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Asheville reviews from Feb 2010- The "new" Curras, Grove Park Inn and Fiore's

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I live here in Asheville but my company just held a meeting at the Grove Park Inn that I attended. This included a mandatory dinner at Horizon's on the first night. I have never eaten at the GPI, and while this is not new information for many of you, I just thought I'd throw in that this dinner was pretty bad. We sat down at 7:00 and the first course did not arrive until 8:30. My group was big but not that big (45-50 people) and they were horribly understaffed despite knowing we had a reservation. The lobster bisque was burned and bitter. This was a tiny cup that cost $12 (thank god I wasn't paying). A few folks started with an oyster app and I know that at least 2 people sent it back because it was fishy. We were each served a paper-thin slice of bread next (no bread basket). For the main course (which finally arrived at 9:30!) I had sea bass served with with spaetzle (which was rock-hard) and a mushroom sauce (which tasted like beef broth and was totally wrong for the fish). Really awful. I had heard Sunset Grille was a better option, but some people in the group ate there last night and said it wasn't much better. I am shocked that with the room rates and the menu prices being so high that the GPI doesn't offer better food. I would have been very upset if it had been my own money.

The next night (last night) I decided to use the expense account to try the new Curras. The two of us got the last table so they are looking busier. As for the new menu, a lot of it is the same (queso flamedo, similar entrees) but the prices have come down...a touch. However, I am still very concerned because it is still kind of pricey...pretty much every entree hovers around $15-17 with a few outliers at $13 and $20. With 3 house margaritas, one app and two entrees, our bill was $75 without tip, so it is NOT an inexpensive dinner and will still have to remain (for us at least) a somewhat "special occasion' place. Unless I can try not to drink, which I just don't see happening. :) On that note, I didn't think the margaritas were as good as they used to be. Maybe they have choosen a less expensive tequila for their house? I forgot to check. One thing that has drastically improved is the portion size, and one thing that remains the same is the excellent quality. We both loved our dinners and felt like we really got what we paid for, which had not always been the case for us at the "old" Curras. My husband had the lobster and steak skewers served with poblano whipped potatoes, grilled veggies and a chorizo vinagrette. Excellent. I had the salmon with pistachio glaze, black beans and plantains. Also excellent, and we were stuffed when we left. So my verdict is that they made amends on the previously skimpy portion sizes but kept the great quality, yet really did not come down in price as much as they led people to believe they would. So we will see. I wish them all the best but definitely have concerns.

And finally, while I did not eat there, I felt it important to note that several folks in the group went to Foire's. I've never been there, never really hear anyone talk about it, and don't think I've ever heard much about it on this board, but they all loved it. May need to be next on the list to try...

We are trying Limones again for the first time in years if we don't get snowed in. I'll report back!

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  1. thanks for those great reviews, and for taking one for the team at GPI ;-)

    1. Ya, I haven't ever heard anything very positive about Horizons and with all the proven choices in Asheville, I'm not willing to take that chance either! Especially at their prices. Am glad you were able to help solidify that decision, although I'm sorry you had to suffer through a mediocre to bad meal. :-/ Like you said, at least it didn't come out of your pocket! :)

      We've been to Fiore's once not too long after they first opened. It was ok. Let's just say we never went back. Wasn't horrible by any stretch, just many other better options. Don't know if/how it's changed since it first opened, so our visit may not be valid data.

      Curras Dom is on my to-do list (along with the Admiral, which I'm ashamed to admit I STILL haven't gotten to!). We usually do a Friday dinner out each week, so Curras's prices would fit into our budget for that. Am glad they are listening to customers and adjusting accordingly. Hope it works for them! Also glad to hear they are busy. These days, that is huge.