple at the table mere inches from us, who we were definitely NOT eavesdropping on.


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1 comment:

  1. so i am a lame-o that still hasn't used our fall living social coupon either... vern and I are going to have to go ASAP =) can't wait for that bread pudding!