The Peddler: An Uninspiring Dining Experience
The Peddler in Hickory is closed.
My wife and I have 3 children under 3 years old and it had been almost a year since we had gone out just the two of us. I had a gift certificate to the Peddler so we decided to give it a try. We were seated quickly and the ambiance was acceptable. Maybe a little loud for an upscale steak house.
The chef rolled the cart to our table with two cuts of beef- the Ribeye and New York Strip. We ordered and the steaks- 17 oz Ribeye for me and the NY Strip for my wife and they were cut in front of us. I ordered my Ribeye medium rare and my wife ordered hers the same.
We proceeded to the salad bar where I was not surprised but disappointed to find only iceberg lettuce for the salad. The person who had cut our steaks for us came up to me and told me that my cut had come in at 20 oz instead of 17 and told me that he would cut another for me if I wished. I told him that 20 oz was fine.
Our steaks arrived in a timely manner but I was once again disappointed to find that my medium rare was pretty much rare. It had a cold red center that extended from about 1/8" from the top to 1/8" from the bottom. To me this is rare- definitely not medium rare.
I asked our nice waitress for my steak to be cooked a little more which she obliged. My steak was brought back to me cooked correctly but now both the top and bottom were charred. Although I was not happy with how my cut was cooked the quality of the beef was certainly good.
I found that for the price the food was pretty disappointing for what is supposed to be an upscale steak house. For about the same money I can go to a Ruths Chris steakhouse and get an exquisite, perfectly cooked steak with a much better wine selection and far better ambiance. However, I would have to drive at least an hour to Charlotte.
But at the same time, I guess I really shouldn't expect much better in Hickory. I have lived here all my life and upscale dining establishments that actually earn the right to be called upscale can be counted on one hand.
Island Style: Wow! Jamaican Food in Hickory
Restaurant is closed :(
Island Style is tucked into Union Square in downtown Hickory. You can't miss the green, yellow and black awning outside. The owners are very nice and the atmosphere is completely laid back as you might expect for a Jamaican Restaurant.
I would highly recommend trying this place for it is truly an oasis of uniqueness in a landscape mostly devoid of good ethnic restaurants. Sit back, relax to the sounds of reggae and enjoy the truly tasty authentic cuisine of Jamaica. They even have live music on Saturday nights I believe.
Favorite Dish: I truly love the Escoveitch Fish, a whole lightly fried white fish. The coconut bread is extremely yummy. My personal favorite is the Curried Goat. This is the only place in the surrounding six counties to get goat. It is absolutely delicious. Knock it back with a Red Stripe, close your eyes and you'll swear that you are in Kingston!
BROWN SUGAR CAFE': REAL DOWN-HOME COOKING
Friday night, we got together with Steve and Patty, friends and family at the BROWN SUGAR CAFE'. It was a perfect place for a get-together. Quiet, spacious and casual.
I guess you could say they offer Soul Food - real down-home NC cooking.
Their plates vary daily and the menu was posted on a chalk board.
I chose the down-home plate of chicken and dumplings and the side dishes of cole slaw and green beans, plus a roll came with it. ($7.95).
Hans chose Half Fried Chicken and side dishes of potato salad and mashed potatoes, plus a roll came with it ($7.95).
My chicken and dumplings were just OK. It was a very small bowl of it and the "dumplings" were actually just noodles. Kinda disappointing, because my Mom used to make THE best dumplings ever.
Hans' half chicken was delicious and moist (I got a taste of it). This seems to be their specialty and I've never seen a whole half chicken fried before. Usually you see pieces like breast, thigh or drumstick.
Of course Hans had to have pecan pie for dessert. I also got a bite of it - very sweet!
For $1.39 you can visit the beverage bar as much as you want and they had sweet tea too which I had.
Texas Roadhouse: Good Food / Fun Service!
