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Asheville (NC) - updates needed?

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So here are some restaurants that sort of fly under the radar for me 'cause I don't go there or don't hear much about them. Are they still around? Anyone been? Any Good?
Forest Blue on H-ville Road
Ophelia's downtown near Limones
Carmel's in Grove Arcade
Chop House
Magnolia's
Sadie's Seafood Pub
Steak & Wine
Harvest (east Asheville)
Southside (S. Asheville)

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  1. We had a rest.com coupon for Forest Blue and decided to use it up in December. Although they were no longer on RC, the agreed to honor the coupon so that was nice (they should, but some places won't).

    Unfortunately, it was pretty awful (and there were only 3 parties in there on a weekend). So bad, I was surprised it was still around. I had some pork tenderloin and it was tough as nails (???!!) and cut in really weird shapes, like crescents. It tasted like the meat had gone bad. Three red flags to me, but I couldn't tell if it was the meat or the marinade that created that off taste. I rarely complain about food out unless it's particularly inedible (I figure any place can have a bad night), but this time I told the owner who was just as nice as she could be. She said she had just made it the previous day, but went way out of her way to make it up to me. I think other elements of the meal were ok, but I can't get that pork out of my mind. A friend has tried it too for lunch and had a similar experience. It's too bad because I like the space and the customer service went beyond expectations.

    Southside, to me, is ok, but seems to cater to the over 70 crowd. Sort of like a grand dame who hasn't changed over the years (I feel the same way about Vincenzo's). The food at Southside was decent, but there are many options we like better for the price.

    We have had two good meals at Carmel's (dinners), but it's gotten mixed reviews on here.

    Have not had a true "meal" at S&W, but have had drinks and apps at the bar. Architecturally interesting space (I love old buildings), but Oh My Lord, the service at the bar was unbelievably slow and unmotivated. There was only one other small party at the end of the bar (this was late afternoon, probably mid-week) and so not like she was slammed. As I recall, the food was decent and interesting twists on old classics (ceasar salad and shrimp cocktail), but not worth a repeat visit.

    Hmmm...this isn't a very (positive) inspiring post... I guess that's why you don't see these places mentioned much!! LOL

    5 Replies
    1. re: Scirocco

      Hi - wish i could help, but i haven't been to any of the mentioned restaurants. My husband was asking about Sadies because he really like seafood, but I haven't heard anything and the word "pub" doesn't give me a good feeling when it comes to seafood for some reason.

      since you said the word "update"...I'm getting treated to brunch Sunday and I was wondering if there is anything new and tasty in the H'ville area? I don't think the 'rents will want to drive any farther north than that.

      1. re: danna

        you might try Mean Mr. Mustard's on 4th Ave, east (old Terra Nova). Warm space, usually good service and good food. It's an order off the menu vs. buffet. Everything I've had there has been good (lunch and breakfast). They are usually pretty busy though, so be prepared to wait a little bit. I think the hours are 9 - 2 on Sundays, but I'd call to double check (828-698-8584). For breakfast, I always get Eggs Abraham, which is odd for me, because I love me some maple syrup. EA is sort of like an eggs benedict, but with a thin steak fillet on focaccia with a poached egg and a couple sauce choices (you can get full or half order). Hash browns on the side I think? All good! I wish I had a menu to show you, but they don't have a website. Prices are very reasonable.

        Season's (Highland Lake Inn) always does brunch, but I've never been super impressed. It's good, just not great, although we have not been for a few years. It's $19.95pp for the buffet. Here's their current menu:
        http://www.hlinn.com/sunday-brunch.aspx

        If I think of any others, I'll post them before Sunday.

        re: Sadie's - haven't heard anything good. I think there are couple posts on here - no raves.

        1. re: Scirocco

          thanks for posting that. I didn't know you could see the buffet offerening in advance. I've always kind of enjoyed HLI, especially for the money, but that menu didn't excite me much. It's their salads that always get me, and I supose this time of year is bad for that anyway. My husband always plays a game of asking each other what the "best bite" was after a meal. When I say the salad greens he grouches about a $20 salad.

          Thanks...i didn't realize M MR M had anything other than sandwiches.

          We've been missing our Sat trips to H'ville/Asheville lately, and I understand there is STILL snow on the ground in the woods so looks like another mtb Saturday down the drain. Eating in G'ville is a drag.

