For the longest time, uptown has lacked a true sea food restaurant. Sure places have seafood on the menu, sure there’s plenty of sushi and sure there is McCormick and Schmick’s (fine place but I just can’t count chains) but nothing dedicated to serving a massive Charlotte population that loves seafood.
Paul Manley (the man behind Growler’s and Crepe Cellar in NoDa) has come to change that and give us Sea Level. Located in the Hearst building, with an entrance on 5th Street (next to Connolly’s patio) oysters will be the main focus and Paul has assured me there will be non-seafood items on the menu for me to enjoy.
The décor inside fits a semi-casual and semi-upscale vibe that makes it incredibly inviting but also has a sense of cool that is not stuffy. I love the mural (collage seen below) that will don a wall right at the entrance.
He has assembled a pretty powerful team to ensure this place delivers the goods to uptown. Chris Boylston (formerly of Heist, Passion8 and Barrington’s) will be the executive chef and Colleen Hughes (formerly of Crepe Cellar) will be creating the craft cocktail menu.
What I love about this place is beyond the food (I am not a seafood eater so sorry in advance) but the activity it will bring to the ever evolving 5th Street corridor. The patio is enormous and the architectural elements in the design incorporate it into the Hearst building and make it appear as if it’s always been there. Previous restaurants have failed in this space because they had no visibility to 5th Street. Paul understands this and has created an atmosphere that will continue the evolution of the corridor into restaurant row.
More on this project as they get closer to opening, but I am impressed with the space and will look to my seafood lovers to tell me how the oysters are.