Carter's Kitchen: The 4th Time Was The Charm
Nestled in the Inn at I’On in the tony I’On neighborhood is Bob Carter’s newest undertaking Carter’s Kitchen. Bob Carter is the former famed chef of Peninsula Grill, the very high end restaurant where “jackets are suggested”, food and service is impeccable and the Skyscraper Six Layer Coconut Cake sells for $100.00 plus $60.00 - $100.00 for shipping. ‘Just sayin’.
I wasn’t surprised that he wanted to branch out and open his own place. After 15 years of the same restaurant even the most creative of chefs would get bored.
Carter’s Kitchen opened in the spring and with all the fanfare around Bob Carter’s talents. I soooo wanted the restaurant to be good. It took awhile to get there, but it’s now worth the trip. The restaurant was fully remodeled with a nice, open feel and an enclosed “veranda” to watch the world go by. Very understated and comfortable.
My first visit was a bust. We were invited to a private preopening cocktail party where our $20.00 donation went to supporting the neighborhood. Even though we got very little to eat or drink, the gesture on his part was admirable. Three other times my husband and I went for either snacks or a meal. Three other times… again a bust. The restaurant then started getting a bad rap in the neighborhood as being too expensive. We decided to walk away for a bit and let them work out the kinks.
This past Saturday we went to Carter’s for dinner. Our server was bright and attentive as he took our drink orders and told us about the evening specials. We quickly began perusing the menu.
Moderately priced, Soups and Salads $8-10.50, Small Plates $9.50 - $12.00, and Main Plates $18-26.00 the menu isn’t large but has quite an interesting selection of items. I’m not one who usually orders an appetizer and dessert, but the She Crab Soup somehow caught my eye and I decided to give it a try. The Spinach Nicoise was my husband’s selection and that too, looked very interesting.
Served very hot the soup was a heavenly, creamy-velvet blend of she crab goodness. It just about melted in my mouth and the fresh crab that garnished the dish was a perfect addition. The Spinach Nicoise was also a big hit. One thing I can definitely say about Carter’s Kitchen is that a lot of love goes into the plate presentations. The food not only tasted great but the presentations were beautiful!
I decided to select the Swordfish with Blue Crab and Crawfish for dinner and my husband selected the Shrimp Papardelle with Country Ham, Heirloom Tomatoes, Corn, Peas and Basil cream. I actually thought about ordering the Papardelle and was glad that he did so that I could taste it.
When our dishes were served again they looked phenomenal. I couldn't wait to dive in. My swordfish was an ample piece and cooked just perfectly. Unfortunately, try as I might, I couldn’t get past the aroma of the Blue Crab and Crawfish. The good news is that there was ample crab and crawfish, the bad news was that the aroma was overpowering.
Boy, did I have “entre envy”. The pasta in the Shrimp Papardelle was cooked perfectly and the dish with the all of the colors of the vegetables was a feast not only for my palate, but to many other senses. Well done.
In picking up my entrée the server asked if there was anything wrong with the dish and I just mention the smell was a bit much. In a blink of an eye the manager was at our table apologizing and asking if I wanted anything else. I didn’t, but thank you.
He then told me he took the entrée off of the bill which unnecessary, but a very nice touch.
Carter’s Kitchen has come a long way. Gone are the over priced menu items and the mistakes we saw in the past. In their place is an interesting menu, very good food, service and a comfortable atmosphere. Bob – welcome back! We knew this could happen! Next time I’m trying the brunch, another menu that looks very appetizing. Yum!