We sat at the bar because it was a Saturday evening and the place was packed at the tables. But the bar worked for us. We could eat, drink and smoke. Service was a holler away. We also got to people watch. People watching is an ART form in Hickory, as well as interactive because folks WILL talk to you. Even folks with BUG EYES that eat with their mouths full. And one of the bartenders is a part-time Orlando resident. Hyper dude, but he was quick with a drink. (Well, actually... that's not true. He was slow!)
Ambience is typical family / theme steak house. Some noise / din.... quick service for food (comes out quick!) and friendly staff.
We'd go back. It was a really fun night! Not a fun next morning, but a REALLY fun night!
Favorite Dish: The B-52's, to be honest. All 3 or 4 of them as the case may be. Also, the BBQ Chicken was REALLY moist / good.
Shell's Bar-B-Q: Damn Good BBQ on the Cheap
Looks like a Jersey Diner but has Carolina BBQ Soul inside. Good, cheap and TO GO! Call them and they will have the order waiting for you...
Favorite Dish: The BBQ Sandwich w/ Slaw & pickles on it.
Burgers are pretty decent too. (Order it: "all the way" and you'll get chili and slaw on it. Crazy good!) And the fries.
Yeah - no one said ANYTHING was HEALTHY for you at Shell's, but it's DAMN good eating at the right price.
MAMATOWN BUFFET: GREAT VALUE CHINESE BUFFET
It's Thursday night in Hickory and we are going out for dinner. Well, there just happens to be a Chinese Buffet right across the street from the Red Roof Inn. Actually, we walked to MAMATOWN BUFFET. We were not disappointed. It was awesome - started off with my usual Wonton Soup (there was also egg drop soup) and then had a nice plate full of peel & eat shrimp. Also I chose coconut shrimp and bacon-wrapped shrimp. The bacon-wrapped shrimp were absolutely delicious and they went very fast from the trays. Sweet & sour chicken with real chicken, not processed. They also offered a sushi bar and grill. Dessert table included lyches, pineapple, peaches and assorted sweets. Of course we got our fortune cookie along with our bill - buffet was only $8.50 plus tax. I have to mention our delightful waitress, Cindy Li.
This was one of our very favourite meal experiences on our two week road trip.
Youssef 242: Fine Dining in Hickory
Fresh ingrediants, thoughtfully prepared, good prices and trained staff. Youssef is the "go to" place if I have to entertain folks from out of town that don't want Homespun, folksy BBQ or themed restaurants. There are maybe a handful of other 'fine dining' experiences here in Hickory, but I like Youssef's. The owner is Moroccan and occaisionaly will put a nice couscous on the menu. It's a pretty restaurant too. Private room for parties (includes a fireplace) and a well lit terrace for outdoor dining as well.
Favorite Dish: Chicken, Moroccan style, melted onions, raisins, prunes & cumin fries (Youssef family recipe) and it's only $21.00!
Crossroads Grill: Taylorsville-Area...
Burgers, BBQ, fries and Onion rings. Fried pies and sweet tea... friendly family service and all in the middle of Absolutely NO WHERE.
But it's my very favorite. Local following like you wouldn't believe... and you can't tell folk how to get there easily. It really is in the middle of a valley near Lake Hickory, between Bethleham, Taylorsville and Conover.
Luckily it's near where I live. I can get there in 10 minutes when there is no traffic.
Good eatin'.... good people...
Favorite Dish: Cheeseburger, all the way (Means you put cole slaw, chili and onions with mustard on it.) Their onion rings are good. Fried flounder sandwiches are good and so are the hushpuppies.
Give me a call if you are in the area and want to go. I'll make sure you find it. Hell, I'll go with you.
Sims Country Bar-B-Que: Worth the Visit To Hickory Alone!
If you visit Hickory and the Greater Hickory region, you will want to make sure you come so that your stay extends over a weekend. It's the only way you will be able to experience the Sim's Experience. "SIMS COUNTRY BBQ" offers food and clogging but it is only open on FRI and SAT evenings.
Some might describe it as Backwoods, Redneck, Deliverance-esq, Frightening (only because it's dry... NO BOOZE, Folks!)
