Monday, August 20, 2012

Mellow Mushroom

The Black and Blue (left) and the Umami - my favorite - (right).

I was recently invited to check out Mellow Mushroom at its Selwyn Avenue location in Charlotte. Although I have seen Mellow Mushroom locations in both Charlotte and Atlanta, somehow I had never before tried it. There are actually locations in more than 15 states including another Charlotte location in Ballantyne. The Selwyn location of Mellow Mushroom boasts a large bar and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating including a groovy decked out school bus with booths inside! Although the focus is on pizza, the menu varies including Greek, Caesar and Chef salads as well as an option to create your own salad with all sorts of protein and topping additions. Additionally, a large number of hoagies are offered such as jerk chicken, mushroom club, spiked sausage and shrimp hoag'boy. Vegetarians will find plenty of options including 5 veggie hoagies - the tempeh came highly recommended - and lots of salad and pizza options. Munchies such as the famous pretzels, stuffed portobello mushroom, meatballs, wings, hummus and Muffuletta cheese bread round out the mix. Pizza and calzones are offered in specialty varieties and their is an option to build your own as well.

We started with bruschetta, a nicely executed version with basil and feta served on crisp garlic toast points with balsamic glaze, definitely a solid choice. Our wonderful waitress also recommended the stuffed portobello mushroom, which I will have to try next time. For pizza we opted to try 4 different specialty varieties by ordering half and half on 2 10" pies. The pizza is not too thin or too thick - a nice medium body crust - and you can tell it is fresh. I also enjoyed the addition of cheese around the crust's edge.

At this location only, there are three location-specific specialty pizzas available. We tried both the Black and Blue: olive oil and garlic based pie topped with blackened steak, crumbled bleu cheese, mushrooms and onions and the Umami (my personal favorite): candied jalepeno slices, pineapple, Applewood smoked bacon, fresh mozzarella, feta and caramelized onion, topped with basil. Wow, need I say more? Umami is considered to be the fifth taste - savory - which includes such a good combination of the four other tastes (sweet, sour, salty and bitter) that it requires its own unique name. The word comes from Japanese and means "pleasant savory taste".

We also tried the Holy Shiitake Pie, which includes Shiitake, button and portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions, mozzarella and Montamore cheeses with garlic aioli and black truffle oil on top. This was a close second for me - definitely a lot of great mushroom flavor and the aioli really adds an extra special touch. The Red Skin Potato pie, our final pizza selection was tasty although I would ask for the sour cream and spicy ranch on the side next time as I felt they overpowered the delicious potato flavor. This pie also has bacon, caramelized onions, cheddar and mozzarella - yum!

We tried a salad as well - the Enlightened Spinach Salad, which includes feta, dried cherries, apples and pecans. The homemade signature Esparanza dressing was delicious - definitely a must try and also good with pizza crust! We also tried the tempeh hoagie - a good flavor and lots of veggies make this a wise choice for the non-meat eating crowd.

For dessert we ordered the pretzels with honey/cinnamon sugar and the chocolate chip cookie. The pretzels (also available as a starter with garlic butter and parmesan or with butter, salt and mustard) are made from the pizza dough and are absolutely delicious. I had to get these and the cookie to go since I was already stuffed but I'm glad I tried them - definitely a treat.

Mellow Mushroom is a fun place for the entire family. Live music and trivia are offered weekly and the patio will be perfect for the upcoming fall weather. I suggest you give Mellow Mushroom a try. Let me know what you think!

Holy Shiitake Pie (left) and Red Skin Potato Pie (right).

Groovy bus complete with seating.

Bruschetta - love the balsamic glaze and the use of feta cheese!

Enter here.

Tempeh hoagie (half size).

Dessert pretzels packed "to-go". Usually they are served with the toppings already on.

Chocolate chip cookie.

Mellow Mushroom on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: The meal described in this review was complimentary.


Unknown said...

O MAN! That looks GREAT! Going to call one in tonight! Love your blog!

bluang3lbby said...

I love Mellow Mushroom! I had the pretzels and a salad last time I was there. But I really want to try the Holy Shitake pizza. Now that I know we can do 1/2 pizza this will make it so much easier to get one with my friends.

But this location is a bit odd. We once went on a Saturday night somewhere between 7-8 thinking it was going to be pack but we were able to get a table for 15 immediately. My friends prefer the Ballantyne location since it is so much busier. And our waitress that night was just forgetting things left and right. Maybe we just need to go with a smaller group.