A mashed potato calendar.
Killingtons Restaurant and Pub’s special calendar, with 31 jazzed up flavors of an unassuming comfort food, speaks volumes about the focus of the restaurant and the creative fare coming from the kitchen.
The Huntersville restaurant puts an upscale twist on food that is affordable and served in a casual atmosphere.
“It’s always been about a great, white-plated meal,” said Shannon Roderick, who owns Killingtons with her husband, Greg. “But you can come in with your suit or come in from cutting the grass.”
No matter the attire, expect to be greeted as warmly as a friend and treated to meal that has hints of Mom as well as outside-of-the-box chef Guy Fieri. For instance, those mashed potatoes. Depending on the day, it could be salsa and ranch; spinach and feta; pepper jack and bacon; pepperoni and mozzarella; Swiss, caramelized onion and ham; or some other combination.
You won’t find Mom’s dry meatloaf coated with ketchup here. Killingtons steps it up with a version that is made with ground beef and pork, encrusted with hickory bacon and cooked low and slow to be moist and flavorful. White mushroom gravy replaces the standard ketchup or brown gravy.
“It’s keeping the American tradition but throwing flair on it,” Roderick said.
“I like to play around,” Executive Chef Brian Bruce said. “It’s American fusion.”
From the kitchen comes appetizers such as calamari glazed with sweet chili and a spring roll stuffed with smoked duck. In addition to wings available with seven homemade sauces, find roasted portabella mushrooms layered with red peppers, squash, zucchini and goat cheese.
Salads, served in large bowls, attract attention for their size and flavor. The kitchen makes 12 dressings, including roasted citrus vinaigrette, house strawberry peppercorn and fat-free sweet and spicy. The Crab Cake Salad features two crab cakes atop romaine and bib lettuce with grape tomatoes, feta cheese and avocado dressed with citrus vinaigrette. The Killingtons Salad, with bib and romaine lettuces, candied pecans, dried cherries, red onions and goat cheese, is tossed in strawberry peppercorn dressing.
Aside from the meatloaf, carnivores will enjoy the Bourbon-Marinated Rib Eye, Cola-Braised Baby Back Ribs or Cast-Iron Seared Sirloin Steak.
Among the seafood specialties, BBQ-Grilled Salmon is glazed in a molasses Dijon sauce and served with caramelized shallot risotto and asparagus. Pecan-Encrusted Mahi is served with garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables drizzled with Grand Marnier sauce. Or try the Pub Fish Fry with two red oak beer-battered fillets, two sides and homemade tartar sauce.
Should sandwiches be your fancy, there’s the Cuban with sliced pork, ham, pickles, Swiss and Dijon on pressed Cuban bread. Other options include Killingtons Dip, slow-cooked beef round topped with provolone and served with au jus, and the Gastro Pub Burger, an 8-ounce Angus beef patty topped with palmetto cheese, peppered bacon and grilled onions.
“(With lunch and dinner features) we have 14 different items a week,” Roderick said. “We don’t run specials because of (Bruce’s) creativity.”
If you have room for dessert, try a chocolate creation that’s less than 250 calories. The restaurant, which offers five dessert selections, was chosen by chocolate manufacturer Mars to test market VIRTU, an ingredient made with Dove chocolate. Through June, choose either the Chocolate Berry Trifle, with layers of ladyfingers, honey blueberry-infused low-fat yogurt and VIRTU; or the Very Berry Chocolate Brulee, fresh strawberries and raspberries covered with VIRTU.
“We live by the motto that you come in as a stranger and leave as a friend,” Roderick said.
That warm sentiment is posted on a wall of the kid-friendly restaurant. Windowed on two sides, the space is equally divided between bar on the right and dining room on the left. The ambiance is comfortable, mostly naturally lit during the day and dimly lit at night. An exposed ceiling, concrete floors, dark tables, black high-back booths and contemporary artwork give this restaurant a flair that matches the menu.
Mars testing low-calorie desserts at three area restaurants