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Storm Rhum Bar, Asheville (sigh...)

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That's a sigh of exasperation up there, in case you're wondering.

The last time we ate here, the service was great, and I had a duck breast that was the equal of any I've had at The Admiral or elsewhere, and I believed they had finally put their inconsistency problems behind them...

Last night we stopped in for dinner around seven, and the place was maybe half-full. We were greeted promptly and warmly, and ordered two excellent cocktails (the bartenders remain some of the best mixologists in Asheville). Because we weren't that hungry, we decided to split a few items. First, was a grilled Romaine salad with bacon, which was brought to the table half-grilled and with no bacon whatsoever. How does a dish get sent to paying customers with a major component missing, and not a single person--not even the waitress--notices? We, very politely, pointed out the error, and a few minutes later, she dumped a small bowl of diced fatty pork on top of the salad, half of which was gone by then. Next up, was a Cuban Sandwich and fries, which was good, albeit haphazardly slapped together. Finally, we decided to split the blueberry cobbler and ice cream. Twenty-five minutes later it arrived just out of the oven with melting ice cream running down the sides. As we started eating it, we found no trace crust whatsoever. Okay, says I, maybe the crust is at the bottom, but there was nothing but soupy, stewed blueberries and completely melted ice cream. When we pointed this out to the server, instead of apologizing she pointed to a tiny bit of crusted dough on the side of the ramekin, and said, "There's crust, right there, but I'll let them know." The manager (a great guy, BTW) soon came by, apologized profusely, and the offending dessert was taken off the bill.

Still, with so much going for it, why oh why can't Storm seem to keep both the food and service balls in the air at the same time?

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  1. This is funny.
    Saturday night (the night after you went) I went there with my family for our one and only dinner in Asheville, mostly based on your top 10 list.
    And I thought the food was great!
    We ate the beet salad and the grilled romaine. Best grilled romaine salad I've ever had. and I especially loved the bacon, chewy, crispy chunks of salty porkiness with those awesome spicy pickled tomatoes.
    I also loved the duck--cooked perfectly.
    Anyway, for me, as a total tourist, I loved it!

    And I really appreciated your current list.
    Thanks,

    I loved the duck dish

    1. After my first Storm visit last year, replete with mucho drink and food, I mainly drink at Storm...and skip the dining/eating. I think the cocktails and bartenders are wonderful. The food leaves much to be desired, in my opinion but I love the space. I think the issue is consistency as you suggest.

      4 Replies
      1. re: winefuhrer

        I've been there twice and thought the food was really good both times. It was the service that ranged from bad to weird. ceviche, burger/fries, veggie plate all very good. I think it's weird how some places can't seem to hire decent staff. Back in the day when I went to Salsa all the time, we always laughed out how Hector seemed destined to hire nutjobs.

        1. re: danna

          Some (though not all, by any means) of the servers at Storm would flunk out at Salsa.

          1. re: danna

            Danna,

            It is really a matter of what you do with the servers after they are hired. I have experienced some very nice young people at Storm...it is possible they need a little more time invested in them.

            1. re: winefuhrer

              Oh, yeah...you're obviously right. My very premise that certain restaurants always seem to have weird servers implies that it's a training issue, or at least a *vibe* coming off the management.

              In corporate governance, we call that "tone at the top" and we tend to laugh about the phrase, but it really is so important. If a C-suite/Restaurant management believes in integrity/customer-service, that attitude trickles down, and it's a lot more powerful that paying lip-service to the idea.