Charlie Park Rooftop Tallahassee

April Date Night at Charlie Park

We went to Charlie Park at the AC Hotel in Tallahassee for our “date night” on Saturday. This rooftop restaurant has been on our list to visit for quite a while. It overlooks Cascades Park in downtown Tallahassee and a lot of folks had recommended it. Because great Spring weather was in the forecast, I requested an outside table so we could enjoy the view.

The hotel is located on the north side of the Park. We didn’t park at the hotel because the area in front of the hotel was jammed up. I did notice there is a commercial parking garage of the Cascades Apartments which is across the street. There is some metered street parking in the area. We were lucky enough to find a spot. When you are facing the front the hotel, the main entrance is on the left of the passage under the hotel. The entrance to the elevator to Charlie Park is in a separate area to the right.

The receptionist greeted us when we walked in to Charlie Park. A large bar which is along the glass wall looking out to the rooftop area and the park dominates the room. They were able to accommodate our request for an outside table. If you check the rooftop photo in the post header, we were at the left table of the two at the end. They gave us menus and told us our server would be Hannah.

We took a few minutes to get settled in and grab a pic of us with the park in the background. Hannah came over, introduced herself, and asked if we wanted drinks. The bar features some unique specialty cocktails, but we decided just to have prosecco. These came right out. Unfortunately, the prosecco was served warm instead of chilled. We told Hannah and she did go back and get us new ones. This time the wine and glasses were both chilled.

The menu is broken into “snacks”, small plates, larger plates, and sweets. There is a Greek “theme” to a lot of the dishes. The website said the dishes are designed to share which Teresa and I usually do anyway. We asked Hannah for her recommendations. We decided try a couple of the small plates and one of the larger ones. I asked our server to bring them one at a time so we could enjoy each one before moving on to the next. We decided to start with the Pork Belly Bao, then have the Seared Ahi Tuna, and then the Burger À La Charlie.

Pork Belly Bao
Pork Belly Bao

Pork Belly Bao

Our first dish came out pretty quickly. Teresa and I both like a good bao. This dish has black vinegar glazed pork belly, carrot ginger aioli, apple cabbage slaw, and a cucumber carrot relish.

The presentation was very appealing. We did notice the bun was not warmed. The meat was well seared. The components complemented each other, but the saltiness of the meat seemed to overwhelm the other flavors.

Seared Ahi Tuna

The tuna was served before Teresa had finished her bao. This dish features a sesame crusted ahi tuna, a miso dressed arugula, cilantro oil, spring fruit salad, fresh mint, orange foam, and yuzu soy.

The tuna was very fresh. The sweetness of the fruit complemented the fish and the salad. The orange foam and soy which served as the sauce didn’t really stand out to enhance the flavor of the dish.

Seared Ahi Tuna
Seared Ahi Tuna
Burger À La Charlie
Burger À La Charlie

Burger À La Charlie

The burger was served while we still had half our tuna to finish. This dish features Australian wagyu beef, black garlic aioli, millionaire’s bacon jam, romaine, tomato confit, fontina, and a Japanese brioche bun.

We had asked for it medium rare. It was served closer to medium-well. The bun seemed a bit over-toasted as well. The flavors were good, but it has a fair amount of grease, so its a pretty “messy” dish to eat.

The burger normally comes with chips. We got the Double Duck Frites instead. These are double fried hand cut fries cooke din duck fat with a house bravas rub and pio pio creama. The bravas rub seemed light on salt. The cream was spicy, but not sure it “added” that much to the dish.

Shortbread Ice Cream Sandwich

For dessert, we chose the shortbread ice cream sandwich. This features two house-made salted shortbread cookies, salted caramel gelato, toasted meringue, and a pistachio shortbread crumble. While the other dishes had come out quickly, this one took a while. Hannah brought us two spoons to share the dish.

The presentation appealing. The gelato was very flavorful, but the cookies were thick and very hard. When Teresa tried to break off a piece with the spoon she had to use so much effort things got pushed off the plate when she finally broke through. It got a little easier with the bottom cookie as the ice cream melted. We enjoyed it, but it was tough to eat.

Shortbread Ice Cream Sandwich
Shortbread Ice Cream Sandwich

Our Take

Charlie Park is a unique venue. It is more of a speciality bar/event location than a restaurant setting. This is true both inside and out. The view and weather both made for a pleasant night, but the crowd and music are definitely make this more of an “upbeat” rather than a relaxed experience. The service pace also made us feel rushed. While we enjoyed our meal, each dish and the drinks had at least one issue. Since this is positioned and priced at an upscale level, these are things we think the team at Charlie Park need to improve. Overall, we have to give it a “neutral” rating. It is definitely better for a group night out than a romantic experience for two.

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