Adventures of Eating with dReJ: healthy, cheap, delicious

131 Main Review

Last night we took RJ’s step-dad out to dinner to celebrate his birthday. He wanted to go to 131 Main up in Blakeney. RJ and I had talked about checking out the East. Blvd. location on several occasions but just hadn’t gone yet. I’d heard lots of positive reviews about the food – so we were excited when his step-dad suggested it. And if you didn’t hear – it was voted Best Overall Restaurant for Food and Drink by Charlotte Magazine for 2009 & 2010.

When we arrived (keep in mind this is a Tuesday evening at 730pm), the place was packed! People were sitting outside in this really cool patio where they had fire places next to the tables. The bar was busy with couples sitting in almost every seat having a drink. And the main restaurant also looked full. We went to the bar first and ordered a drink. Tuesday happens to be 1/2 price bottle of wine night, just FYI. I was driving so I just had a glass of wine. I wanted the Punto Final Malbec, Mendoza but they were out, so the bartender made a recommendation for a Charles Smith “Velvet Devil” Merlot, Columbia Valley. I do enjoy merlots – and this one was incredible. Super smooth and no bite at the end. I understand why they call it Velvet Devil because you could just drink that one all night. Their wine selection is pretty cool because they only purchases wine from family-owned wineries, and the majority of the wines come from less than400 barrels of production.

RJ ordered the Highlands Black Mocha Stout in a bottle. It’s available year round from Highland Brewery and it pours dark as used motor oil.  You can smell faint hints of coffee as soon as the bottle is open.  The beer is filled with dark Chocolate and carmel undertones.  It is a sweet non hoppy beer and delicious on cold evenings such as last night! It’s one of his favorite stouts.

Once we got seated, I’ll admit that the wait for the server to take our order was way too long. They have their full menu online at http://www.131-main.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14&Itemid=14 but our server mentioned they might be updated the menu soon with some seasonal selections. This would most likely include the removal of at least one dish – the Sautéed Chicken Paillard. I debated about getting that, but when I heard it might be removed from the menu I figured it might be a sign that it’s not a popular item! The entrées range in price from about $14 – $29 (for the special).

The wait for our food wasn’t long at all. I ordered the Shrimp and Grits (in a Creole sauce with corn salsa, asparagus and Smithfield ham).  I was not disappointed.  The shrimp were a good size and cooked perfectly and the grits were just the right consistency. The creole sauce was amazingly creamy and the veggies were still a little crisp. I would order this again! I also broke down and ordered another glass of that Velvet Devil with dinner.

RJ ordered the Grilled NC Trout lightly seasoned, served with wild rice salad* and herb aioli ($14) upon recommendation from his step-father who had it before. The trout was perfectly grilled. The fish was a good size portion, and the “herb aoli” was a herby take on a classic.  The creaminess of the sauce went wonderfully with the flakiness of the fish.  Then there was the rice.  A cold rice dish with fruit and nuts was a perfect earthy side.

We had a great time and the food was delicious. I’d definitely try it again. In fact, they have a $59 couple deal where you can get a salad, entree, dessert and a bottle of wine for 2! Since they have several locations – check one of them out. A big A+ from both RJ and I.

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