Friday, January 17, 2014

Dunhill's new restaurant: The Asbury

The Asbury is the name of the new restaurant going into the Dunhill Hotel, slated to open "in the coming weeks," and described as "a modern Southern restaurant that honors the past, celebrates the seasons and looks toward the future."

Taking the spot of the former Harvest Moon, this is the newest work from chef Chris Coleman, formerly at McNinch House. The Asbury gets its name from Louis Asbury Sr., the Charlotte architect who designed the 1929 hotel, which opened as Mayfair Manor just a few weeks after the stock market crash.

Coleman plans to use heirlom ingredients and specialty items from small family farms in the region, and the place will serve three meals daily, plus brunch on weekends.

Sample dishes: Maw Maw's cast iron drop biscuits with housemade bacon onion jam (the biscuit recipe is Coleman's grandmother's); Blenheim tempura N.C. oysters with apple chow chow; butter-poached N.C. shrimp with polenta, preserved lemon, smoked cabbage, pork sausage and red pepper relish; and pan-roasted guinea hen with Calvander cheese and brioche dressing (the hens are raised for Coleman by Carolina Heritage Farms in Florence, S.C.).

For the history buffs: When Mayfair Manor opened, its facilities were a revelation: According to a description on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission's site, the kitchen had "the latest in cooking conveniences ... an electric dishwasher, a sterilizer with a 5000 dish capacity, steam tables, electric potato peelers, and mixing machines. A ventilating system capable of changing the kitchen air every three minutes was also on the list of notable extras. A skylight was built into the kitchen ceiling for the benefit of the workers. The dining room management planned to include a bakery in the future, and a special dessert and salad department was already incorporated into the kitchen organization.")