Bruce Moffett — the guy behind Good Food, Barrington’s and Stagioni — has now opened his fourth restaurant named N.C. Red in Plaza Midwood.
N.C. Red describes itself as a “New England-New South” restaurant, and will take the Plaza Midwood space formerly occupied by Comida (and the iconic Penguin Drive-In before that).
Owner Bruce Moffett is a widely respected chef in Charlotte, and all three of his current restaurants are in the top 10 restaurants in our city.
“N.C. Red is unlike any of my former restaurants,” said Bruce. “The artwork in the space along with the atmosphere of Plaza Midwood give it this unique quality that just makes you want to come and stay for a while. I’m thrilled to share this with Charlotte.”
Note: Starting off, N.C. Red will only be open for dinner — lunch and brunch will be added at a later date. Hours are 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 5:30 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday (closed Sunday and Monday). Expect long wait times given N.C. Red’s buzz, their small space and the fact that they’re not doing reservations.
Menu highlights: Nashville hot chicken, fresh fried fish, Point Judith calamari, lobster roll, clam chowder, poached crab salad, oysters, mussels and clams.
Oysters: The restaurant will have a legit oyster and clam program sourced from both the East and West Coasts and served up as grilled, Rockefeller, casino and broiled.
Chef: Andrew Dodd, a Nashville native and previously the executive chef at Stagioni, will be N.C. Red’s executive chef as well as a partner in the business. “Coming up with a menu that included a mix of classic Southern cuisine with Northeastern style seafood, with a focus on sustainably farmed bivalves from coast to coast farms, was really exciting,” said Andrew.
Layout: Inside you’ll find a handful of large blue booths as well as an eight-seat bar. It’s not very large inside, so expect long wait times given Bruce’s reputation and N.C. Red buzz. The restaurant also has a cool covered outdoor patio with a large octopus mural painted by local artist Randall Kane, who also hand-painted oyster wallpaper in the restrooms.
Name: Bruce grew up along the New England seashore. The name N.C. Red combines his love for our state along with Rhode Island’s state bird, the red rooster.
What’s next: Bruce will open his fifth restaurant, an Asian concept named Bao + Broth, this spring at Optimist Hall.
Agenda related guide: 17 best new restaurants in Charlotte
Full N.C. Red menu
Chicken and fresh fish
- Nashville hot or fried classic ($15 for half a chicken, $28 for a whole chicken)
- Fresh fish – grilled or fried (market price)
- Point Judith Calamari – pepper jelly, caper aioli, charred lemon, flash fried ($14 )
- Stuffies – North Carolina clams, peppers, bread crumbs, Chouriço ($11)
- Baked Seafood Casserole – Bay scallops, lump crab, leeks, Bay shrimp, bread crumbs ($12)
- Seafood Cakes – clams, lump crab, corn meal, smoked tomato remoulade ($13)
- Lobsta Roll – lobster, warm buttered house potato roll, lemon ($22)
- Buttermilk Biscuits – cheddar Bay spread (4 for $6, or 6 for $8)
- Hot Water Corn Bread – Lipton tea butter (4 for $6, or 6 for $8)
- Braised Collard Greens – ham hock, chow chow ($7)
- Hoppin John – smoked bacon, peppers, black eyed peas ($8)
- Smoky Mac and Cheese – smoked gouda and cheddar ($12)
- Corn Pudding – fresno pepper, chives ($8)
- Cole Slaw – shredded broccoli, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries ($7)
- Horseradish Potato Salad – mustard, green onions, Dukes ($7)
- Fried Pickled Green Tomatoes – smoked tomato aioli ($8)
Soups and salads
- Rhode Island Clam Chowder – bacon, clam broth, house-made oyster crackers ($9)
- New England Clam Chowder – bacon, cream, house-made oyster crackers ($11)
- Poached Crab Salad – iceberg and romaine lettuce, Green Goddess, avocado, poached egg ($16)
- Iceberg Wedge Salad – buttermilk herb dressing, smoked cheddar, house-made oyster crackers, tomatoes ($9)
- Cucumber Salad – local feta, roasted peppers, tomatoes, olives, red wine vinaigrette ($9)
Clams and oysters
- Grilled – herb garlic butter, charred lemon (4 oysters $12, 10 clams $12)
- Rockefeller – smoked bacon, creamed collards, biscuit bread crumbs (4 oysters $14, 10 clams $14)
- Casino – wine, smoked bacon, bell peppers, Parmesan, bread crumbs (4 oysters $14, 10 clams $14)
- Broiled – Calabrian pepper white barbecue sauce, charred lemon (4 oysters $12, 10 clams $12)
Steamed mussels and clams
- Firestyle – smoked tomato, Fresno peppers, Chouriço, house hot sauce, grilled bread ($16)
- Gansett style – blistered tomatoes, Naragansett beer, garlic, oregano, grilled bread ($15)
- Southern – smoked bacon, ham broth, whole mustard, cream, shallots, grilled bread ($16)
- Daily selection of pies ($7)
- Seasonal soft serve cone ($6)
- Cheerwine float ($6)
Given the unique menu, Bruce’s track record, and chef Andrew’s execution at Stagioni, I anticipate N.C. Red being an immediate (and lasting) hit.