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May 27, 2010 06:02 AM

Loving LAB (and Mr Suave!) - Asheville

Now that warm weather is here, the garage doors have been flung open to create a large open-air space at this great brewpub on Lexington. We ate there on Tuesday night and enjoyed a couple of excellent pints (White Ale and American pale) as well as a really awesome dinner from their spring menu. They have revamped the menu somewhat with a few new, more seasonal offerings. For starters we had 2 crabcake stuffed artichoke hearts swimming in a white ale butter sauce. The hearts were fresh (not from a can or frozen) and the crabcakes were moist with a thin crispy crust. The sauce was fabulous. At $9, maybe a dollar or two overpriced since it was a smaller starter, but it rivaled even the Admiral, IMO. My husband and I both went with tacos for dinner. He had the green chile chicken served with chow-chow, a delightful southern-style veggie relish, and plantains. He mixed the plantains and chow-chow (which had a kick of heat) and it made for a really nice sweet-spicy combo. I had Sunburst trout fried fish tacos served with a jicama slaw and beer-glazed black beans. My husband hates/despises/detests balck beans and ate half my plate. I could have used another thin strip of trout on both my tacos but was satisfied - great flavors. We left full and happy on 2 beers each for just over $50 with tip. I think LAB easily beats out the food at Jack of the Wood, Usual Suspects and a few other bars we have favored in the past for their good eats.

I was impressed with the tortillas on the taco plates and our super-nice waitress reported back that they were from Mr Suave, a tortillaria on Patton. I remembered reading about them once on this board, trying to find them, and having no luck, so we did another hunt. The phone number listed online has been disconnected but they are located on the 1500 block of Patton avenue in a small little spot. $2.50 for appx 30, hot and fresh tortillas...can't be beat! We made our own fish tacos last night using triggerfish from Blue Water and those Mr Suave tortillas and they were excellent.

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  1. we have been dying to get back to LAB. Please, please, please tell me the sliders are still on the menu???!! I LOVE those.

    love that they have the garage doors that they can open. maybe we'll do a pub tour - haven't been to Pack Tavern yet either. btw, do you know if the parking garage over by the courthouse is $1 on weekends like the others? Since Pack Tavern opened, our usual free on-street parking is now usually full. we were eying the garage as an alternative.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Scirocco

      Asheville public parking garages all went to 24/7 charging about a year ago. Here's the info from their website ~

      On-Street Parking
      On-street, metered parking is for two hours or less, and costs $1 per hour, paid at the parking meter for each space. There is no charge for meters after 6pm, Sundays & holidays (but I don't know what they consider a holiday).

      Parking Garages
      Parking garages are operated for longer-duration parking as well as for monthly parking for downtown residents and employees.

      Civic Center Garage: Parking in the Civic Center Garage is free for the first hour and then $0.50 per hour for each hour or fraction thereof.

      Rankin Avenue Garage: Parking in the Rankin Avenue Garage is free for the first hour and then $0.75 per hour or fraction thereof.

      Wall Street Garage: Parking in the Wall Street Garage is free for the first hour and then $0.75 per hour or fraction thereof.

      The above does not apply to the various private parking garages or private lots in downtown. When I use a private lot, I use my phone to take a picture showing that I deposited the money. With all the horror stories about towing, you can't be too careful.

      Also, last nite the Wall Street garage was either partially or totally closed. The exit was taped off and there did not appear to be any cars on the first level. Don't know what's going on there or how long it will last.

      1. re: NANCY

        Sliders are definitely still on the menu...the toppings may have changed, though. And I'd love to tell you my free parking spot secret locales, but then I'd have to kill you. :)

        Nancy is right, but I don't think the garage you're talking about is considered one of the public lots, so I'm not sure about the fee.

        1. re: miss piggy

          YAY!! (not about the killing part.... LOL) Ya, that's what I was wondering. if the lot was part of the same group. I'll have to check prices next time I'm there. we were scoping it out when we went to Fiore's a couple weeks ago.

    2. Finally got a chance to try LAB this weekend. Was very impressed with the space and decor, esp. the two long counters that overlook the sidewalk parade. Had the White Ale, which was perfect for a sultry summer day, the trout tacos, which were delish but needed TWO tortillas per taco because they kept falling apart in our hands, and the malted chocolate mousse, which was more like pudding...not that that kept us from practically licking the bowl clean! Lovely service from a lovely young woman. Total damage for three beers, two entrees, dessert, and tip: $43.53. Verdict: a great new place to drink and munch.

      1. Horrid, bad beer. bad food - read my LAB chowhound review. I'm foodie, ex-chef & I've been brewing for 30 years. Foodies will not eat there or anyone who appreciates good beer.

        1 Reply
        1. re: global_eater

          When does YOUR restaurant open? <smiley>