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Asheville - help us cut one from our list

MercerChow Jun 7, 2009 06:19 AM

We will be spending four nights in Asheville and are looking forward to four nice dinners. We have narrowed our list to five restaurants. Believe me, it was an ordeal getting it down to five.

But we still have to throw one over the side. So which will it be: Corner Kitchen, Nova, Rezaz, Table, or Zambra?

Any thoughts on which one does not belong on the list?

You may be tempted to suggest alternatives, and we will try to be open minded, but we are really trying to make the list shorter, not longer. Thanks!

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  1. m
    McChow RE: MercerChow Jun 7, 2009 06:33 AM

    My vote would be to take off Corner Kitchen. The others are just too good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: McChow
      NANCY RE: McChow Jun 7, 2009 07:56 AM

      I really enjoy Corner Kitchen, but totally agreed - that's the one I'd ditch.

    2. s
      Spreadhead RE: MercerChow Jun 7, 2009 10:59 AM

      I agree, Corner Kitchen is very good but does not fit that list

      1 Reply
      1. re: Spreadhead
        Leepa RE: Spreadhead Jun 7, 2009 02:05 PM

        Agreed. Have lunch at the Corner Kitchen instead.

      2. l
        LifeisGood58 RE: MercerChow Jun 7, 2009 03:42 PM

        Agree with the rest. Corner Kitchen is also great for breakfast.

        4 Replies
        1. re: LifeisGood58
          MercerChow RE: LifeisGood58 Jun 7, 2009 04:52 PM

          Such unanimity is so unusual for Chowhound! I'm speechless!

          Anyway, thank you. I promise a full report...

          1. re: MercerChow
            miss piggy RE: MercerChow Jun 8, 2009 06:05 AM

            Not trying to make things more difficult, but I'd also think about Fig over Rezaz or maybe Table. There are mixed reviews about Table on this board (I've not been, so it's probably not even fair for me to suggest this) and while I think Rezaz is very, very good, to me Fig is a "wow" dinner - excellent. I always thought the menu looked a little boring so I put off going there for a long time and now it's our favorite special occasion meal in town. Both are located in Biltmore Village.

            Sorry...had to do it!!! I am jealous...you've got some great meals ahead of you!

            1. re: miss piggy
              chizow RE: miss piggy Jun 8, 2009 07:12 AM

              I was not impressed with corner kitchen but I would have to say stay away from Zambras. We had a terrible meal there recently, rubbery frozen "contessa" shrimp, hockey puck omlette, and horrible misuse of clove.

              1. re: chizow
                carolinadawg RE: chizow Jun 8, 2009 07:17 AM

                I have eaten at Zambra several times, and have always had excellent experiences. I'm sorry to hear that yours was less than stellar.

                To the OP, in addition to defitely keeping Zambra on your list, I'd also put in a vote for definitely keeping Table. I have only been there once, but loved it and thought it was wonderful.

        2. l
          leahinsc RE: MercerChow Jun 8, 2009 07:53 AM

          I'd drop Zambra and keep CK or I'd add Admiral in W. Asheville ...been hearing great things about Admiral lately. Have been to Nova several times lately and impressed every time. Have done well at Table and Ck consistently...haven't been to Rezaz's in a while. Haven't been to Fig in a while but it always impressed me when we did go.

          2 Replies
          1. re: leahinsc
            LifeisGood58 RE: leahinsc Jun 8, 2009 09:09 AM

            Went to the Admiral this weekend. It was superb!!!!

            1. re: LifeisGood58
              kimgirl RE: LifeisGood58 Jun 24, 2009 11:05 AM

              Definitely consider adding the Admiral. We went a couple weeks ago and it was wonderful--drinks, food--great!

          2. danna RE: MercerChow Jun 8, 2009 08:39 AM

            See...you knew you wouldn't get unanimity for long ;-)

            I must also vote against Corner Kitchen, I've only been there once and I didn't taste anything that made me want to give it another try.

            1 Reply
            1. re: danna
              Zeisel RE: danna Jun 8, 2009 11:15 AM

              You've made some good choices. I, too, would eliminate Corner Kitchen--the food is good, but nothing special. Keep Table on your list--I've been there quite a few times--every meal has been terrific--they change their menu frequently. I've never been crazy about Zambras--to me, the dishes sound better than they taste.

            2. estufarian RE: MercerChow Jun 23, 2009 06:21 PM

              I'm piggybacking here.
              I posted 'generally' on places between Knoxville and points east - but responses have been sparse on Asheville.
              I'l be in Asheville on a SUNDAY (which rules out many places) - from this thread only Table & Zambra seem to be open Sunday evening.
              Which should I choose?

              I also note that The Dining Room at the Biltmore is open Sunday. Is this a worthwhile alternative - or just cashing in on the name?


              7 Replies
              1. re: estufarian
                carolinadawg RE: estufarian Jun 24, 2009 03:18 AM

                I haven't eaten at Biltmore so I can't help there. I love both Zambra and Table. They are different experiences, so it really depends on what you're looking for. Table is a bit more formal, although certainly not excessively so. Zambra is more casual, and is, of course, a tapas restaurant. Some people love tatas, some loathe the concept. Both place have great food, so its a matter of what you're in the mood for.

                1. re: carolinadawg
                  estufarian RE: carolinadawg Jun 24, 2009 08:57 AM

                  Thanks. Looks like I can't go wrong with either.

