Asheville NC foodie stuff
Seems like top restaurants that normally get mentioned these days are: Admiral(W.Asheville), Zambra) & Cucina 24, Bouchon and Limones(all downtown), Corner Kitchen, Rezaz & Fig (Biltmore Village)
New on the scene: Sazerac (downtown) seems to be getting a lot of thumbs up for its New Orleans-style fair.
For Gluten-Free customers Posana(downtown) is a godsend
Transition time for Savoy which is supposedly becoming a more reasonably priced Italian restaurant.
Curras Dom in Woodfin closed for a while and I think has now reopened w/ a new menu. They are also in the midst of enclosing an outside patio which should double the amount of available seat.
Stovetrotters in Biltmore Village closed recently
Haven't heard much lately about Marketplace. Long time owner sold it several months ago.
Several new restaurants in the rapidly developing South Asheville/Biltmore Park area...have heard mixed reviews on Trevinia(Italian - part of a chain of others in SC and Brixx. Recently heard some good things about the restaurant in the Hilton - Roux so need to try it.
we have eaten at Travinia twice and had great experiences both times - good food, prices and service. nice atmosphere too. some friends went recently and loved it.
have heard good things about 131 Main in there too, but haven't been yet. Roux looks interesting. they are doing some small plates and prices seem mostly very reasonable for a hotel restaurant.
Hickory Tavern is open in there now. also a small chain.
I've been to all of the restaurants in Biltmore Park. Here is my update:
Travinia - it's just ok. Gave it four chances. We have eaten a variety of food - pizza, chicken, pasta, salad and we always walk out somewhat disappointed. It's "faux" Italian food. Yes, the atmosphere and bar are nice. I do realize it's part of a chain, but so is Maggiano's which is all over the country and their food is delicious. The most authentic Italian food in Asheville is Nona Mia.
131 Main - It's convenient for those of us that live in South Asheville. I don't think it's worth driving 15 - 20 minutes to dine there, unless you are going to the movies. Food seems very fresh. I am not thrilled with their vegetable choices. Sunday brunch was very good.
Brixx - Do not like their pizza at all!!!!!
Roux - Also gave it four chances. The only thing that's really good is their flatbread, which changes daily. Brought four of our friends and everyone was turned off. It's always empty. We will never go again.
Hickory Tavern - tried it once. We had a burger and salmon and both were very good. I am not thrilled with the ambiance. It's a sports bar/restaurant and too noisy for me, but I would return if I didn't feel like venturing too far.
PF Changs - We have been there when we are too lazy to drive far, but don't really like it. The chicken lettuce wraps are decent. If you go in with low expectations and don't expect authentic Chinese food, then it's ok. Wish someone would open up an authentic Chinese restaurant.
I do agree that you probably need to check "authentic" at the door for these places. Most are chains (albeit small/regional ones in most cases). For instance, I wouldn't expect homemade pasta at Travinia; but I also don't mind "faux" Italian food if that's what I know to expect. However, everything we ate there was very good (with the exception probably being apps and desserts, which were ok), but we may prefer different things. I will say that being from Boston, I AM jonesin' for some real North End Italian!! (and their markets) :-)
My friends said Brixx was teeming with teenagers on their cell phones when they went (not really surprising) and so opted to go to Travinia.
These places are very close to us, so more an every day dinner out vs. a special occasion.
Roux just opened so that may be part of why they are slow. OR maybe people assume it to be a super high end Hilton restaurant, so don't even look?? who knows.
I don't understand the draw for 131 Main. Of course we can find an overpriced steak on just about any corner here in Charlotte. But I think there menu is very limited and overpriced. I have a 131 Main a stone's throw from my home and we rarely go because we can get a more varied menu and cheaper entrees at many other places close by. Granted it has a nice atmosphere and their food is fairly consistent. They do have a nice seared tuna and mango salad that I enjoy but beyond that it just doesn't do it for me.
