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Nov 14, 2008 07:13 AM

Attention, Asheville Hounds: The Admiral is King!

Wife and I finally had a chance to try The Admiral last weekend. It's a sort of hipster bar/restaurant on Haywood in west Asheville, not much to look at from the outside, though it does have a nice covered terrace for the warmer months (and for desperate nic fitters who can't wait until ten p.m.) The inside is definitely unique, with lots of chrome and black and a neon sign that proudly proclaims the joint a "dive." (Also: check out the old console televsion that has been convereted into a working aquarium for a few sun-starved goldfish.) The staff is very friendly, highly informal, and unpretentious but not embarrassingly so. They also have what may well be the coolest, most eclectic jukebox on the planet: Buck Owens, James Brown, Television, South American psychedelia from the 1970s, etc..

Nice selection of microbrews (including my beloved Bell's), wines by the glass and bottle (few bottles over twenty-five bucks), and a full bar. No beer on tap, oddly. (Oh, and the "Admiral's Grog"--with Cheerwine and creme de menthe--sounds disgusting! Has anybody tried it?)

We sampled a selection of the smaller plates, most of which were excellent. Here they are in the order served:
1. Wonderful homemade lemon hummus with toasted pita points and a nice selection of pitted olives.
2. Arugula salad with toasted hazelnuts and a fine aged goat cheese (with a balsamic vinaigrette).
3. Organic duck breast with lovely vanilla poached figs and a chintsy smear of whipped sweet potato.
4. Admiral's "bangers and mash" with boar sausage and mashed root vegetables. Loved the sausage--very unique and relatively healthy.

The only dessert offered that night was tiramisu, and we were too stuffed to try it. (Doesn't rerally seem like a dessert kind of place anyway.)

Total damage for all the above and three beers: 55 bucks! (A bargain, IMO.)

We WILL be back! (What should we try next, regulars?)

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  1. Cheerwine and creme de know, I don't get a chance to use the word "vile" nearly enough....

    1 Reply
    1. re: danna

      I feel your pain, Ms. Danna... I tried to say the two together out loud the other day and nearly gagged.

    2. Glad you finally got to try the Admiral... i feel spoiled living within walking distance... The bangers n mash are always yummy and are a regular item on the often changing menu. Next on your list should be sunday brunch! You may have to forgive slightly slower service on weekends though as the servers also make the drinks (mimosas, poinsettas, bloody marys, white russians, etc. etc.) but it's the same friendly staff, and i'd take it over sunny point any day!

      5 Replies
      1. re: sarahyla

        The drinks certainly sound good. What's the brunch menu like?

        1. re: Jeff C.

          It changes weekly, but it's always seasonal and local, with brunch twists on many of their dinner menu items. There's always one fruity/granola type healthy dish (which i try my best to avoid) :), Staples are local eggs, sausage and bacon, usually there's biscuits and gravy on the menu and the gravy varies from buffalo sausage gravy to chorizo gravy to hickory nut gap gravy. If you're not sure what to get, go for that. The omelets are always interesting and delicious, (one that stands out in my mind was a pulled pork omelet with caramelized onions, cheese, and peach bourbon bbq sauce). Lately they've had a different kind of quiche and frittata every week. for those who want more lunch than breakfast, there's always at least one sandwich and/or salad on the menu. And for those that arent' quite so adventurous, lately they've offered 2 eggs, bacon or sausage, biscuits, potatoes or grits. The potatoes and grits are the two sides that you typically get to choose from. Sometimes the taters are a mix of sweet potatoes and red potatoes, sometimes all red. The grits are goat cheese grits, and last week they switched it up with hominy. Steak and eggs with either venison steak or flat iron steak.

          One thing you can always bet on is that their ingredients will be in season, and while there's always something new and different to look forward to, they know which dishes they make that people come back for, and they don't take those away.

          1. re: sarahyla

            Sounds absolutely wonderful. Brunch is only on Sunday, right?

            1. re: Jeff C.

              Yes, 11 to 3. Get there before 12:30!!!! They sometimes run out of the best dishes of the day.

              1. re: sarahyla

                Thank you! Ate there again the other night but still haven't made it for brunch.

      2. had an excellent meal there this week...

        started with the pimento cheese. after gigging them in the past on bland/watery pimento cheese, this one was very good, so i wanted to exend special kudos for that.

        followed it with a salad of baby arugula, hickory nuts, tart apple and humbolt fog. entree was elk with demi-glace. sides were a parsnip puree & brussels sprouts. all very good.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mark

          Haven't had the pimento cheese yet but love their lemon hummus and pita points. Have had the salad you mention but it had toasted hazlenuts instead of hickory nuts--it was an instant favorite at our table.

          Still haven't been by for brunch, though, have you?

          1. re: Jeff C.

            tried them for brunch a couple of times shortly after they started serving it, so at the very least my assessment is outdated. found it to be a little more inconsistent than dinner, but still pretty good. i recall having the bicuits and gravy on one visit and being underwhelmed (dining companions liked their's, but i don't recall what they had). we decided to give them a while to get their feet under them, then the downturn hit & we stopped going out much, so haven't been back.