                  1. re: estufarian
                    dnovak RE: estufarian Jun 24, 2009 11:16 AM

                    It depends on what kind of dining and atmosphere you want as to which restaurant to cut. Corner Kitchen is very casual compared to the others. I agree you should eat lunch at the CK and drop Table for either Fig, Mela or Limones. Table is way overrated in my book. I would stay with Zambra though, I love the place.

                2. re: estufarian
                  chizow RE: estufarian Jun 24, 2009 11:31 AM

                  Early girl is open till 9 on sundays


                  1. re: chizow
                    newtonorthavl RE: chizow Jun 25, 2009 01:34 PM

                    Decisions are hard. You have to go with the best, and what is uniquely Asheville. Never been to Table, so can't comment on it. I think you should drop Corner Kitchen, their breakfast/ lunch is better than their dinners, BUT you really need to go to Limones, over Zambra. I ate their last night actually and everything was superb and tasted very fresh. Their menu is seasonal and changes often, but their fish tacos and ceviche are very well done, as is the coffee marinated flank steak w. mint hummus. I don't think I would go to Zambra again unless I had to-sorry!

                    1. re: newtonorthavl
                      miss piggy RE: newtonorthavl Jun 25, 2009 07:02 PM

                      I've been curious about Limones lately. That was our #! favorite in Asheville for a while but we found it slipping and have not been back in over a year. Anyone else had any other experiences?

                  2. re: estufarian
                    estufarian RE: estufarian Jul 9, 2009 01:07 PM

                    OK Feedback time.
                    I narrowed my choices to Limones, Table & Zambra - all of which were within 5 minutes of each other, so we checked the menus at all three.
                    We found the menu at Table to be fine - but similar to other places we've eaten at recently. Also, their Health Rating was dated July 25, 2009 - a little strange as that is a date in the future! Similarly Zambra had dishes that were somewhat similar to choices we can get in Toronto, so we ended up at Limones (Toronto doesn't really have a choice for Mexican). Actually, it didn't really strike us as mexican - the spicing seemed to be more reminiscent of New Mexico cuisine (also not available in Toronto). The meal was very good - only marred by the winelist, which wasn't as accurate as I'd like - we ordered a Riesling - but the wine served didn't seem to have any trace of Riesling (and no mention of Riesling on the label either, after I checked). But still enjoyable and I'd happily return (but check the wine more thoroughly).

                  3. mikebmassey RE: MercerChow Jun 25, 2009 07:53 PM

                    I have only eaten at one of the places... but Table was great!

                    1. MercerChow RE: MercerChow Jul 9, 2009 03:00 PM

                      So the original poster finally weighs in. . .

                      First, thank you to all of the Asheville hounds who opined on our original post. Good to see such an active and thoughtful community. If you’re ever in central NJ, check out our local crowd on the Mid-Atlantic board.

                      So what were the results? We did end up with four dinners at Nova, Rezaz, Table, and Zambra. Our overall impression was good. Generally when we travel the question is: Would we go here if this place were in our home territory? And the results this time were a 4-for-4 “yes,” though we did like some more than others. So, on to the detail.

                      Nova: We were lucky to hit this place on half-price wine night. We went with the 2003 Travaglini Gattinara Nebbiolo, which was a good value at half-price, though I’m not sure I would have been that happy with it at full price. It was still a bit young. We shared small plates, including the grilled romaine salad, mushroom tart, lamb porterhouse, and a WNC trout special. The lamb and the trout were the highlights. We finished with a nice sorbet trio and a glass of the Ramos Pinto LBV port. Service was fine, though not especially engaged. The room was not too full.

                      Rezaz: Arrived here after a long, hot day and ordered a bottle of the Alsatian Meyer-Fonne Pinot Blanc, which was perfect. We started with the grilled Caesar salad and the gnocchi, both of which were good (the gnocchi especially). We continued with the seafood paella and a red snapper special. I thought the snapper was good (though my spouse thought it a bit dry), but I was not terribly impressed with the paella, which was bland. We finished with a slice of baklava, which was baklava. Service was fine, but a bit distracted at times. The room was packed.

                      Table: Interesting and eclectic wine list here, which triggered some questions and resulted in an informative discussion of the Grüner Veltliner grape. We ended up ordering the Prager GV, which was terrific. Kicked things off with a bowl of house-marinated olives, which were tasty and mild (therefore not interfering with the wine). We continued with the arugula salad and the sweetbreads, both recommended. For entrees we had the roast chicken and a special, whole NC porgy. The chicken was good, but the porgy was exceptional, some of the best fish I have ever eaten. We finished with a nicely presented cheese plate and a glass of the Broadbent Madeira. The service was engaged but relaxed. We arrived at 6:00 and the place was empty, but it filled up quickly.

                      Zambra: I know it’s a tapas place but nonetheless it has one of the most extensive Spanish wine lists I have seen anywhere. Very impressive. We ordered a bottle of the 2006 Casar de Burbia Mencia from Bierzo, which was a little young but opened up nicely as the meal wore on. Our tapas were the mixed greens, sautéed mushrooms, the octopus (excellent!), the sweetbreads (good, but not as good as those at Table), and the boquerones (marinated anchovies). Everything was good. We finished with a nice cheese plate. The service was attentive and interested.

                      So for once the spouse and I were in agreement, in order of preference: (1) Table, (2) Zambra, (3) Nova, and (4) Rezaz, with (1) and (2) definitely on a higher plane than the other two. All of the usual footnotes apply, e.g., these are single data points, etc. But thanks again to all. We couldn't have done it without you.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MercerChow
                        danna RE: MercerChow Jul 10, 2009 07:52 AM

                        wonderful reviews, very much appreciated ! Glad you ate (and drank!) so well.

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