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Nine Mile, Montford District, Asheville

Jeff C. Jun 21, 2008 06:34 AM

Big up to Mark for turning me on to this slightly out of the way place in the Asheville's cozy Montford neighborhood. They've done an excellent job remodelling the former space. The restaurant is spare and sleek but still homey, and the service is warm and friendly. Reminds me of a neighborhood joint in Brooklyn or Atlanta's Five Points district. There is currently limited outdoor seating on the sidewalk that they would do well to expand for the warmer months. The cuisine is mainly Caribbean Fusion with emphasis on jerk and curry sauces served over pasta with a variety of proteins, including tofu. (There's also a vegi-pasta alternative for carb counters.) Small selection of wines and four taps. They were serving Catawba's new Coconut Ale the day we were there--NOT as yucky as it sounds! They also have a nice selection of bottled beers, including Dogfish Head IPA and Caribe lager. I had a dish called (inexplicably) Jamacian Me Thirsty, which consisted of grilled jerk chicken breast (or tofu) with fire roasted tomatoes, sauteed garden fresh vegetables, herbs and jerk sauce over linguine with spring onions. The produce in particular was noticeably fresh and perfectly cooked. My only quibble was that I asked for medium heat and received hardly any at all, so order accordingly. My wife had something called Soon Come, which like the Coconut lager sounded potentially awful and turned out to be quite delightful. It included sauteed fresh sliced bananas, apples, raisins, pineapples and pumpkin spice served with cheese stuffed tortellini and spring onions. It was a nice blend of sweet and savory, perfect in the smaller lunch portion. Both entrees came with the also unfortunately named Natty Bread, which was basically toasted garlic bread with a nice bit of char at the edges. We were too full to eat dessert although there was a interesting sounding spicy chocolate cake on the menu. Total damage for two lunch entrees, two beers, and tip was a measely twenty five bucks, an excellent value for food of this caliber. We will be back.

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    mark RE: Jeff C. Jun 23, 2008 06:33 AM

    hi jeff,

    glad you enjoyed it. i agree with you about the heat. otherwise, i like it. did you get the lunch-size portions? i've only tried the dinner-size, and it's just a little too much food, but i'm afraid the lunch-size will be too little.

    so, the coconut ale is "not as yucky as it sounds". does that mean it's good, or just literally what you wrote? can you characterize the flavor at all.

    11 Replies
    1. re: mark
      Jeff C. RE: mark Jun 23, 2008 07:09 AM

      We found the lunch portions to be just right, although I should add that we usually eat pretty light for that meal.

      The coconut ale IS good, esp. with Caribbean food. It didn't really taste like coconut but instead had a toasty aroma with a nice malty finish. (They give samples, also, in case you want to taste before ordering.)

      I know you're not a big dessert eater, but have you tried the spicy chocolate cake thingy?

      1. re: Jeff C.
        mark RE: Jeff C. Jun 23, 2008 09:42 AM

        i'm not a big lunch eater either, but i do like a hearty dinner; think i'll stick to that portion.

        i'll have to hit them up for a taste of that beer.

        re the cake: i like it. it's not particularly spicy (i guess you could lick the cayenne off the top), more of a riff on some common jerk seasonings.

        1. re: mark
          Jeff C. RE: mark Jun 23, 2008 11:24 AM

          The cake sounds interesting. Will save room for it next time I'm there.

          And while I've got your ear: I'm really hot to try The Admiral now that they've added a patio. I know you've been there several times. What menu items would you recommend and what (if any) should we avoid?

          1. re: Jeff C.
            sarahyla RE: Jeff C. Jun 23, 2008 12:41 PM

            The admiral's menu changes weekly, and they have a mix of appetizers, small plates, salads, sandwiches and entrees. They emphasize seasonal and local. In their app selections they always have a homemade pimento cheese made with a beer that they serve, and there's usually an interesting hummus available (like avacado chipotle hummus - delicious!). I've had everything at the admiral from quail to elk to kangaroo to ostrich burger to gator chorizo hash, and i've rarely been disappointed with anything. Just went for bruch on Sunday (served until 3) and most of us got the buffalo sausage gravy & biscuits. Depending on how hungry you are, I'd recommend an appetizer and a small plate, as the portions are decent sized and you save money. If you like huge meals at dinner and don't mind paying up to $20 or so for an entree, that works too. And the patio is nice, I have seen people with their dogs on the patio for those of you that like to dine with your canines.

            OH, and our waitress Sunday told us that now they're opening at 2 p.m. on weekdays with a light menu, apps, snacks, sandwiches, etc. before dinner starts at 4 or 5...

            1. re: sarahyla
              mark RE: sarahyla Jun 24, 2008 04:44 AM

              what she said. the frequently changing menu makes it difficult to offer suggestions. in general, the game-based entrees have been good (really haven't had any stinkers there that i recall, my wife did get a plate of tough beef short ribs on her first visit, but that's it). i haven't been impressed with their various pimento cheese attempts; too mayo-y & runny (i have a high standard though as i have long experience in making it). hummus apps have been good. brunch has been fair to good, weaker than dinner. i wasn't real impressed with that bisuits & gravy dish; it was just ok. honestly, i haven't been there in awhile (didn't even know they were doing the small plates) as their prices are somewhat high, and we've been trying to redirect our cash flow (i barely rememeber the last time we dropped more than $25 for the 2 of us for dinner).

              1. re: mark
                Jeff C. RE: mark Jun 24, 2008 06:05 AM

                My thanks to you both. Will probably try it for dinner first.

                1. re: Jeff C.
                  mark RE: Jeff C. Jun 24, 2008 06:14 AM

                  hope you enjoy it!

                2. re: mark
                  mark RE: mark Jul 14, 2008 08:09 AM

                  tried the small plates at the admiral this past wekkend & was impressed. just as creative as the full-fledged entrees, and generous portions. nice to have a lower price point there. i had the frog legs with saffron pasta & an apple, radish, cashew brittle, & arugula salad, all of which, especialy the salad, was good. 2 of my companions had the diver scallops; judging by the sparkling clean plates, they were quite good.

                  1. re: mark
                    Jeff C. RE: mark Jul 14, 2008 05:50 PM

                    Wow. Sounds delightful. Still haven't made it out there yet. Maybe this weekend.

                    1. re: Jeff C.
                      jakistar79 RE: Jeff C. Jul 15, 2008 05:58 AM

                      We really thought this place was going to be silly, repeatedly hearing the concept "jamacian pasta", it seemed like a real stretch, but we went about two weeks ago and had a really tasty, fresh meal. I had a fish dish, the fiance had the jerk chicken dish. Both were good & we had leftovers for the next day. The sauce for the meat goes well with the pasta, very filling, no complaints at all. More impressive, we were there on a weekday night after 8 and they were still hoppin'.

                      1. re: jakistar79
                        Jeff C. RE: jakistar79 Jul 15, 2008 06:11 AM

                        We liked it, too, and want to go back for dinner. I wish them well. Also, I figure if Nine Mile is successful maybe it'll spark a few more small businesses in that area, which would be nice as long as they're in keeping with the Montford neighborhood vibe.

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