Oct 18, 2023 - News

First look: New tasting menu restaurant and chef’s market LʼOstrica opening near Montford

L'Ostrica

Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

L’Ostrica is elevating Montford’s dining scene. With its seasonal tasting menu, craft cocktail program and chef’s market, it’s the kind of place you can go to for a quick drink, fancy night out or lunch to go.

The market is already open, and you can now make reservations for the tasting menu, which will start serving dinner on Nov. 1.

What to expect: The restaurant will offer intimate tasting menu dinners, with eight to 10 courses, made with seasonal ingredients and optional wine pairings. Dishes will include a range of global culinary influences, including Italian, Korean, Japanese and French.

  • Tasting menus start at $175 per person.
  • In addition to wine and non-alcoholic beverages, L’Ostrica will offer seasonal cocktails using ingredients from the kitchen.
  • For grab-and-go options, you can pop into the market, which serves fresh pasta, sauces, snacks, salads, dips, soups, sandwiches and sweets, all made in-house.

Why it matters: The duo opening the new restaurant knows a thing or two about fine dining. Owners Eric Ferguson, former Stagioni chef, and Cat Carter, a food writer and branding/marketing specialist, have been operating L’Ostrica as a catering business for two years. Now, they’re establishing a permanent presence in Montford.

L'Ostrica
Although the name of the restaurant is Italian — “Ostrica” means “oysters” in Italian — the menu will be ever-evolving with influences from several countries. Eric Ferguson and Cat Carter, pictured here, came up with the idea for the restaurant over oysters, hence the name.

Zoom out: Ferguson, who has also worked at other Charlotte staples like Barrington’s and Good Food on Montford, harnessed his pasta-making craft in Umbria, Italy.

  • Before moving back to Charlotte, he worked at a Michelin-star restaurant Quince in San Francisco. He was also the co-owner and executive chef of Nick’s Italian Cafe in Oregon, which won a James Beard award under his leadership.

[Related Axios story: Charlotte’s road to a Michelin star will be long but not impossible]

Details: At 2,500 square feet, L’Ostrica will have an open kitchen with 38 seats. Dinner reservations start at 5:30pm with the last seating starting at 8:30pm Wednesday-Saturday. Reservations are required, with the exception of a limited number of walk-in seats at the bar. 

  • It’s located at 4701 Park Road, between Park Road Shopping Center and Selwyn Avenue, in the same building as Waterbean Coffee and Vintage Nail Bar.
  • The market is open Wednesday-Saturday, from 11am-3pm, and Sunday 11am-5pm.
L'Ostrica
The chef’s market has house-made salads, pasta, dips, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages to-go. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

What’s next: Every Sunday, L’Ostrica will host “Sunday Suppers,” which are themed nights with an a la carte menu instead of a tasting menu.

  • Eventually, L’Ostrica will also serve brunch on Sundays.

My thought bubble: I sat down for an eight-course meal at L’Ostrica before it opened. The dishes are thoughtful in the sense that each ingredient is hand-picked by its chef and owners. There’s a story behind every decision made to coalesce the final product on your plate, and each course builds on the previous one to create a balance throughout your meal.

  • The restaurant’s vibe is not meant to be stuffy or too serious. The owners and chef are having fun with the menu and they hope that energy translates to your experience. Carter challenges picky eaters to just try it out — she says she guarantees you’ll leave with a new take on some ingredients you may have shied away from before.
  • Below is a description of everything I tried.
L'Ostrica
Caviar crisp — beet “chicharrone,” Ostera caviar, cured egg yolk. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
L'Ostrica
Corn Chawanmushi — Japanese savory custard, dashi, corn broth, pickled corn, black truffle. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
L'Ostrica
Hamachi crudo — sliced hamachi, smoked trout roe, pickled shallot, herb relish. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
L'Ostrica
Lobster Brioche — Gochugaru (Korean chile flake) aioli is the base. Resting on that is a toasted house brioche round, salted cucumbers, and smoke-kissed, butter-poached lobster. The dish is finished with a little lemon zest and some lemon thyme. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
L'Ostrica
Pork agnolotti — Piedmontese pasta pockets stuffed with pork and herbs on a light pork borodo. Pairs well with a glass of Italian red wine. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
L'Ostrica
Seared fish — delicately seared flounder, fish demi, sautéed escarole, toasted garlic. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
L'Ostrica
Duck two ways — duck sausage en croute, seared duck breast, turnip purée, duck jus. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
L'Ostrica
Baby ginger gelato — this dairy-free gelato is made with local ginger, topped with a sesame tuile and candy cap mushroom crumble. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
L'Ostrica
Just like its rotating food menu, the bar will have seasonal cocktails using ingredients from the kitchen. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
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