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Seven Sows Bourbon and Larder, Asheville

Menu is up - sounds incredible:

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  1. I just drooled on my laptop. If anyone learns a firm opening date, please post here.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Jeff C.

      Open on Tuesday - we have rezzies for Saturday! So excited to report back!

      1. re: miss piggy

        You lucky girl! Just don't make the reservation under Miss Piggy...with a name like Seven Sows they might begin eying you with a little too much appreciation!


        1. re: miss piggy

          Crap! Just as I'm headed out of town. We expect a full report after! <winky smiley>

          1. re: miss piggy

            any feedback on this one, miss piggy? we're thinking of trying them soon.

            1. re: mark

              Going on Saturday, will definitely report back ASAP!

              1. re: miss piggy

                Here's my dinner report!

                First of all, the space looks really good. It's a little kitschy, Southern shabby-chic, but in a good way. Lots of little neat details in the dining room and bathroom that add to the ambiance. They've built in a few booth spaces along the left wall that sit under a roof so they feel very private - I liked that our party of 4 was seated in one of those and would ask for one again next time. We had a reservation but they don't seat incomplete parties so we went to the bar while we waited for our friends. Excellent bourbon selection and cocktail list - I had a drink made with Wellers, basil, aged balsamic, and ginger ale that was really good.

                We started with 2 apps - shaved ham board and fried chicken liver crostini. I'm not a chicken liver fan in general but the others loved these. 3 large ones for $8. The ham board was about $16 but it was a nice large portion for sharing between the 4 of us - three kinds of ham, a small selection of really delicious cheese, a few crostini, some tasty pickled root veggies and some smears of Lusty Monk mustard and Texas Pete mayo. It was excellent.

                For dinner I had the tilefish over Carolina rice risotto with a smoky tomato coulis and Benton's bacon. Benton's is just the best (some of their ham was on the app board as well). I actually thought the risotto was pretty bland - heavy on the cream, needed salt or parm cheese or something. But mixing in the smoked tomato sauce fixed that. Very good, a nice large portion for less than $20. Hubbie had the fried chicken with crawfish Mac and cheese and greens - wow. This was awesome. $17 and he got a breast, a leg and a thigh plus the mac which had big chunks of crawfish. The chicken was amazing - best we've had in Asheville (and we love you Junction, Homegrown and Tupelo Honey!). Fabulous. Our friends had the pigs head meatloaf and small pates of oysters + quail - we didn't try any but they liked theirs too.

                Service was slow. Sweet, but slow. We were pretty relaxed in our ordering as well, so maybe she was feeding off of us, but it took a while to get our food. It seemed a little hectic in there and I'm sure they are still working out some grand opening kinks.

                Was it as good as The Admiral? In my opinion, not quite...but it was still delicious. We will most definitely be back. I'm also itching to try their brunch.

                1. re: miss piggy

                  miss piggy,
                  Thanks for the great review. I've got a reservation on Thursday and can't wait. Will report after.

                  1. re: NANCY

                    Please do, I'm interested to hear what you think!

                    1. re: mustardgirl

                      Agreed! I'm all over that brunch menu. I stuck my head in there on Friday night (after a fantastic dinner at the Admiral) and asked about brunch. They said not that weekend (the one just past, march 23rd) but probably the following. It will be sat and sun...i failed to ask how long they'll serve, but assuming we can get there in time, i'll check it out on a saturday soon.

                    2. re: miss piggy

                      Thanks so much for the detailed report, Miss Piggy. Can't wait to try this place.

            2. Yeah... this will be awesome.

              1. Holy crap! Looks like a trip to Asheville is in my near future

                  1. This is exciting as hell! Some very serious talent and creativity in this venture. Definitely on my list to try in the coming months!

                    1. It's been two years since I have made my annual trip to Asheville. Time to correct that. This menu looks amazing.

                      1. Seven at Seven Sows this past Thursday night.
                        Here’s our summary, all starters were shared ~
                        • Bar and wine ~ interesting cocktails and fairly priced wine list. Had a very nice Merlot for $29 per bottle. Mike, the bartender, is very accommodating.
                        • Oysters ~ great variety, changes daily. We got a sampling and then zeroed in on our favorites. This can get expensive at $3 per oyster
                        • Cone o’ chicken cracklins ~ nice, but the other choices were much better
                        • Waffle fries ~ very good, we devoured them
                        • Hushpuppies ~ excellent, loved the hot pimento cheese dip
                        • City Bakery Ciabatta ~ amazing. Does anybody really need to eat toasted ciabatta drizzled with truffle oil and then slathered with fresh whipped butter & chives; no, but once you’ve had this you’ll want more and more.
                        On to the main course ~
                        • Ox tongue ~ not on menu, a special that night. Excellent. Just love what Seven Sows does with cuts not often used.
                        • Pork Belly ~ perfect.
                        • Fried Chicken ~ proclaimed the best ever by the diner (and she didn’t share).
                        • NC style Cioppino ~ not your traditional cioppino, much thicker tomato sauce. Loaded with seafood and very good
                        • Cowboy Ribeye ~ enough for two, perfectly cooked to order (medium rare) and topped with fried oysters!
                        • Pork chop ~ yummy.

