Restaurant Roundup: Elwood’s, Chuy’s, Urban Sip {Charlotte, NC}

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ELWOODS BARBECUE & BURGER BAR

Invite me to brunch, and you’ll get a look.  When I ask you “what time” ELWOODS BBQwith furrowed eyebrows, it’s because I’m trying to determine whether you’re inviting me to have 10am brunch (AKA breakfast) or 12pm brunch (AKAlunch).  I don’t do brunch.  I love breakfast and I love lunch.  Why consolidate the eating joy into one meal?

Enter Elwoods Barbecue & Burger Bar‘s new brunch menu.  Needless to say, I ate my words.  Brunch vendetta be gone.  How could I say no knowing their juicy brisket makes an appearance in several of the menu items?  Exactly.  You can get straight-up brisket and eggs if you’d like, but if we’re doing brunch, might as well get a little fancy and go with my top pick:  the brisket BBQ Benedict with poached eggs and grilled tomatoes nestled on English muffin halves and topped with their signature red sauce.  It made a brunch believer out of me.Elwoods Brisket Benedict

If you’re not in the mood for BBQ (blasphemy!), their take on chicken and waffles, with buttermilk fried chicken tenders, a homestyle waffle, and honey maple syrup is a solid choice.  They’ve also got French toast make with thick-cut Texas toast, and you can even get it stuffed with peanut butter and banana or strawberry and cream cheese. Elwoods BBQ waffles

For you do-it-yourselfers, there’s a build-your-own breakfast sandwich, with your choice of bacon, sausage, pulled pork, or pulled chicken, plus an egg, choice of cheese, and bread, PLUS a self-serve Bloody Mary bar.  Homemade, house-made, made-from-scratch–you can use these terms to describe practically everything on the menu, including the breakfast sausage.  I snarfed down my whole side of their hashbrowns–they’re the chunky, chopped potato kind (not the shoestring kind, thank god), and they serve ’em up extra crispy.

Did I mention $10 bottomless mimosas?  Who wants to meet me for brunch this weekend?

Check out my review of the full Elwood’s menu here.

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Elwoods Barbecue & Burger Bar {Restaurant Review — Ballantyne, NC}

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Ballantyne’s Elwoods BBQ opened back in 2009, and the reviews were, well, not great.  Things took a turn for the barbecue better this October when two brothers-in-law, Dan Anderson and Jeremy Johnson, purchased the joint.  While the face of the restaurant hasn’t changed much and the menu offerings aren’t drastically different, the quality of food being served has seen substantial improvement with the arrival of the new owners and Chef Mike Theimer, previously with the Burger Co., heading up the kitchen.  What’s in the past is in the past; nowadays, Elwoods is smoking their meats daily, grinding burgers in-house, and making everything they possibly can from scratch.

Think of Elwoods as a BBQ melting pot:  they’ve got Carolina pulled pork covered, of course, but they’re also smoking Texas style beef brisket, St Louis ribs, chicken, and (my personal favorite) the Kansas City burnt ends.  Considered a barbecue delicacy by many, some folks (especially northerners like me who aren’t akin to these little nuggets of beef) find the burnt ends crispy, tough, and dry.  I can admit I previously fell into that camp, but the burnt ends at Elwoods changed my mind on the very first bite, with a juicy, chewy texture that reminded me more of pork belly than the dehydrated meat bits I’d had from other guys in town.

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