At some point, you will happen upon Fenwick’s along Providence Road. It is close to uptown in an older residential area of Charlotte. Here, you can safely assume the cash oozes from every pore of the local residents. The restaurant’s size and facade lack a little ambition, being largely inconspicuous and somewhat diminutive, but is in no way out of place amid the eclectic mix of buildings found along this section of Providence.
Despite obvious signals to the contrary, the interior has the feeling of a private home — warm and welcoming, with soft lighting. It is small, but I like that. There is seating for 36 inside and 16 outside. The eight stools at the bar come complete with an entertaining view into the galley kitchen.
Belying its opulent location, Fenwick’s possess no pretence to airs and graces. They are relaxed, gracious and professional. The food and service are what you might expect from a restaurant that has survived since 1984 — highly competent. For our rabble, we kept things simple: charcoal burgers ($7.95), easily big enough to share between two boys aged 7 and 9; chicken tenders (also $7.95); a chef’s salad (bizarrely $7.95, too) a very good chardonnay, rounded off with bread pudding and apple crisp desserts ($5.95 each).
The menu offers some interesting specialty salads: grilled salmon, grilled beef tenderloin and shrimp among others. There is filet mignon, a quiche, a chicken broccoli casserole and a choice of fish entrees: oysters, flounder, shrimp and salmon. If I were to add anything to the menu, I would want the chef to dazzle me with a well-made, well-paired sauce for the filet mignon. The kids, of course, do not concern themselves with such trivia. They were content playing tic-tac-toe and coloring, with the food and juice promptly served.
This is an admirable local neighborhood restaurant. If I were ever to lose my sanity and open an eatery, I would aspire to this. Leave the abhorrent themed and formulaic chains alone and go for a refreshing change. My verdict: plain bloody marvelous.
THE CHOW DOWN
Dollar deal: $3.95-$7.95 kids; $6.95-$28.95 adults
Especially for the little ones: Tic-tac-toe
To avoid a wait, go: on weekdays around 6 p.m.
Noise level: Not an issue
Décor/Atmosphere: Contemporary, four booths plus open seating
Kiddie fare: Wings, chicken fingers, fried shrimp, vegetarian burger, chicken sandwich
Parent fare: Loads of fish, steaks and plenty of great salads
Bathroom amenities: Clean
High chair/booster cleanliness: Good
Got milk/juice?: Yes
Address: 511 Providence Road in Charlotte
Overall rating: Out of 5: 4