the admiral (asheville, nc)
& now for the happy news on haywood...
i dropped into the admiral friday night (they opened at 5pm that day). good tunes, kind of a swanky, adult feel to the place (no kids there friday, don't know if they're allowed, but it's not an appropriate vibe for the kiddies, imo).
disappointingly, there are no taps at this time, although i believe they're coming. still, they have a decent list of bottled beer to satisfy most tastes & price points. also a small bar selection of good, middle-road liquors; looks like they do straight pours and most simple mixes, but i doubt they get real frou-frou with the booze concoctions. i was happy with my mocha stouts. in retrospect, upon questioning by my wife, i don't recall seeing any wines there at all, although that's not to say they don't have any.
i started with the pimento cheese dip, which was just ok. i should note, i'm pretty particular about pimento cheese. i was introduced to it years ago in sc, where they take it pretty seriously. the admiral's version is a little too thin and not sharp enough for my taste. that said, it may very well appeal to those less picky than i am about this particular dish. served with toasted rounds and a few veggies.
happily, my entree of beef short ribs was excellent. a half dozen or so perfectly cooked short ribs, served with a pomegranate glaze, which was very tasty, although it didn't seem particularly pomegranate-y to me. accompanied by green beans, which were cooked perfectly tender-crisp, and roasted potatoes.
as i was sitting at the bar, i had opportunity to overhear other patrons, and can say that the asparagus & mussels (i think it was mussels, and those are two separate dishes, not "asparagus & mussels") were getting raves.
on the down-side, it did seem to take just a little too long for food, especially apps, to hit the tables. however, as they'd been open a grand total of 3 hours at that point, it's way too early to gig them on service. the kitchen is open to view (you can sit at a small bar right in front of it if you like), and the cooks seemed to take a great deal of pride and care with the food.
all-in-all, this seems to be a promising place that could throw a bit of competition sunny point's way. i'm looking forward to going back for more. their banger's and mash (veal & rabbit sausage w/ mashed root veggies) is calling me.
the bangers & mash at the admiral are consistently good. i've tried at least 3 variants on the theme (last night's was wild boar & cranberry sausage). the bangers never have that corn-syrupy sweetness i've noticed at other places, and the mashed root vegetables are always very good. prices seem a tad high, but for the quality & consistent execution, i'll pay it.
sat at the bar & service was top-notch.
I ate there with a group of friends 2/17. Everyone at the table raved about the food. service was good, although the waiter did say "we are still working out a few kinks". I had a leg of duck, which was excellent. Limited wine list, but enough to get by. The atmosphere is funky and bar like, but the food was closer to gourmet. My favorite place in town up til this point has been Table, but this place has food that is almost as good at a MUCH cheaper price. Again, it's NOT bar food, but very good elegant dishes with healthy size servings, at a moderate price. I'll definitely recommend it and will be going back!
i had the crab mac & cheese last weekend, and, wow, was it good! if you've tried the lobster mac & cheese at the lobster trap, this version put the trap's to shame.
i guess i should get out more to the higher-end places, because my only complaint with the admiral is that i think the prices are a tad high; if they kept prices more in the low to mid teens, it would be much more in keeping with other places in the area. it can be a pretty steep price tag considering you're eating in a bar, although the food is generally very good & serving size is fair. but then, if you've read any other posts by me, you know i'm a broken record on this topic; i think nearly every place is over-priced (some moreso than others).
Went there last night.
On the upside: the venison was delicious: cooked rare, very flavorful, with an excellent blackening rub on it. The salad over which it was served complemented the venison's flavors well.
The mediocre: the pimiento cheese spread. Too mayonnaisey. I think Tupelo Honey's spread has spoiled me. Also, I didn't especially mind that the beer was bottled, but the waiter didn't even give me a glass with the bottle. Poor form.
The bad: We waited 20 minutes after we finished eating; the waiter never came by our table after delivering the food, not even to check in on how it was, and we eventually had to flag him down to get the check. When the check came, he overcharged us on two of the three items we ordered. Not a surcharge, just increasing the price over the menu price.
We won't be going back. Very poor service.
yeah, i've experienced the too mayo-y pimento cheese, too. had one really good one, and two really not so good ones; doubt i'll try that particular dish again, although, for what it's worth, the menu changes frequently, so which version of pimento cheese they're doing changes often.
as to the service, it seems to be what i've heard described as gastro- or european- pub style, wherein you order & pay at the bar, but they deliver your food to you. i have no clue whether that is truly how gastropubs & european bars do it, but that is, in my experience, how the admiral works. i know thry have at least experimented with full table service, and want to do it, but i don't know if they're doing it yet. regardless, sorry you weren't satisfied with the service, although i haven't had a similar experience. for me, the food has been good enough to outweigh any niggling service issues (although it sounds as if your's weren't so niggling).
& here's part ii...
ate here again last night. had the trout & catfish stew, which was excellent. my wife had the short ribs, which were as good as they were when i had them. three friends got the stuffed chicken breast, and raved about it. the mussels were pretty good, but were a tad overcooked. the hummus was a good and fairly light version (could have used a few more pieces of pita on the plate). everything above except the hummus but including 6 beers, tax & tip came to $78.
they do allow smoking after about 9:00/10:00p, but it wasn't overly smoky even after then.
The Admiral's open 5-2, food til 12, smoking after 10, 7 nights a week. It's in the old B&D Bar (that was open from 8am to 6 pm). It's a welcome addtion to the service lacking westside nightlife. The menu changes daily and it's a gastropub, nothing swanky about it. This is a "bar" bar with some great looking food selections. I'm on my way there right now. Haven't eaten yet but they've got Jameson 1780 to pour for Holiday cheer!. Merry Christmas Hounds!