Tuesday, September 4, 2012



By Doc Lawrence


CHARLOTTE, NC—North Carolina’s Queen City is where visitors might reasonably be expected to search for regal cuisine. Look no further than Chef Jim Noble’s heralded The King’s Kitchen, a gourmet establishment that not only has one of the South’s most authentic and creative menus, a full selection of fine wines and wonderful ambience, but also has a mission to make Charlotte a better place. When you meet Chef Jim Noble and wife Karen, you’ll know soon enough that they are very special people.

The King’s Kitchen is a not for profit restaurant where earnings go towards feeding and educating the homeless as well as providing employment to those who deserve a second chance. This Charlotte gem is nothing less than a modern upscale restaurant with a trained staff, a wine selection you’d expect to find in Manhattan and austenitic Southern food.

To date, I have found no restaurant counterpart and if you want a memorable Charlotte dining experience, then come on over for lunch or dinner. So you have to wait a few minutes. No worry. The attractive bar is efficiently operated (i.e. you can get a good drink quickly featuring a “Charlotte pour.”)

The King’s Kitchen continues to win fans and critical acclaim. I dined there with Jim and Karen joined by Carl White, the accomplished host of the popular television show “Life In the Carolinas.” The food, particularly “Aunt Beaut’s Pan Fried Chicken” was wonderful. Each dish had the fresh taste of good food from nearby farms. The wines recommended by our talented waiter were superb.

Chef Jim Noble is a High Point, NC, native whose heartfelt approach to slow food was inspired by French cooking visionaries Auguste Escoffier and Julia Child. Following their lead, he began using local, organic ingredients to prepare meals for his own family. During dinner, he revealed that a trip to Napa in the early 80s introduced him to the benefits of pairing exceptional wines with meals that reflected local sourced food and North Carolina cooking traditions. Today, King’s Kitchen and Chef Jim’s other restaurants showcase his food philosophy.

Some menu items have elevated status with local diners. The seared scallops with low country succotash and sweet copeach suggest a taste of the Outer Banks, while Chef Jim’s glazed pork chop served with his sea island red pea hoppin’ john mirrors much of the food from North Carolina’s Piedmont. Side dishes of renown include properly seasoned collard greens, pan seared cabbage, crowder peas, blackeyed peas, coleslaw, sea island red peas and hugely popular Anson Mills cheese grits,

The wine list demonstrates Jim Noble’s commitment to pair wines with the modern new Southern cuisine offering a personal favorite, the delicious Albarino, Spain’s white wine that is comfortable with shrimp, collard greens or fried chicken. Pinot Noir, and other elegant red wines may be poured with confidence.

The King’s Kitchen is in downtown Charlotte, open for a memorable lunch or dinner. (704) 375.1990. www.kingskitchen.org.

NOTE: The Year of Alabama Food is the ultimate vacation for those who like the cuisine of the Deep South served alongside music and literature. Join me in some lemon icebox pie with Truman Capote, Harper Lee, Nat King Cole and Hank Williams:

1 comment:

  1. That was a great visit Doc. Jim has a set high standards for good eating and good living.