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Blackbird, Asheville

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So, we tried this place Saturday night, and the news is mostly very good. The space is open, and well-appointed, if a bit sterile. (It's in the new Aloft Hotel building.) Nice little bar scene, with a small selection of original cocktails, some of which feature local spirits like Troy & Sons Moonshine. (Forgot to check out the wine list--sorry.) We were greeted promptly and warmly and seated immediately for our 6:45 reservation. Our server was most gracious and helpful, and timing of when glasses and plates were presented and removed could not have been better. Now for the food: Started with an arugula salad with poached pears, pickled onions, spiced pecans, and Maytag bleu cheese crumbles drizzled with a sweet balsamic dressing. Lovely, if nothing we couldn't pull off at home. Wife had the crab cakes app. (which also came with a small arugula salad) and side of whipped sweet potatoes. I had pan-fried Sunburst Trout, buttermilk mashed potatoes, sauteed spinach, and a lemon buerre blanc, all perfectly prepared. For dessert we shared a HUGE slice of their signature dessert, a Southern Custard Coconut Cake, with cream cheese icing and toasted coconut that was so rich (but good) the two of us could only eat half of it--so we had the rest for breakfast yesterday! Total for two cocktails, salad, app., side, entree, and dessert: $69.00, pre-tip. My sole criticism of this otherwise worthy and well-run restaurant is that the menu has little true creativity much less daring. (Dessert menu excluded.) The quality ingredients are there, and the kitchen staff obviously knows what to do with them, so why not challenge them and us with something more than the elevated traditional southern fare we can get at a half dozen other places in town?

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  1. I couldn't agree more with you. The food is good, just boring. It was pretty good for Black Mountain but iI cant imagine for the price it will last long in Asheville. There are far too many amazing creative places to go in Asheville at the same price point to settle for Blackbird.

    5 Replies
    1. re: caiogirl

      Thanks for the report. We are traveling to Asheville for Thanksgiving from Philadelphia to see family. We thought about Blackbird for Thanksgiving Day.. after receiving their menu, we were not impressed considering they are charging $55 per person for a three course meal! Two of courses... Soup or Salad and dessert. Menu is posted on their website. We have reservation at Storm Rhum Bar and are on the waiting list at The Red Stag Grille ... their Brazilan Menu looks awesome.

      1. re: BRI328

        I know I shouldn't opine on a restuarant I've never been to...but on my one trip to Blackbird in Black Mountain it was pretty bad. So just one more data point for you.

        1. re: danna

          Don't you mean "Danna point"? <smiley>

          Full disclosure: I never ate at the Black Mountain location, but from what I've heard and read, it seems they have stepped up their game. Whether it'll be enough for them to survive in an increasingly competitive restaurant market remains to be seen.

        2. re: BRI328

          We went to Red Stagg for Christmas before and it was sorely disappointing. Can you report on your Thanksgiving experience if that is where you ate?

        3. re: caiogirl

          Caiogirl: They were certainly packed the other night, although that may have been new restaurant curiosity. Also, the crowd looked mainly touristy and/or long-in-the-tooth, which doesn't bode well. Change or die, I say.

          BRI328: Storm is slighly more adventurous than Blackbird (try the beef belly entree) but has been inconsistent service-wise. Can't tell you a thing about Red Stag. Please report back if you go.

        4. Too bad - had high hopes for this place and have been by a couple of times and it was packed. Asked for a copy of the menu and was underwhelmed. Looks like a very "play it safe" menu that you'd find in any town USA...but not in Asheville. Hope they step up their game a bit.