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Asheville area updates

--I heard Asheville is finally (finally!) getting a Vietnamese place in the City Market. Anybody know any details?

--U-whelmed at U-Joint: Went there the other day for lunch. Nice location and good beer selection. Unfortunately, the rest was not so hot. Sloppy, indifferently prepared food and service that bordered on surly. (Granted we were there at three p.m., but still...)

--Off night at West First in Hendersonville? Went there for dinner week before last and sat on the lovely new deck. First words out of the waitresses mouth were, "Sorry, we've run out of pasta." This was at seven on a Friday night! Wierd. So, having no other choice, we ordered pizza. (Which is fine, because it's GREAT pizza.) What we didn't know is that said pizza would take nearly half an hour to make it to our table. (And it was getting pretty toasty outside by then.)

--The Admiral: STILL the most innovative and consistent kitchen in WNC. If you get Kim as your waitress, ask her what's good, order it, and stuff it into your soon-to-be-drooling pie hole, because it WILL be good. (She makes a mean cocktail, too.)

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  1. Kim: yep, Kim knows what's good. Listen up!

    West First: the new deck is cool, but it's HOT! I would have been so bummed if they were out of pasta because we go there for lunch all the time but rarely make it for dinner.

    Tingle's: have you been yet? I'm looking forward to it.

    Bouchon Street Food: I swear I don't get the love for this place. It's not bad, but it's not really good either. So- so fries, so-so crepe (my husband hated his, said the ham quality was terrible). The guy who runs it seems like a nice, friendly guy....but I'm not feeling any culinary love.

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    Bouchon
    62 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

    16 Replies
    1. re: danna

      Agree that the W.F. deck is h-o-t HOT, but what deck ISN'T right now? BTW, the waitress said they were getting "curtains" to mitigate the afternoon heat. (Not sure how that is supposed to work but am willing to give it another shot if they'll just NOT RUN OUT OF PASTA!)

      Haven't been to Bouchon in about three years--wasn't horrible, but certainly wasn't world class French (not even world class STREET food).

      Tingle's certainly has all the buzz right now. Please post a review if/when you go. That name, though...brings to mind a boutique selling what they used to call "marital aids"!

      1. re: Jeff C.

        Oh, yeah...I meant it's HOT outside. Awful.

        Which, BTW, is why we went to Mean Mr. Mustard in H'ville on Sat instead of going to Flat Rock VB for pizza on the patio. We just missed closing at WF, and figured there would not be any seats indoors in the A/C at FRVB. Mean Mr. Mustard was awful. It was full, and I have no idea why. I don't think I had one thing that was decent. Avoid, avoid.

        1. re: danna

          did you have lunch or dinner at MMM? I have always had a very good experience there for both breakfast and lunch, but dinner (which is new for them and a different chef from B/L) is not as good. Don't know if it will get better over time, but for now, it still needs some work. curious what you had?

          I haven't sat out on the WF deck yet, but having a deck on our own house that faces west, I can imagine how bloody hot it is. Especially right now, when we are having insanely unseasonably HOT weather. And SO HUMID even after the sun goes down. Really, I'm so over it.

          1. re: Scirocco

            It's so hot I'm headed to Puerto Rico next week to escape it!

            1. re: Jeff C.

              LOL! That, combined with these hellacious storms EVERY freakin' day, makes my husband and me wonder if someone moved us to FL in the middle of the night and didn't tell us. geez.

            2. re: Scirocco

              Lunch...except we ordered off the breakfast side of the menu. I had a spinach salad, with some un-fresh carrot shards and cranberries, with two overcooked eggs that were supposed to be poached but were more like over-medium, an absolutely inedible piece of "focaccia" and no salad dressing. I did order a side of grits which were the only decent thing I had. And really slow service to top it all off.

              Cry me a river, I'm at the foot of the escarpment where it's always 5-10 degrees hotter. My treeless backyard was like a blast furnace yesterday. AND ZERO rain in a month. NONE. Lightning, yes, wind, yes, rain, no.

              I've had such culinary bad luck lately, what with Mustard this week and Bouchon last week, I think I'm going to have to insist on the Admiral next Sat, now that Belle Chere is over and it's safe to go to Asheville ;-)

              -----
              Bouchon
              62 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

              1. re: danna

                Hmmm, that's too bad about MMM. I haven't eaten there in several months. Wonder if they are slipping. Have had a breakfast before similar to what you described and everything was perfect. Lots of other "food people" in town like it too. Their desserts are not worth getting (not bad, just "eh" - not worth the calories), but everything else I've had has been very good. Their service is usually very good too. Weird.