I wouldn't describe it that way 'tall! ; )
I will say that at times it is a like a fascinating train wreck with clog shoes! I'm sucked in every time I go. (Think Hula Show with overalls and men w/ few teeth and you'll start to get the picture. Simply a MUST SEE experience!)
Live music / musicians (fiddle, washboard and spoons included!), Western Carolina Style pork and beef BBQ plus BBQ chicken... lots of fixins (Cole Slaw, beans, corn bread fritters, pickles) and enough Sweet Tea to send you into a diabetic coma.
All you can eat and drink for $11.00 should seal the deal, considering you also get to see live clogging. All ages of cloggers from little ones to guys barely able to shuffle! Good Show - good times. (Leave your six pack in the car and refresh yourself liberally).
Good luck finding the place. It's not in Hickory Proper, it's in Dudley Shoals... Be sure to see their website to see accurate (enough) directions and a good start would be to head there during daylight.
Favorite Dish: BBQ chicken is the best, my .02.... But the BBQ Pork comes in second. The bbq beef always seems a bit dry.
Umi Japanese Restaurant: Authentic Japanese in Hickory
Zen like atmosphere, small, intimate and relaxing. Amazing food. Sushi was fresh and artfully presented. I had katsu curry and fiance had beef and sweet onions over rice. Both were spot on perfection.
It is special because it is the ONLY Japanese Restaurant in Hickory with real Japanese food. And if you are a Japanese foodie, don't think the other restaurants in town are Japanese. They are not.
Favorite Dish: I really liked the katsu curry and look forward to the other items on their menu.
Mekvilai Thai Cuisine: Another Good Thai Restaurant!
Really good! Went there recently and had an EXCELLANT experience. Good service. Great food. Nice enough ambienc. Reasonable prices.
Favorite Dish: Tom Yum soup was good.
Som Tum salad was EXCEPTIONAL! Off the charts good.
Fried Spring Roll was better than average, but I can't give it a full "B" grade. More a C+ or B-
Rad Nar (Stir-fry thick rice noodle topped with broccoli, carrots, and scallion) was exceptional.
I was happy with this restaurant.
KNOW THE SCORE!!!: Before You Eat Out!
North Carolina Health Department’s “Know the Score” program is one of several in the US that use numeric scores for communicating health department inspection results to the public.
Numeric inspection scores are translated into letter grades (90-100=A, 80-89=B, 70-79=C), and establishments are required to post their grade card in obvious places or in the entrance area for public viewing.
To further increase public access to this information, searchable Web-based databases provide information on inspection grades, numeric scores, a list of specific violations at last inspection, and closures.
Which means, if you see a score of 94, you can go on line and find out why the restaurant didn't get that 100.
Favorite Dish: I have seen a restaurant with a 101 score. Don't know who they had to blow to get that rating! I didn't like the food that much (mom n pop fast food BBQ diner).
Thai Lanna: Great Thai in the South!
Ambiance is not great, and the service is really Mom n Pop (read: slow but sweet)... and yet the food is authentic. And when I mean authentic, while it may not be the best Thai you have ever had, it's probably the best for Hickory and perhaps in the regional Greater Hickory Metro area. They have vegetarian options and the prices are good. VERY good for lunch and reasonable for dinner.
Favorite Dish: Pad Thai is more than acceptable. Spring Rolls, Thai Rolls, Buddha Rolls and their soups, too. Freshly prepared and served fairly well.
Copperbean Coffee: Blah!
I always try to find a local coffee shop when I visit a new town. Copperbean is a nice place patterned after Starbucks. Sadly, they made a tragic mistake while making my cappucino, they added a horrible syrup to it. I am a coffee snob and don't like any flavorings to be added. The kicker is they asked me now once, but twice if I wanted anything added. The fact that we were the only two customers made this even more unfortunate.
Mom's Country Kitchen: cheap eats
Looking for basic, cheap food? Mom's is a local diner that will hit the spot. We stopped for a late breakfast and I ordered the most expensive thing on the menu, steak and eggs at $8.50
Favorite Dish: I had steak and eggs. Nothing to write home about, but it was good.