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Jun 10, 2010 02:52 PM

Which Asheville area top restaurants would be better with elderly in dining party?

I have been reading and drooling over all the posts regarding top restaurants in Asheville. My 4sisters and I are coming down to celebrate a 50th birthday weekend which will include 86 year old Mom (still active but slowing down). We will be staying in a rental in black mountain and I am looking for ideas especially for a Sat night birthday celebration keeping noise level and access in mind.
Also looking for a choices for Fri night after doing the Biltmore -- maybe Fig?

I would love to try the Admiral but the dive description doesn't seem like a good celebration restaurant about noise level. ( maybe some of us can sneak out late Thurs night .)

We will pick up 12 bones upon arrival for Thursday supper, so

Thinking about the farm to table sat brunch at Grove Park Inn then the trolley ride through town
Also wondering about Chef Mo's new location ?

Any comments of food choices or itinerary are appreciated. It's the first visit for all of us, and my sisters will be flying in from all around the country to celebrate with me.

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  1. Black Mountain is a bit of a drive to downtown Asheville, 30 mins or more.

    With that said... Try Bouchon, the only problem is that they don't take reservations so you could possibly wait up to an hour for a table on a busy night.

    Little Girl Eatery is also a quiet place.

    62 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

    4 Replies
    1. re: dineandcook

      Bouchon had been on my list but was crossed off when I found out no reservations, not willing to keep Mom waiting that long. Thanks for the tip about Little Girl Eatery. I'll check it out.
      I hadn't seen any recomendations for black mountain but if you have any...

      62 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

      1. re: MaryJ

        Its actually Early Girl. I've only been there once, and I don't really remember the noise level, (it was breakfast so I'm sure it was fairly quiet) but it does have a lot of hard surfaces. Its also a very casual place, not exactly what I'd pick for a special occasion. I'm trying to think of a place I'd recommend...maybe Zambra? Its fairly quiet as I recall, but it is pretty dark, if thats issue. Here's some threads about Black Mountain:

        1. re: CharlotteChowhound

          I've found that if you get to Bouchon by 6:00 or so, you'll probably be fine. Corner Kitchen is a nice option, and located fairly conveniently near I-40 for the trip back to Black Mountain. Rezaz is also an option for Friday, I guess it's technically outside of Biltmore Village, but we're talking like 100 feet or so.

          62 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

          Corner Kitchen
          3 Boston Way, Asheville, NC 28803

          1. re: CharlotteChowhound

            Totally right, i got to stop writing Chow posts while at work... that's the second mistake i've made today... work gets in the way of life too often. ;-)

      2. I find the noise level at Early Girl rather high. There is a lot of glass and the sound just bounces around.

        The Admiral (if you can get reservations) will be fine. "Dive" is more about the exterior - looks like a bar where the patrons blood alcohol level is higher than what's in their glass. Inside is fine, no design awards, but comfortable. The food is quite good and worth a visit!

        Zambra's can be a little hard to maneuver - a walker or wheelchair would be a challenge. Food is quite nice and lends itself to sharing, service plus the kitchen can make it a leisurely paced meal. This is downtown, so parking will be elsewhere. There is a garage just across the street, so shouldn't be a big walk.

        Have a wonderful birthday celebration!

        3 Replies
        1. re: meatn3

          Thanks for the birthday wishes. I will see where I can get reservations the Admiral, or Corner Kitchen. Will keep early girl in mind for a meal but not for the Birthday celebration

          Zambras isn't on my list because it seems to much like Jaleo which is where I took (and enjoyed) a meal with mom last time we visited.

          Rezaz menu sounds yummy we may have to hit that Fri night.

          Corner Kitchen
          3 Boston Way, Asheville, NC 28803

          1. re: MaryJ

            I'm not familar with it in Asheville?

            1. re: CharlotteChowhound

              No -Sorry I wasn't clearer. Jaleo is great place for Tapas in wash dc

        2. I think Fig is a good choice for your celebration dinner. It's reasonalby quiet, and has a not-too-trendy menu.

          I will say that the Admiral is not loud at all, but I disagree w/ the poster who said it's only dive-ish on the outside. It's a little divish on the inside, too...but in a cozy, pleasant way. I would love it for a big , casual celebration w/ friends. On the other hand, I don't think my Mom would ever get over the atmosphere of the place. She would still not think I had taken her to a "nice" place, even if the food came directly from the hand of God.

          Speaking of the farm to table brunch at GPI, has anyone done that? I'm mildly intriqued since I picked up the flyer at the City Market, but previous GPS eating leaves me skeptical.

          6 Replies
          1. re: danna

            We did the GPI brunch recently and it IS NOT farm-to-table! Those ads are 100% deceptive and we totally fell for it...what a waste of money! Every time I see those ads not in the Mountain Xpress I get infuriated. Avoid it at all costs!