Brixx is another regional chain, as you mentioned. You described it perfectly when you noted it's "teeming with teenagers". Its a decent place to take the kids when you want a sit down but quick dinner. I often get the grilled chicken house salad and it's always fresh with goat cheese and pine nuts. But just as you said it's an every day kind of place and not something I would seek out.
we tried Roux last night for dinner and I'm in your camp, LIG. A solid "eh". Maybe an "eh+" if I'm feeling generous. Am wondering if it might be better for lunch options. I had the mac & cheese (because I'm a sucker for ALL mac & cheese). Pretty good although if I was to be very picky, I prefer my m&c a bit creamier - flavor was good though. Had the meatloaf slider (3) which were also good, but LAB's sliders blow it away. And it had a weird "chopped salad" with it. Had an odd flavor to it that neither of us cared for. My husband had the meatloaf entree which he said was good. Sadly, it was the flatbread that really let us down (and I know you liked it best). I'm thinking it failed due to the toppings. It was a buffalo chicken flatbread with tomato, blue cheese sauce and celery. Flavor was good, but the bread (really more like a cracker - very thin and crispy) got completely soggy under all that and we couldn't even pick it up to eat it. And at $8.50, not worth the price (my other small pates were $6 and $7 and for the quantity, very reasonable).
And as you said, no one there. Picked up a little as we were leaving at 7:30, but still only maybe 6 tables full. And it's one of those typical open to the lobby hotel restaurants. Was hoping for something a bit nicer from a Hilton. Oh well. We'd go back if someone wanted to go, but otherwise, there are just too many other better places nearby.
Had lunch at Roux today, and we were fairly impressed, especially considering the price. I had a chicken caprese sandwich (grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella, roasted tomato, greens, and pesto mayo on toasted ciabatta) with frites, and it was excellent. My daughter had a tossed salad (nothing special, but the lemon vinaigrette was tasty) with the small plate of truffled mac and cheese topped with pancetta. Trust me, there was nothing small about this plate-she brought half of it home. Hubby had half a hot turkey club with chicken tortilla soup, only 6 bucks. All in all, including tip, our bill came to around $40, not bad for a family of three.
I've heard good things about 131 Main too. We had a lunch at Piazza in Fairview today and I thought it was better than the first time we went. Not that it was bad the first time, just not as great as other reviews had led me to believe it might be. Again, if I lived on that side of town I'd probably enjoy it more often. I live very close to Curras and look forward to trying their new menu and reporting back. I'm still a big fan of LAB, the new place on Lexington downtown, and shared with everyone the other day about Blue Water Seafood expanding into Asheville (old Charlotte St City Bakery space) in March. We tried Chai Pani last night via Blue Ridge To Go and thought it was interesting and tasty but nowhere near on par with Mela (which may not be a fair comparison considering CP is supposed to be Indian "street food" and Mela is not).
I also want to throw in some recs for some things that don't get a lot of attention on this board. First, Laughing Seed brunch is our new favorite. No wait, delicious food, large portions, good bloodys. Try it if you have not. The other is Pineapple Jacks in W Asheville. It's nothing fancy, just good, fresh, cheap food perfect for a quick lunch. The other day I had a combo that came with a bowl of delish tomato-basil soup (better than Tupelo Honey's), a wrap stuffed with turkey, cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato and a creamy dressing, and a side of chips and hummus - only $7 for everything. All very fresh and tasty. My husband had a cuban that he said was the best cuban sandwich he's tried in Asheville. He chose the chips and salsa side, and the salsa is really good. I had never even heard of this place and would definitely recommend it if you are in the area around lunchtime.
Truffled mac and cheese sounds amazing!
re: Jeff C.
tried it a few times. decent, fairly thin crust pizza. a bit on the sweet side. i like the crust a bit more charred and the cheese more browned than they tend to bake it. the one time we ate in they were serving beer from craggy; we felt the price was too high, although buying by the pitcher might bring it down a bit.