The Compound Grill Strikes The Right Chord

Above: Photos: The Compound Grill Restaurants | 17 Feb, 2011 |

Music and organic food come together in fine harmony

As an avid music enthusiast, nothing excites me more than a live band. As an increasingly committed health-nut, nothing whets my appetite more than a sumptuous organic food restaurant. Combine the two and you’ve got the perfect venue-eatery combination – The Compound Grill.

Founded by the producers of the McDowell Mountain Music Festival, The Compound Grill has a two-fold goal: to provide organic, locally-sourced, “farm-to-table” dishes as well as supporting and showcasing local artists on their stage located within the restaurant – every night of the week.

The Compound Grill Venue

My dinner companion and I chose a Monday night to sample the tastes and sounds of The Compound Grill. Luckily for us, it just so happened to be Monday Jazz Jam.

Right away, I was thoroughly impressed by the service, almost surprised. Upon stepping into the building, not one, not two, but three employees greeted us. This gave me high expectations for our server, but even he failed to let me down. Nowhere else have I ever received such undeniably attentive and genuine service.

As we headed to our table, I couldn’t help but notice the restaurant’s urban-chic décor. The walls boasted a warm, darker hue of red, and the space felt very open, though the tables were fairly close to one another. Surprisingly, this only added to the experience in a positive way; close quarters was reminiscent of a packed venue, but with the look and feel of a homey environment.

All of the artwork on the walls centered around one common theme: live music at music festivals. The photos displayed folks either performing or enjoying the sounds, which reinforced the influence of the restaurant.

After about 20 minutes of browsing the menu – not because we were undecided, but because I couldn’t pull my attention away for more than seconds at a time from the jazz quartet, its energy and the guest musicians called up to the stage before each number, instruments in hand – it was finally time for the spicy, opening act: the Green Room Hummus.

This appetizer was a refreshingly hot mixture of fresh garbanzo beans, herbs, jalapenos, lemon zest and spices, served alongside fresh pita bread and cucumbers. The pita bread was so soft, seasoned and simply delicious, we fought over whom would take the last bite.Grilled Brick Chicken dinner, The Compound Grill, Photo: Kristine Cannon

Soon after, it was time for the main act, our dinner entrees, and I was blown away at the amount of food offered for such an affordable price. I ordered the grilled brick chicken, a boneless, organic half chicken served with a generous helping of griddled mashed potatoes, perfectly seasoned sautéed veggies including zucchini, carrots, green bell peppers, green onions and asparagus as well as roasted corn. The mashed potatoes complimented the dish and gave it a country-sophisticated feel; not to mention it tasted exactly like a baked potato with just a hint of that sour cream taste. This dish struck a chord pleasing to my taste buds.

My dinner companion ordered The Che, a personal favorite of our waiter. Considered “the rebel of all Cuban tortas,” this torta had roasted pork with avocados, lettuce, Southwestern sauce and Swiss cheese, save the pickles and ham; hands down the best torta I’ve had. To boot, it wasn’t greasy, and the dish was paired with sweet potato fries. And when you remember that everything is organic, it makes the dinner that much more enjoyable because you know the ingredients are fresh.

For a restaurant that originated from a music festival with the intent to provide “participation in the areas of community, culture, and charity,” popular among patrons of all ages, The Compound Grill puts on quite the show, on and off the table.

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