Dining out: Maestro's in Pineville music to my tastebuds

July 2, 2008 

Who'd have thought a shiny gold-painted brick wall and fireplace could be classy, not tacky?

At Maestro's Bar & Grill, the decor in this restored 110-year-old home (just off Main Street in Pineville, N.C.) is beautiful and well-thought to the detail, from the small gold violins that hold the curtains back to the sheet music wallpaper in the marble and tile-adorned restrooms. Naturally, framed artwork in every room includes everything musical and beautiful, including floral arrangements.

There's a large gold metal cello wine rack serving as part of the focus in the main dining room, and off the sunroom in the back, where we were seated, we admired the rosemary "bush" and small garden that leads to the back parking lot. There's also front porch patio seating and a clean bar just off the foyer in front of the house.

I knew this place would be something special. As we walked to the front door, a couple coming out held the door for us, all smiles and happy, saying how wonderful the food is at Maestro's. We were greeted and seated quickly by the host. It's a quaint place with dining in the two rooms (the upstairs is blocked off). The set up reminded me of my late grandmother's home during the holidays with cloth and pretty plastic table covers, and naturally, candlelight. This is definitely a good place to bring a date or celebrate an occasion such as a birthday or graduation with the family.

However, it's also informal and casual, too. Another diner wasn't out of place in his country club, golf short attire. Maestro's offers the comforts of home with excellent staff service, too.

The menu includes "Preludes" such as zucchini fritti, calamari, brie and carmelized onion pit-za, crabcakes, shrimp skewers and artichoke spinach dip. "Interludes" include soups and salads, while the "Masterpieces" include veal dishes, rack of lamb, filet and N.Y. strip steaks, seafood including tilapia, grouper, salmon and scallops, as well as chicken and Alfred. Before our meals were brought out we were given a homemade breadstick each with cinnamon butter.

I'd read great reviews about the lamb and veal here. However, I wanted to try the specialties -- two offered this night included beef Wellington and a seafood pasta special. I've only seen beef Wellington on television's "Hell's Kitchen" before, so when the beautifully presented dish was served to my friend, I tried a bite. The mushrooms between the pastry and filet added to the whole of the flavor. However, I think I prefer my steak straight up.

My seafood pasta special of linguini with shrimp, lobster and scallops, was good. I was hoping for more seafood than pasta; more lobster, and in chunks, than shrimp; and something "special" about the seasoning or spices in this pasta dish. The Wellington cost $27.95 and seafood pasta was $24.95. Both meals were the right portion amount for a filling meal.

However, leave room for dessert. We ordered the crème brulee, which is large enough to split ($7.95). Again, I'd heard of crème brulee on TV shows, like "Frasier," but never had it. This dessert came served with little hearts made in the syrup, which was very cool. And the taste -- to die for with the crunchy, sugary top and creamy filling mixed with the syrup and cream. It was just the right amount of sweet satisfaction for ending the meal.

Maestro's is definitely a place to return to, like home. The owners' share their family story and how the restaurant came to be named on the menu, which I find inviting. Also, diners might look for the unique sightings of Raggedy Ann tucked in the corners. The waitress told us the doll is supposed to be bring good luck. It brought back childhood memories for me. It's not often a restaurant actually makes you feel like you're sitting at someone's family dinner table, but Maestro's does. I was just waiting for my late grandpa to come out after supper and play his violin for us.

Catherine Muccigrosso, Lake Wylie Pilot editor

MAESTRO'S BAR & BISTRO

Location: 207 Johnston Drive, Pineville, NC

Hours: 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 4 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Phone: (704) 889-2110

Web site: maestrosbarandbistro.com

Ambiance: Classical fine dining

FOR RESTAURANT INSPECTION RATINGS: Visit mecklenburg.digitalhealthdepartment.com to find out about Mecklenburg County restaurants. Visit heraldonline.com and click on the top left "Restaurant Inspections" link to see DHEC scores.

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