A new era of fine dining is coming to Charlotte with the opening of Counter-. Led by Owner and Executive Chef Sam Hart, Counter- is an intimate, full sensory restaurant experience featuring themed 10- and 14-course tasting menus. Chef Sam’s vision pushes the boundary on what creativity in the kitchen means, intertwining food, music, and art with menus that leave guests awestruck and inspired.
An Immersive Dining Experience
At Counter-, the menu, cuisine, and presentation are ever-changing, rotating quarterly for a completely new, sensory-focused dining experience. Taking a modernist, playful approach to food and exploring diverse global cuisines, each menu is artfully curated to evoke emotion. Utilizing music and art as a vehicle to guide guests through the meal, each plate is perfectly timed down to the minute to a pre-set playlist, tailored to help tell the story behind the plate. No two themes are the same, and dishes are never repeated after each quarter, which allows guests have a completely new experience with each quarterly theme.
The opening menu and theme for Counter-’s new home, Modern, pays homage to the modern art movement, with courses named after influential artists of the era, including Kahlo with Cactus, Sea Island Peas, Collards, Tamarind, Cheerwine, Avocado, Caviar; Kusama with Kaluga Caviar, Mango, Ume, and Sakura; and Monet with Beef, Leek, Truffle, Gobo, and Black Garlic.
Guests can choose between a 10- or 14-course tasting menu, with options to add on wine or non-alcoholic pairings. Previous themes include Terroir, which showcased the bounty of North Carolina, Color, which served as an opportunity to generate awareness surrounding mental illness, and The Wall, a tribute to the famed Pink Floyd album.
Counter-’s complex and flavorful dishes are complemented by its robust wine program, led by Wine Director Bill Cox, which features a diverse offering of female, LGBTQ+, and minority winemakers. Three wine pairing options that range in price are available, including the Global, the Fifty-Fifty, and the Absurd. A thoughtfully curated non-alcoholic pairing option is also available. Most recently, Counter-’s wine program earned Wine Spectator’s 2022 Award of Excellence.
A Blank Canvas Designed to Be Curated
Located in Charlotte’s burgeoning Wesley Heights neighborhood, the restaurant is purposefully designed to mimic a blank canvas. Designed by Chef and Owner Sam Hart, Counter- features muted concrete floors, white linen concrete countertops, and simple grey walls, allowing the story told through its food to shine. Octave Galleries is the art curator for the space, which displays artwork that embodies each quarterly theme from local artists, each of which is available for purchase.
Each design detail within the space has been thoughtfully planned, from the positioning of the speakers to optimize the balance of music and sound, to the material of the countertop that is designed to properly hold the temperature of the plate. A true chameleon, Counter- is intentionally easy to transform to fit the rotating menus, tableware, and art that accompany each quarterly theme. Once the theme is completed, all the revolving items are sustainably recycled, sold, or donated to local nonprofits. Aptly named, the restaurant seats 16 guests per service at a U-shaped counter that faces the open kitchen where the team prepares, plates, and presents each dish.
Interiors at Counter- photographed by Kenty Chung
Counter- is open Wednesday – Saturday for dinner service. Reservations are required and can be made online via Tock, walk-ins are not available.