I feel sad to post something negative about this place, Alton's Kitchen. My family and I have successfully ignored it for years, because the restaurant that was in the same location previously was truly awful. We assumed it'd be similar and stayed away. HOWEVER... it's literally in my parent's neighborhood and we couldn't ignore it's convenience forever. To our surprise, everyone seemed to really enjoy their first experience there! (except me, ha!) So we went back again and everyone loved it again... and I liked it a little more this time. Well then my sister and her husband decided to stop in for drinks one night while they were waiting for mom and dad to rally themselves for dinner. They sat at the bar, which is our favorite part of the whole place... definitely has more atmosphere than the general seating area... ordered cocktails that they said were totally amazing and the bartender convinced them to stay for dinner. Already feeling impressed and adventurous, Jordan told the bartender to order for them... whatever he thought was the best thing on the menu, that's what they wanted. AGAIN, to their surprise, it was fantastic. And had he not just ordered for them, I can guarantee you none of us would have ordered it on our own... EVER. SO, a few nights later, Jord, Brent and I returned so that I could try this unbelievable dinner item. We sat at the bar, had a drink, ordered this strange entree and just about died and went to Heaven. It was incredible. It's called something like Cajun Creole Shrimp with popcorn rice... GROSS. But in actuality, it's this succulent, almost marsala like shrimp with a beautiful kick... really light, really delicious, really balanced and the best thing on the menu. I told them they need to re-name it, IMMEDIATELY.
blah blah blah, ANYWAYS... as much as this one dish had us professing our undying love to this fine establishment, brunch was another story. Jordan, I know you love it but man, please don't ask me to return for it. I'd really rather not.
Menu: impressive! Prices: not bad!
We ordered quite the array of dishes so I'll share them with you... first off, chicken and waffles.
I mean.... c'mon people. Yes, the idea is great and a southern tradition, I understand... but this is actually a heart attack on a plate, served with a side of cholesterol.
The Dippy Egg: the popular flatbread that everyone in my family seems to love. Had a lot of potential but in my opinion, tasted like poorly made eggs topped with so much jack cheddar cheese that you couldn't even taste the arugula. Sorry, family.
The Bronx Bagel: i ordered this because Jord found out they fly in the bagels fresh from NYC.
Well, I tried to customize it a little. I ordered the eggs poached instead of fried and I wanted to add avocado. The eggs came not only fried but VERY rubbery as well. And the cheese....?! I'm cringing writing this... IT WAS AMERICAN CHEESE. Now hear me... I'm not a snob, really. Sometimes there's nothin' like eating a strange, plastic like american grilled cheese...sometimes. But at a fine establishment like Alton's Kitchen, where everything else is so seemingly gourmet, something's just not right. And then those strange "breakfast potatoes..." What on earth? They were exactly those "Great Steak and Potato Company" steak french fries... remember that weird place that used to be in all the malls? They weren't at all fresh cut potatoes. And then it all came served with a giant pickle spear and a sad little "salad garnish" on the side... it just seemed like it couldn't figure out what kind of restaurant it wanted to be. And I suppose that's the real problem, in my opinion. It's not that the food was awful. It's really just the particular way they have decided to prepare the brunch items doesn't match the way they do everything else. I mean, it's fancy looking in there! HUGE ceilings, hardwoods, white tablecloths, the world's largest brass chandeliers, and easily 20 of them... you know what I'm saying? Something just doesn't fit. And do you know what's worse? I really want to recommend you go there and give it a chance for yourself... and I would tell you to be safe and order something simple like fried eggs and toast, but I don't think they can properly fry and egg without it tasting rubbery!
Alton's... I LOVE YOU AT DINNER TIME. I really do. I even love you for a good stiff drink and an appetizer. But if you're gonna be the only brunch spot in the Lake Norman area, I think you've gotta re-evaluate how you want to represent yourself. Friends, please please please try it for dinner. But Sunday morning.... stay home and make your own eggs.
ooh I hate being the bad guy... but somebody's gotta warn you!
ps: we'll have a happier recipe post tomorrow! ;)