            I agree with Danna about the Admiral being divey in and out, and personally, I think it is a little loud. As much as I'd love for you to go there because of the food, I am not sure it is what you are looking for.

            Fig is wonderful, and would be nice and quiet. Some out-of-town friends dined at both Fig and Corner Kitchen recently for dinner, and while they loved both, they actually preferred CK. So that would be a good choice as well.

            I know what you are going parents are not happy in loud places, and they also don't like eating places without a reservation because they don't like standing and waiting for very long. Bouchon may be a tough one...there is usually a long wait. I tried to take my parents there and we ended up going to Mela instead.

            Fig and Corner Kitchen would be my top picks! Have fun and enjoy Asheville! In my opinion, The Laughing Seed has the best Sunday brunch in town - no wait and TRULY farm-to-table!

            1. re: miss piggy

              Regarding Grove Park Inn Farm to Table Buffet, miss piggy, I don't want to dispute your experience but I do disagree that the ads are "100% deceptive." I know personally from my contact with farmers and with GPI staff that there is very significant local farm purchasing that goes into the farm to table buffet, and that this has increased in the weeks since the buffet started - maybe since you went.

              While the style of food and presentation may be more of a standard "big buffet" type of food as opposed to the highly seasonal cuisine you might expect from the farm to table label, there is definitely a larger percentage of locally purchased items on that buffet, than on, say, your average resort breakfast spread.

              This is an honest attempt to feature, promote, and advance local purchasing by a kitchen that would usually be considered too big to be able to execute much of that purchasing.

              Conflict of interest disclosure - I don't work for the GPI, but I do work for an Asheville non-profit organization whose materials are prominently displayed at this weekly event. And we would not allow this if the ads were "100% deceptive."

              1. re: miss piggy

                Despite Ms Piggy's warning, we tried the farm to table GPI brunch last Saturday. A reasonable number of the items on the buffet were marked with the name of the farm, some just said "local". I would have to say that it was a large enough %age of the offerings that I think it was reasonable for them to advertise it as such.

                It wasn't like you went to the farmer's market and laid out a spread of everything you found that morning and nothing else, but it seemed like a modicum of effort had been made.

                As to food quality, it really wasn't significantly better than what I've had at their buffet in the past. The Sunbrust smoke trout was horrendous and there were no decent breads, a shame considering what talent there is in the area. But the salads were fresh and the grits were good. My favorite thing? I made an old fashioned hot fudge and vanilla ice cream sundae w whipped cream and a cherry. $19. I won't do it again any time soon, but it was a nice change of pace and the views are always worth it, no matter how much of a screw the place is.

                1. re: danna

                  Didn't mean to stir up trouble, but we did not notice any tags denoting local purveyors when we went to the buffet. At all. So maybe we went to a different buffet? It was on a Sunday morning. And it was awful. So I may have misspoke it it was the wrong buffet...sorry!

                  1. re: miss piggy

                    no trouble, miss piggy! I do think the "farm to table" is Saturday only. But, if you hated the Sunday brunch , which I've been to in the past, i don't think the Sat offerings would be enough of an improvement for you to venture back out.

              2. re: danna

                Thanks for the input I think the atmosphere might be important to my mom too

              3. Two more you might want to consider ~

                Blackbird Restaurant in Black Mountain. I've been there twice and it's been very good both times.

                Cucina 24 in Asheville. One of my current favorites with a very creative menu. Mix and match antipasti are great for sharing. The wild mushroom pizza is wonderful and the hanger steak is yummy. Your mother would like the atmosphere.

                Cucina 24 ~
                Blackbird Restaurant ~

                Cucina 24
                24 Wall Street, Asheville, NC 28801

                1 Reply
                1. re: NANCY

                  I,m glad to hear you had a good experience at blackbird I did not read many good reviews on it

                2. Once again chow hound to the rescue! Everyone in my traveling party was so surprised we ate at such good restaurants. Sat night we did celebrate at the blackbird were the staff was great and the food yummy. Order the coconut cake. Though no one was a particular coconut fan After one taste we changed dessert orders so we could eat more of it!
                  The scallops were cooked perfect,the salads yummy and interesting. Noise level was fine and we had a great evening.
                  Over the weekend we also got to eat 12 bones,and Cedrics in the biltmore village,French broad chocolate, Fig, blackbird and the morning glory cafe in black mountain.
                  Would go back in a second to Fig ( stopped by for lunch awesome so glad we didn't miss) , 12 bones ( we did call ahead take out) Cedrics ( food was good staff was great) blackbird don't miss the coconut cake even if your not a huge coconut fan. Would not return to French broad chocolate the service was so bad I could rant for the hour it took to get a cold chocolate drink. No excuse it wasn't crowded just painfully slow cashier and support staff.
                  Would give morning glory another try service was iffy but it was Sunday morning and we
                  were ready to get on the road. Looking forward to coming back and getting to more of Asheville 's great eats
                  Anks for the recommendation