A Taste of the Lake: Jeffrey’s Restaurant

PHOTOS BY CHELSEA KOWALSKI

When it comes to mixing American cuisine with a touch of southern flare Jeffrey’s has it covered. The restaurant opened Valentine’s Day of 2005 as a place to enjoy reliable and consistent food with friends and family. It’s conveniently located in Mooresville roughly a half-mile off exit 33 from I-77. Owner Jeff Lancaster’s mission was to bring a locally owned high-quality establishment to the Lake Norman area. Their core purpose “good food and good times” certainly held true when we stopped in.

We opted to dine outside on their stunning covered patio, a picturesque setting for the beautiful fall weather. However Jeffrey’s inside is equally matched featuring sky high ceilings, modern fixtures, and lots of comfortable booths. Immediately upon sitting we received their renowned breadbasket which did not go to waste. We started our evening by ordering a few beverages from the vast drink menu. With approximately one hundred red and white wines to choose from, plus an abundant number of specialty cocktails, it was a hard decision to make.  Eventually, we ended up choosing the Jeffrey’s Coffee and Jeffrey’s Cosmo. The spiked coffee had a combination of Bailey’s, Kahlua, and Amaretto topped with whipped cream. It was warm and cozy, served in a glass mug, and could even be ordered for a fun dessert but note it is caffeinated. The Cosmo is a great drink option for all seasons with it’s mix of vodka, Cointreau, and cranberry juice. We also sampled a glass of J Lohr, Los Osos Merlot which is a fine pick for any dry red wine lover.

For starters we tried the French Onion Soup, Spinach Arugula Salad, and Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail.  The soup was served in a traditional lionhead bowl topped with an overflow of cheese.  Inside was a flawless amount of flavor, bread, and soup. A great item during the cooler months! It marks at the top of the list for favorite French Onion Soups we’ve had in the Lake Norman area.  The salad contained candied pecans, crumbled feta, shaved red onions, and julienne carrots and can be ordered as a small or large.  The house made signature dressing paired wonderfully with the ingredients and was not overdone. The shrimp cocktail was a good shareable appetizer, including four tasty jumbo shrimp with moderately spicy horseradish cocktail sauce.

Once we were ready to move on to entrées, we sampled several different meals.  The Shrimp & Grits included house made grits with Cajun cream topped with large gulf shrimp, andouille sausage, white wine, sautéed bell peppers and onions. This is one of the staple dishes at Jeffrey’s. You’ll immediately know why it’s so popular here; the sausage was mildly spiced with big lumps of shrimp served on top of a thick layer of extremely cheesy grits. Next, the Seared Beef Medallions were tips of filet mignon and teres major topped with bleu cheese gratin, crumbled bacon, and Bordelaise. The beef cuts were delicious and very tender. This was another one of our favorite parts of the meal which made it no surprise to hear that this is one of their most popular dinner items. After that, we tried the Seared Atlantic Sea Scallops containing roasted grape tomatoes, scallions and sweet corn with creamy risotto and citrus garlic butter. The New Bedford scallops were undoubtedly fresh with their seafood being delivered every two to three days depending on consumption. The risotto was smooth and light while not heavy on cream or butter, yet still full of flavor.

Also, we were able to try both the Blackened Chicken Pasta and Chicken Florentine in sample sizes that again looked like full meals! Another best seller, the blackened chicken is commonly tossed with fettucine, but you also have the option to sub shrimp for an extra $2. The sauce is not a typical thick, creamy Alfredo, but more like an Alfredo with cream and butter pasta. The Sprinter Mountain chicken was a plump, tender breast of chicken that goes fantastic with the roasted red pepper with a sauce that reminded us of a play on spinach and artichoke dip.

With our stomachs full, we ended the meal by asking to see their impressive dessert tray. Many of the desserts are brought in from Queen City pastry, also located in Mooresville. The most popular is said to be the three-layered chocolate torte which comes in a flourless gluten-free option.  Make sure you remember to save room when you stop in so you can try some!

Typically when a restaurant focuses on quality the portions tend to suffer; however, this is not the case at Jeffrey’s.  Just one full-sized entrée would have left us satisfied.  We love the clean and upscale atmosphere this place provides for a comforting meal. With the menu undergoing modifications about two or three times per year don’t worry, because they always keep the regular favorites you can come back to.  Not only do they provide lunch and dinner menus, but events such as Mother’s Day brunch, Easter meals, Valentine’s Day specials, and more. If you haven’t tried this spot yet, move it to the top of your list. If you have already, then you know what I’m raving about!

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