Evoke Restaurant Crafts New Menu

By Lindsay Kosma Photos by Kurt Shackelford and Remy Thurston

July 19, 2015

Nestled on the bottom floor of Le Méridien hotel in Uptown Charlotte sits new-age steakhouse Evoke. The restaurant, outfitted with modern furniture and abstract artwork, sticks pretty strictly to a tri-color scheme of dark grey, white, and yellow. Metal installments separate dining sections and unique light fixtures pull all of the elements together to create a warm, chic ambiance.

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Chef de Cuisine Robert Reinken

Executive Chef Oscar La Fuente carries this experience seamlessly into his dishes. With ingredients sourced globally, dishes are thoughtfully compiled to exude an edited yet provoking experience. La Fuente recently announced a new menu, consisting of four new courses, which aim to integrate peak seasonal ingredients in an innovative way. The new additions expand on their traditional menu that focuses on prime and dry-aged steaks, house-made pastas, and seafood crudos.

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The CLTure team had the pleasure of experiencing these new creations first-hand in a five-course tasting. Each course actually included two dishes that were alternated around the table and were a strategic mix of old and new menu items.

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Escolar: Snap Peas, Spring Onion, Meyer Lemon, Coriander Oil. Photo by Remy Thurston

To introduce the new menu; an Escolar crudo was served accompanied by a symphony of crisp, bright snap peas and spring onions. Silky and sultry Escolar, the decadence of the dish, was nicely balanced in texture by the peas and onions while a hint of Meyer lemon and coriander oil really tempered the palate and completed the bite. This vivid composition, in both aesthetics and flavor, was an excellent twist on a traditional Italian ”pesce crudo” which includes an oil, citrus and salt.

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Agnolotti: Sweet Peas, Lobster, Spring Onion, Truffle Pecorino. Photo by Kurt Shackelford

Handmade pasta, another one of Evoke’s specialties, comprised a second featured item from the new menu. Dense agnolotti stuffed with velvety truffle pecorino created an earthy, savory experience. To complement, rich and buttery lobster morsels along with sweet peas and spring onions were served alongside. With several heavy ingredients, the dish could have easily been overwhelming but was balanced enough to feel light, yet satisfying.

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Scallops: Cauliflower, Golden Raisins, Cipollini Agrodolce, Barolo Vinegar. Photo by Kurt Shackelford

The new menu additions also included a squid ink tagliolini with baby scallops, green garlic, lemon and chili as well as a halibut with new potatoes, morels, clams, asparagus and preserved lemon.

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Halibut: New Potatoes, Morels, Clams, Asparagus, Preserved Lemon

In total, the four dishes aim to push the limits of Evoke’s traditional cooking forte into a new creative space. There are clear undertones of Italian influence woven throughout the entire menu as well as unique uses of new ingredients. Though nothing is too avant garde, one can expect some surprises from presentation to palate. La Fuente certainly accomplishes his goal to “stimulate and arouse the senses associated with food” with each bite of every dish at Evoke.

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Butterscotch Budino: Salted Caramel, Shortbread Cookies. Photo by Kurt Shackeford

Check out the full menu at Evoke Restaurant.

555 S McDowell St, Charlotte, NC 28204

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