          1. re: danna

            I like the atmosphere of HLI and some of their food, but thought they fell short in the sweet breakfast category (almost exclusively what I eat for breakfast! except for at MMM). And I agree, their price for an all you can eat buffet is very good. As a side note, someone just reported that their Italian Wine Dinner last night was fantastic and at $45pp for a four course menu, including wines, a good deal.

            And yes, MMM serves breakfast all day on the days they are open. You usually have to ask for that menu though if it's later in the day.

            thought of another one...Square 1 (near Never Blue and West First). On our first visit a long time ago, we didn't think it was that great BUT, on our recent visits, it has been fantastic (dinners/apps). I haven't tried their brunch, but a friend has and says it's good. The salads I have tried there have been good. And why is it that a good salad out always tastes MUCH better to me than a salad I make at home?! Prices reasonable too AND Underground Baking Co. now operates out of their kitchen and you can buy baked goods at the exterior kitchen door (their cookies are excellent). What can I say? I'm a carb junkie.

            Sq 1's brunch menu:
            http://square1bistro.com/brunch.php

            We still have a little snow here in Mills River, but I'm betting there's a bit more on the trails (shady areas), so unless you have your snow tires on, I wouldn't risk it! :)

            1. re: Scirocco

              For Leah...

              Carmel's in Grove Arcade - had a very expensive, very mediocre lunch there one time and felt no need to go back. Too bad since I think this is such a great location, especially in the summer with that large patio space.

              Steak & Wine - have only had drinks at the bar but the food we saw being served looked aboslutely uninteresting. Stark white plates with the meat on them and no garnish, veggies served a la carte in large portions also just plopped on a white plate. Looked totally boring and like something I could easily whip up at home. In contrast to some other reviews, we had good service from the bartenders. The ones helping us had a lot of personality and were very entertaining.

              Harvest closed and in its place is Piazza, Rezaz's owners wood-fired pizza concept. The pizza is good and we also like the family-style salad. Prices are very reasonable.

    2. Strangely, after never having eaten there at all, I ate twice at Sadie's Seafood Pub in the last week. We were treating a friend who likes it and the venue was her choice. I probably won't be back. The first time I had the crab cake sandwich. The sandwich was bland and sogged out the bun. I'd skip it. The fries were decent and they gave the tiniest portion of cole slaw that I've ever seen. Maybe it was supposed to go on the sandwich, I'm not sure. The second time I had the "world's best flounder sandwich" and it was okay. Better than the crab cake sandwich, at least. Of my companions, two had the oyster po' boy and one had a broiled salmon dish. Both looked okay, but nothing remarkable.

      1. and how about Cafe Azalea in E. Asheville?

        1. Just read on Ashevegas.com that Chef in Motion is opening at the Forest Blue location 04/01/2010.

          http://ashvegas.squarespace.com/journ...

          3 Replies
          1. re: NANCY

            Chef is Motion is yummy! We did a private dinner there last year, it was romantic, yummy and well priced. Lunch is good too. I hope they do well in the new local.

            1. re: NANCY

              that is great news! Forest Blue was just pretty much a disaster.

              Was looking at Chef in Motion's website (www.chefinmotion.com) and am a little confused about what they do? Is it all private parties or do they also serve lunch and dinner to the public (walk-ins)? They say on Ashvegas that they are going to have "a full service lunch and dinner", but I didn't know if they meant just for their private parties.

              Regardless, I hope they do well. thanks for the update! It is such a tough location. no one knows anything's there unless you are looking for it and even then, it's easy to miss.

              1. re: Scirocco

                We just went here this past weekend. The food is incredible, service phenomenal and the location is very nice.
                I hope it does well there.
                900 Hendersonville Rd
                Read my review on Yelp.
                http://www.yelp.com/biz/chef-in-motio...
                (Also, it is now called Chef Mo's)

            2. Carmel's seems to have a good menu but doesn't execute it well.

              1. I believe Harvest has closed. I tried it once - it looked good on paper. It was pretty disappointing. That, combined with clueless service and a manager who was totally unconcerned kept me from ever going back.

                1 Reply
                1. re: meatn3

                  Piazza is there now. That's Reza Setayesh's new wood fired pizza place.