Name: Kid Cashew
Address: 1608 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203
Order: ½ lb pork shoulder, slow-cooked pork panini, hummus with grilled rustic bread, mac and 5 cheese, 4 beers (link)
Price: $67 (for two)
As far as non-traditional barbecue restaurants go, Kid Cashew may be stretching it a bit in terms of places we would normally review here. But they’ve been advertised as a “Mediterranean smokehouse” and even utilize a wood-fired grill made by Texas-based J&R Manufacturing (who is a respected barbecue pit manufacturer who also makes the wood-fired rotisserie smoker that Midwood Smokehouse uses) so I figured they were fair game.
Kid Cashew is a Mediterranean farmhouse-influenced spot in the space formerly occupied by, among other things, an old Spanish tapas place called Solé (a favorite of me and my then-roommates when I first moved to Charlotte in 2005). It has been open for a little over a month now and while we were seated right away during my first visit at lunch on a Saturday, we revisited on a different Saturday night for dinner to find a lively crowd and an hour wait. So it seems to be doing well thus far.
They have a limited menu of small plates, salads, sandwiches, and items “from the farmer” (think brussel sprouts or smashed fingerling potatoes) and those “from the butcher.” Those meats include “local chicken” (half or full), leg of lamb, NC mountain trout, and Scottish salmon. I opted for the pork shoulder at $12.50 per half pound and shared a side of mac and five cheese gratin with Mrs. Monk. The small portion came out in two tender chunks as opposed to shredded or pulled. It did have a wood smell to it with a distinct Mediterranean rub. Again, not really traditional barbecue but a pretty tasty half pound of meat nonetheless. On the side was a spicy cilantro yogurt sauce (tzatziki and harissa also available), and it wasn’t essential to enjoying the meat.
The mac and five-cheese gratin came in a small cast iron skillet and was still piping hot when it was brought out to us. It was a good mac and cheese, albeit a little pricey for the portion size. We had some hummus before our meal came out, and it was made from black chickpeas and was an interesting contrast to the usual smooth pasty texture of hummus found at most restaurants or the grocery store. I guess this makes it more authentic? In any case, it was good.
I’m not going to recommend you go to Kid Cashew for barbecue (mainly because what they serve really can’t be classified as barbecue) but if you’re looking for a Mediterranean-influenced farm to table restaurant with craft cocktails its not a bad spot in Charlotte.