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Jun 20, 2008 02:31 PM

Is Stovetrotter's the best restaurant in Asheville?

I would encourage you to visit Stovetrotter's, a high-end bistro with an unfortunate name and no relation to Charlie Trotter's, just on the edge of Biltmore Village. We ate there by chance on a quiet Wednesday night and had a meal fit for a Saturday night special occasion.

They have a locavore ethic and a guy playing Beatles instrumentals on guitar. They have an expansive open kitchen with a wrap-around bar, a dozen or so tables, and a small fenced patio. I think they started as a catering company that also offered cooking instructions. We started with an amuse bouche of roasted until sweet garlic clove, brie, and a raspberry-something gastrique. A little tasty jewel in a pretty dish. We also had some of the best focaccio bread I've tasted in a restaurant, served with a trio of accompaniments -- blackberry butter, olive oil and aged balsamic, and a Asian-flavored chili oil.

We also moved on to a hyper-spinach and fresh berries salad that, when we said we would split it, they divvied onto two plates for us. We then had the scallop creation of the night. (It changes nightly.) This once could be described as scallops with apple pie filling. You had your seared scallops paired with roasted, super-delicate apples, and an almost caramel-like sauce. It sounds gross as I type it. It tasted delicious as I ate it.

For entrees, I had a perfectly cooked piece of halibut with a blueberry sauce, wilted spinach, roasted tomatoes, and "purple" rice. Nice summer flavors. The TW, turning back the clock to January, went with the osso buco, which was as tender as a Steve Earle ballad.

Dessert was a bananas foster bread pudding with Chantilly cream, one of the better bread puddings I've encountered in some time. There was only one waitress working the floor for three tables inside and two outside, but service was perfect. As we left, I couldn't help but wonder if this was the best meal we've had in Asheville.

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  1. The few times I have been, have been very inconsistent in both food and service quality.

    1. I know this is an older thread, but I did want to give my report on this place as of last night. It was my first time in, and I understand they have had a change in chefs since it originally opened. Anyway, this place was packed on a Tuesday night due to a company dinner of about 12-15, our large party of 10, and another party of 4. Despite the fact that we all walked in around the same time, I thought the service was excellent and the food was sublime.

      The appetizers - we had fried sausage/rice balls with a nice mariniara, a veggie version of the same, and polenta cakes topped two ways. All very, very good. The bread was a fresh French-style and was served with a compound butter (maybe roasted red pepper?), a regular butter and OO/balsamic mix. My Caesar salad was fresh and crisp and dressed perfectly. Most of us had the fresh catch special - a gorgeous piece of grouper served with butternut squash-rice and a delicious butternut basil sauce. It was excellent. For dessert, the bananas foster bread pudding which was incredible.

      It was certainly up there with one of the best meals I have had in Asheville. The chef came over to greet us and our female server was quite adept in managing our large party and the other table of 4, not to mention assisitng with the holiday group behind us. I'd definitely reccomend it!