On Friday, Charlotte Fresh and hubby had a romantic dinner at Passion8 Bistro in Fort Mill, SC. The restaurant, owned by Chef Luca Annunziata and his lovely wife Jessica, is conveniently located just west of Pineville, NC on Hwy. 51. Passion8’s philosophy is to feature as many farm-fresh ingredients as possible, and they love supporting our local farmers. I believe it because I see Chef Luca at the Matthews Community Farmers’ Market nearly every market day, and I’ve also seen him up at the Charlotte Regional Farmers’ Market on Yorkmont, chatting with the local farmers and searching for the day’s menu items. If you’re lucky, you can catch Chef Luca demonstrating his amazing skills at on-farm dinners and at various markets like Matthews in the summer season.
We loved this place, and the food was incredible! The majority of Passion8’s menu is written on a chalkboard, featuring plenty of local choices and the names of some of the farms that supply the ingredients. A few local farms featured that night were Tega Hills Farm, New Town Farms and Poplar Ridge Farm.
We started off with an amuse bouche of a cucumber soup shot that had a nice kick to it, and delicious warm bread. Then, we tucked into the perfectly cooked “Infamous Calamari Cubano” – calamari sourced from Wilmington, NC that was lightly breaded with a honey-citrus jalapeno butter. Yum – I could eat it all day long.
Hubby had a generous veal chop from Montana Ranch stuffed with smoked mozzarella cheese and prosciutto, accompanied by mashed sweet potatoes, broccoli and an apple cider sage sauce. While the veal that night was not local, we were told it was produced naturally, using no hormones, antibiotics or animal by-product feed. The result was a lean and tender cut.
I had a juicy Brookshire cut pork chop that we were told was sourced from a farm in Pennsylvania. It was flavorful with its out-of-this-world pomegranate sauce and served with local collard greens and Parmigiano-Reggiano grits.
How to top off a fantastic meal? Well, with an espresso chocolate torte made in-house. Amazing.
Passion8 is truly one of our new favorite farm-to-table restaurants; we love supporting chefs like Luca who source locally whenever possible. Next time we visit, we’ll make sure to go for dishes with some locally-sourced protein, like beef from Proffitt Family Farms. Try Passion8, and chances are it will become one of your favorite places, too.
Don’t yet have plans for Christmas Eve? Check out the special dinner that Passion8 is offering on December 24, 2010. Seatings are available from 4:30pm – 7:30pm, call for reservations. For $48 per person, here’s the expected menu:
Duck and Dumpling Soup
Holiday Lettuces, Candied Pecans, Baby Pears Stuffed with Bosky Acres Goat Cheese with Cinnamon Molasses Vinaigrette
Pasta Tortellini Stuffed with Ricotta & Herbs, Local Mushrooms, In a Sage Beurre Noisette
NC Flounder Roulade with Sepia Israelian Couscous Risotto, Local Spinach Puree, Saffron Lobster Emulsion
SC Poussin (Young Chicken), Chocolate Vincotto, Cipollini Onions, Sweet Potato & Broccoli Hash Finished in a Bailey’s Balsamic Demi
Montana Ranch Lamb Duet
T-Bone with Prune Demi
Lamb Loin Wellington with White Truffle Demi
Fudge Tart With Egg Nog Shooter
Where to find it: 3415 Highway 51 (Pineville-Rock Hill Road), Fort Mill, S.C. 29715. Reservations: (803) 802-7455. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Friday; Saturday, dinner only. Closed Sunday & Monday.