Located at 118 West 5th Street in Charlotte, Dandelion Market is a full-service bar with a small plates menu. There are occasional drink specials and a brunch on weekends.
Named for a Dublin landmark of the 1970s, Dandelion Market does little to evoke its Celtic lineage, but it is nevertheless a comfortable spot to grab a bite to eat. The dimly lit brick-walled interior, with its chalkboard specials and dried goods sacks on the walls, is the definition of cozy and quaint. The small plates dinner menu offers everything from appetizers to surf and turf to veggies and sides with a variety of culinary influences, leaving you free to cobble together a flavorful Frankenstein of a meal.
My wife and I rolled the dice with a spinach and artichoke dip, a fried green tomato caprese, a shrimp and grit cake, and a pork belly with a brownie-and-caramel-topped-ice cream combo for dessert. Some dishes were stronger than others, but the food was generally on-point. Dandelion Market does sauces very well, as both the fig balsamic accompanying the tomato and the peach-green tomato salsa accompanying the pork belly were excellent. The pork belly had a melt-in-your-mouth quality that I appreciated though my wife found it too fatty for her tastes. The bread that came with the dip was oven-fresh, and the ice cream betwixt the brownies offered some welcome vanilla bean notes that played well off of the salted caramel.
As with any tapas place, pricing can be a bit slippery. Most plates run $7-$12. Count on at least two per person, and it adds up. The skillful execution and artful plating take away some of the sting, and the efficient kitchen and attentive servers ensure you won’t have long to wait between plates.
With an appealing menu, an inviting atmosphere, and a front-of-house and kitchen that both seem to know what they are doing, Dandelion Market has all the components needed to deliver a memorably good meal.