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A Date Night at Gallery Restaurant (with 6 courses!)

My foodie followers are going to love this post! A couple of weeks ago I was invited to an event to experience the summer menu at Gallery Restaurant. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend due to a teaching conflict but was thrilled to receive an email back inviting Tanner and me to come another evening. We decided to make the reservation for Monday since neither of us work on Monday evenings.

jen peanut butter runner

I have to admit that I spent all day on Monday looking forward to our date night and that it was fun to get all dressed up for dinner.

ballantyne hotel

Gallery Restaurant is located in The Ballantyne Hotel in South Charlotte. It took us about 20 minutes to get there from the studio. It was my first time at the hotel despite hearing great things about it for years and years. I loved this view as we walked through the hotel to the restaurant.

gallery restaurant

(Image The Ballantyne Hotel)

The interior of the restaurant feels sleek and modern while also coming across as totally warm and welcoming. I am super picky about the ambiance at restaurants and I have to say that Gallery has done it right. I loved the mix of intimate booths along with tables and the overall layout of the restaurant flowed really well. It’s also worth noting that the lighting was just the right mix of dim but you could read the menu and the acoustics of the restaurant were such that there was great ambient background noise but you could clearly hear the person sitting next to you.

gallery restaurant the ballantyne hotel

The service was WONDERFUL and no detail was overlooked. I even loved the way the salt and pepper was displayed! Our server checked in with us upon the arrival of each course and we were never without full water glasses or topped off wine glasses. He was personable, easy to talk to and attentive, as was everyone we met throughout the course of the evening. I appreciated the attention to little details like refreshing our silverware with each course. I joked to Tanner that one of my restaurant pet peeves when I’m out at a nice dinner is the question, “do you want to save your fork?”

The drink menu is presented on a tablet. This allows for easy browsing and also more robust descriptions of the wines, which was helpful in making a selection.

tablet drink menu

We both started with cocktails instead of wine which made the evening feel especially festive. I had the Market Gimlet (not listed in this photo) which featured cucumber vodka, lime, tarragon infused agave and grapefruit. It was very refreshing for a hot summer evening.

amuse bouche

Okay, let’s talk about the FOOD! I was excited to learn when we were seated that we wouldn’t be receiving menus because our meal was being prepared by the chef! He came out and introduced himself and shared that he’d be serving us a mix between their Restaurant Week Menu and their regular menu. He asked if we had any allergies or preferences for meat temperatures. We said, “nope…we’re easy and we eat it all!” The first thing that came out of the kitchen was this amuse bouche. It was a little goat cheese savory tart.

seared scallops and pork belly

The first course was one of our favorites of the night. It was a a seared sea scallop and pork belly combo. The pork belly featured an ancho chili glaze. The two were served over some take on cole slaw. I loved the creativity in this dish!

grilled peach salad

The second course was a salad with grilled peaches and cornbread croutons. It was served with local field greens, raspberries and goat cheese. At this point we started to wonder how many courses were coming! I thought that we’d either go straight to a beef from here or that there would be a fish then a beef. I was wrong!


The third course was a swordfish dish that had all sorts of delicious things going on. There were asparagus ribbons, cocoa powder tomatoes and more. The fish was melt in your mouth tender and all of the elements of the dish complimented it nicely.

seared duck breast with blood orange sauce

The fourth course was a total surprise. I was sure we were at the end and the beef would come out (I knew beef was on the menu because he specifically asked our temperature preference for it) but instead we got duck. I LOVE DUCK and this one did not disappoint. It was served with a blood orange vinaigrette and was melt in your mouth tender.

beef tenderloin gallery restaurant

And finally, the fifth course! It was a sliced filet of beef served with baby kale, sautéed mushrooms topped with a black truffle, truffle mashed potatoes and a fried potato slice. This was Tanner’s favorite course of the night. Mine was a toss up between the scallop/pork belly and the duck. Everything about this beef dish was exactly what you want out of a steak dinner.

gallery restaurant dessert

And of course there was dessert! Virginia messaged me half way through dinner and said, “Where is the dessert? That’s all I care about seeing.” Haha. You better believe we saved room. We were served the two desserts Gallery is featuring for Restaurant Week. The first was a pineapple right side up cake that included pineapple mousse, vanilla pound cake, rum compressed pineapple and salted caramel sauce. It was served with cherry sorbet. The second was a choice taco that was a valrhona guanaja chocolate cake with spiced fudge sauce, candied peanuts, waffle cone crunch and vanilla ice cream. We cleaned the plate. 😉

The chef came out to ask us how we enjoyed dinner and we couldn’t give him enough praise for the amazing meal. As an avid home cook, it inspires me to see creativity and talent like this in the kitchen. It was truly a special evening and we are so, so grateful for the experience.

If you’re in the Charlotte area, I highly recommend dinner at Gallery Restaurant if you’re looking for a date night out or to celebrate a special occasion. I think it would be extra fun to make it a stay-cation and spend the night in the hotel! Gallery is participating in Charlotte Restaurant Week and you can get a three-course menu for $35 through Sunday. Check it out here.

I bet you’re hungry now, I know I am! I’m off to cook dinner!

Have you ever done a chef’s tasting dinner? 

Do you like being surprised by your dinner menu rather than selecting it yourself? 

Out of the courses we had, which would have been your favorite? 

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • meredith @ cookie chrunicles July 27, 2017, 5:51 am

    I love a good restaurant and a tasting! There’s a great restaurant here in NY called, Maroni. I keep meaning to get back there for the chef’s tasting – it’s so delicious and so much fun!

  • Julie Running in a Skirt July 27, 2017, 8:47 am

    What a great meal!!! Looks like such a nice hotel. My SIL worksinthe spa.
    I’m the same way about forks– love to get a refresh.

  • Lindsey July 27, 2017, 12:18 pm

    Absolutely loved this post, the photos, and your detailed descriptions. Just wanted to extend the feedback that I am so impressed with the way you wrote this post. Many bloggers fly through “sponsored”-esque posts just to get words down and be done with it, and it shows. Even if the food or drinks look great, it always turns me off a bit that a restaurant would trade such laziness for a free meal. I love how truly grateful you seemed for the meal and experience, and how much detail you gave. Your pictures are wonderful, too! If I lived in Charlotte, I’d add this restaurant to my list because of how well written and thoughtful this review was. Thank you!

  • Laura @ Laura Likes Design July 27, 2017, 10:01 pm

    That dessert platter looks amazing! Looks like you guys had a great time!

  • Jennifer July 29, 2017, 2:52 pm

    I love pineapple upside down cake, I need to make one soon!

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