Asheville, NC- Steak and Wine
- ncwino May 21, 2008 02:23 PM
I understand that the new Steak and Wine is opening this weekend. It's going in the old S&W building downtown. From the looks of it, they have done an excellent job with the remodel. Should also have a great bar upstairs. The menu and wine list look very tempting and should be a welcome addition to the Asheville downtown dining experience.
The start of a website is up, but no info yet. I'm so glad the building will have a restaurant again - it is a beauty. A bar upstairs will have great people watching!
I visited for dinner on Memorial Day, which was their third evening open. They open at 4:30. To give a mini review: The beef in all it's forms was wonderful. You could cut it with a fork but it still maintained a nice level of pink in the middle and a tasty sear. The beef tartar amuse bouche was wonderful. The service was excellent, and on their third night nonetheless! The bread was stale and somewhat tateless and the butter that it came with, while excellent, was not enough to cover the horrible taste/texture of stale bread. The oysters on the half-shell were pastuerized Gulf Coast. They were bland and overpowered by a slightly astringent champagne viagrette which might have been better suited elsewhere. The wine list is serviceable. All sides are ala-carte, which to me is the sign of a chef whom, while excellent at preparing meats, is very bad at pairing foods. The room, of course, is beautiful and incredibly Art Deco. The renovation they did on this old cafeteria was fantastic. In short, go for the steak, try a wine, everything else is hit and miss for the price.
I had dinner there last night with three others, and we all enjoyed every aspect of the experience.
We started with drinks at the bar upstairs which was a great introduction with a beautiful setting looking down into the dining room and friendly service from both bartenders.
Once in the dining room, we were seated somewhat close to the kitchen even though the restaurant was nearly empty, but we were spaced far away from other tables. However, towards the end they did seat a large table of nine or so right next to us, but it was not obnoxious or obtrusive at all. Our waiter Matthew knew when to leave us alone and when we needed attention, he was great.
We had two appetizers at the table, the artisan cheese plate (the mustard cheese was my absolute favorite) and the crabcake - one big ball of delicious crab with a crispy crust (almost like a hush puppy) that two of us split and there was still enough leftover for the other two to have a taste.
One in our party had the salmon, which was cooked and seasoned very well, and the rest of us each had a different cut of steak. I had the petite filet for $18 (which i couldn't even finish, so I'm glad I didn't get the bigger one), one had the prime rib, and one had NY strip. My filet and the strip were requested to be cooked slightly rarer than mid-rare, and the prime rib eater wanted his rare. All three were cooked to perfection exactly how we wanted them. My filet was excellent, but the NY Strip by far had the best flavor of the three.
I'm not sure where their beef comes from, but I do have a friend who is a server there, so i will ask him.
We kind of liked the idea that the sides came separately from the entrees, and they are portioned for two. My date and I had asparagus, and the other couple had creamed spinach. Other sides on the menu were sauteed mushrooms, truffled mashed potatoes, potatoes dauphinois, green beans, and maybe a couple of others that I can't recall at the moment.
We had an excellent bottle of Cabernet that we were already eyeing, and was the first recommendation from the waiter (he said it's what the owner drinks when he comes in) when we asked for his suggestion.
The staff were overall very friendly, not at all stuffy in such a fine dining setting, and they have obviously gone through intensive training with the food, wine, history of the building and future plans for the restaurant (banquet hall in the basement for 150, etc.). You could certainly tell that everyone was new and still getting a feel for things, such as bartenders trying to figure out the computer, etc., but those hiccups were minor and not at all detrimental to the experience.
Between the food, atmosphere and service, it was overall a great experience. I look forward to trying the adjacent Corner House for breakfast or lunch soon.
Don't bother on the corner house, really.
Aside from the fact that no one in there knew what they were doing, or who was waiting on us,
-I watched the woman make our Bloody Marys, and there was about a quarter of a shot of vodka in each, $7 for basically cold tomato soup.
-What was advertised as "homemade" hollandaise was obviously not homemade, rather from a bottle.
-Eggs had the microwaved, not stove cooked texture.
-Asked for catsup, it was warm, in individual cups, separated, sour.
-After picking through what we did eat of our meals, the "chef" came out of the kitchen and literally scratched his hairy butt in front of us. Yawned, scratched his greasy head, and walked out the door. Totally gross.
-Food took forever to come out of the kitchen, and the waiter forgot about us for about 10 minutes after delivering the check. Another waitress repeatedly walked past us, seeing the check, and ignoring it.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ketchup (or less commonly CATSUP), also known as Tomato Ketchup, Tomato Sauce, Red Sauce, Tommy Sauce, Tommy K, or Dead Horse, is a condiment, usually made from tomatoes. The ingredients in a typical modern ketchup are tomato concentrate, spirit vinegar, corn syrup or other sugar, salt, spice and herb extracts (including celery), spice and garlic powder. Allspice, cloves, cinnamon, onion, and other vegetables may be included.
Originally, Ket-jiap, I believe, and fish-based sauce, from China or Indonesia. It's a phonetic spelling, so there's no really right or wrong. The Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook of 1950 contained half a dozen or so recipes, only one of which was tomato-based. Others were grapes, mushrooms, I forget what else. Since that time, non-tomato-based ketchup mostly disappeared. But today, some of the fanciest New York restaurants are beginning to turn to things other than tomato for ketchups they serve.
I could agree with that review of the Cornerhouse, except that the butt-scratching chef has since been fired, and the chef from Steak and Wine is now in charge of both. No more Sysco muffins -- they are making pastries in house for breakfast and working on changing things up during the day shift. Wait times have decreased, and I had the most wonderful homemade veggie burger!!
Steak & Wine looks like a stately restaurant from Patton Ave., so I saved up the (expensive) trip there for Valentine's Day. Even after I read some pretty bad reviews on tripadvisor and other sites I decided to take a chance on S&W. I made sure to call in to make a reservations 3 weeks out. True to a number of reviews that said S&W forgot their reservation, I trudged out in the snow at my reserved time only to find out that they had no record of my reservation. I even mentioned to the staff that I had read they had problems keeping reservations and they just said it was a simple error and scrambled to find a table.
So, after loosing my reservation, you'd think they'd try and make up for it, right? We were sat in one of the worst tables in the house (again a by-product of loosing the reservation). The service was fair at first, as we could tell that they were either understaffed or poorly managed. But it quickly fell to abysmal. The owner was very attentive to a table beside as who must have been friends or an important customer, b/c even though they were sat 10-15 minutes after us, not only did they receive their appetizers before us, they received their main course before us and finished their entire meal before we ever saw our steaks! (the 2nd of their pre fixe 3 course meal). At this point, 2 strikes (lost reservation, horribly slow service) against S&W, but then to add insult to injury the owner/manager pays for their meal! At this point I was outraged. Thankfully our waiter, who at least acknowledged the slowness of the kitchen (did our table neighbors' food really come out before ours in order or did the manager make sure their dishes came out first??) offered to buy us a couple extra glasses of wine, the only attempt to salvage this experience.
I typically review restaurants on their food, but in this case the restaurant has already failed me. The food isn't spectacular. If it was fantastic maybe it would be worth their downfalls, but it's not.
Sadly after much optimism that this would be a great "special occasion" restaurant in downtown Asheville, the next time I'll be going to S&W will be on the way to other great establishments like Table and Limones.