                I must admit that I'm a bit of a one-trick pony when it comes to Bouchon. We typically get either the AYCE mussels or their version of the "ham & cheese" sandwich (with the bechamel sauce). Have had a good quiche there and some not so great fish. Salads are a bit sparse and unexciting. Love their bread, but it's City Bakery's , so they can't get credit for that other than being smart enough to use them. I do really like Bouchon's fries, but I think those are sort of like pizza and BBQ - people have definite ideas of what type they like. And Jeff, I agree, this is not a true French restaurant - more of a cafe style casual fare. But, we enjoy it for what it is.

                1. re: danna

                  oh, and danna, if you go to the Admiral, could you report back on prices? seemed to be creeping up when we were there last...but, we got entrees vs. small plates, so maybe the small plates are still a good value. ??

                  1. re: Scirocco

                    I was just there week before last. None of the small plates was over $11. The wife and I split a salad, had two small plates, two cocktails, two beers and a dessert that was so good I almost wept for $61, excluding tip. Given the quality and presentation, a phenomenal value.

                    1. re: Jeff C.

                      ya, I think we'll just stick to small plates in the future. Our bill for two entrees, one app, 2 drinks and a dessert was about $85 (excl tip).

                      1. re: Scirocco

                        Many more updates to report in the area:

                        - Blue Water Seafood now open on Charlotte Street near Starbucks/City Bakery; this is THE best place we've found for fresh seafood
                        - New BBQ place now open on Sweeten Creek (Moe's BBQ, serving "Alabama-style BBQ); haven't been yet
                        - Also curious to try Tingles, the concept sounds great ("upscale" diner food)
                        - we had a really bad experience at Sazerac on the 4th of July. 2 people working the whole restaurant on the night of the busy fireworks event - one bartender, one waitress. Their fancy cocktails take so long to prepare that it was literally taking 30+ minutes to get a drink. I ended up not even feeling bad for the bartender , who was cursing and complaining the entire time (we were at the bar and got to watch the meltdown). It was really unprofessional and I thought it was a little irresponsible that they were not warning anyone about the understaffing issue/wait. No one expect to wait half an hour for a drink.
                        - Blue Ridge to Go has changed it's name to Valet Gourmet. We really like this delivery service and use it about once a month.
                        - new crepe place on Haywood near the library called The Creperie (open breakfast-dinner)
                        - Cucina 24 is opening a deli spot next door to the restaurant (I'm excited to try this too)
                        - a place called HomeGrown going into the old Picnics space - sounds like they will have local, organic options under $10 (kind of a fast-casual spot)
                        - We went to pick up tortillas from Mr Suave on Patton the other day and they have added cheap tacos, tortas and other Mexican options to the menu. Planning on trying this soon too.

                        1. re: miss piggy

                          Thanks, Miss Piggy! Had a similar experience during my second visit to Sazerac about a month ago. They are WOEFULLY understaffed...

                          Let us know if you go to Tingles!

                          1. re: miss piggy

                            Blue Water is not open.
                            They claim that they will open next week. Shame that dinner will not be served

                          2. re: Scirocco

                            We've been to the admiral a couple times over the last month0--Hadn't been there for a while due to money restrictions, but oh my lord. They haven't missed a step, and the prices seemed to be on par with what they were before. I pretty much always go with a small plate. It's always enough food, and they're generally 11-12 dollars or less. The first time back I got the trigger fish on blue grits with some sort of tomato-bacony thing on the side. Amazing. Last time around, my husband got the pig head torchons and I got the kung pao sweetbreads. There really aren't any words for how crazy good the food is at Admiral, and I always wind up feeling like an idiot even trying to say anything about it. It's the rare place where I'll try anything that i've ever been curious about but leery of trying anywhere else on the planet (i.e. sweetbreads. Well, and pig's head torchons, for that matter!) Never fails to astound, and they're just damned nice there, too.

            3. I have to lunch somewhere tomorrow that has outdoor tables and allows dogs. Any of Asheville's new offerings fit that description? I want to try something new, but I'm drawing a blank.

              1 Reply
              1. re: danna

                Lexington Ave. Brewery has an open eating space in the front where you could probably just put pooch on the other side of a low wall/counter. (I've seen the waitresses taking water to dogs a couple of times.)

                Other than that, maybe the outdoor dining areas at Posana or Laughing Seed? (I'd call first, though.)