                        At this point I foolishly (blame the wine) whipped out my cell phone, made a video and sent it to Carolina Epicurean. Was horrified to see that it was posted on the website the next morning. If you’re interested in seeing empty plates, here’s the link ~ http://carolinaepicurean.com/2013/03/...

                        I know it seems impossible, but we did manage two desserts ~ the pecan pie and the crème brulee. I’m sure they were incredible, but I was just too stuffed to try them.

                        Our server, Sarah, was wonderful. Attentive, well informed in re menu, made very good recommendations for both drinks and food. Meal was well paced and we never felt rushed.

                        Bottom line ~ all seven of us loved it and will be back regularly.

                        4 Replies
                            1. re: NANCY

                              LOL! I was there that same night and can actually be seen in the video behind Dave.

                              And the ox tongue was excellent.

                              1. re: ickymettle

                                Then I probably owe you an apology for all the noise, we were having way too much fun! I've got a group of 12 going this Friday night after the Art Walk ~ can't wait.

                            2. I wish I could report on brunch, but after making a trip to Asheville specifically for brunch at Seven Sows, we got there at 2 o'clock and were turned away. The website says they are opened until 2:30.

                              If the excuse had been "we ran out of food", I would have been disappointed, but not pissed. But the excuse was "we weren't very busy so we sent most of the kitchen staff home. we're new and people must not have found out we're here yet."

                              Guess what...that's what being new means. Turning away customers does not seem like an optimal plan for getting the word of mouth going. Unacceptable.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: danna

                                Agree. And not a business plan for success.

                                1. re: Jeff C.

                                  Totally agree. Especially turning them away with 30 minutes to spare.

                                  Was this Sunday? It's not an excuse but we attended a Blind Pig dinner event last night (Sunday) and several representatives from SSB&L were tending the bar and helping in the kitchen. Again, not that it's any excuse - I'm just wondering if that's why they could have been short-staffed. I guess it doesn't matter though - the restaurant should come first, especially since they're new.

                                  1. re: miss piggy

                                    No, it was Saturday. Damn...we had been checking the menu on the drive, had a "guest" with us, and were all salivating for red pea hummus, pancakes and oysters/grits. It's bad when you already know what you want and get aced out ;-)

                                    since we were already parked (a feat on Saturday) we decided to give Salsa another try. It had been several years since we gave up on it. It was pretty-much like last time...a tasty lunch that I would love to get in Greenville, but still disappointing. They seem to be serving a lot of stuff in weird tourist-friendly serving pieces. The crowd is 180 degrees from what it used to be in the "old days". And I'm pretty sure my drink was booze-free. Delicious mojito made w/ fresh blueberries, but ....not exactly potent. We noticed Farm Burger upon walking out the door....will have to try that one day soon.

                                    1. re: danna

                                      Farm Burger open, you say? I am so there...probably this weekend.

                                      1. re: Jeff C.

                                        See review on FB I posted earlier...it was great!

                              2. We went to dinner Saturday PM. It is hard to say if I was let down because of the build up in my own head or because it was actually less than it should have been.

                                I had one of the punches at the bar (Tobacco Road), well balanced and full of good flavors. I do not mind paying for anything quality, but $15 seemed a bit steep. I have had cocktails in the bar at the Four Seasons in NYC for just a couple dollars more.

                                The ham board was quite nice and good to have selections from different states. I had the goat entree (after several recommendations). It was lukewarm (at best) but flavorful and the goat itself (braised) was, as expected, tender. It is very hard for me to put my finger on what I feel is missing but definitely something. I, contrary to what some have posted, had a very good experience with the staff. Everyone was friendly, engaged, and accommodating. I do not have a sparkling personality either so it was not because I am "Mr. Pleasant".

                                Very hard decision about returning...and Danna's report does not help. I am very, very tolerant of miscues, etc but turning away business during BUSINESS hours always rubs the wrong way. Oddly (or maybe not) the place was much less busy than I expected for a Saturday PM and Asheville was packed Saturday. We went pretty early due to the drive home so that may have changed later.

                                I hope they end up doing well and fix some of the initial growing pains...turning away people is not the way to do that.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: winefuhrer

                                  OK, I feel bad now. Seriously, Winefuhrer, don't let my comments sway you. While I completely agree that turning away business is the opposite of the right way for a new restaurant to start out, I didn't get any sense from the person who met me at the door of bad attitude or pretention or anything other than cluelessness over how the random closing would be perceived.

                                2. Brunch On Sunday
                                  Four of us went on Sunday around noon
                                  The restaurant was quite empty
                                  Service was very good
                                  Three of the group had pancakes Small Stack $5
                                  Large stack $7 comes with a very generous side of Bacon- which was a sweet and wonderful taste. They recently updated the Brunch Menu
                                  Lowered the price of Pancakes from $13
                                  Added some dishes like fried chicken and two omelette dishes I had the crayfish and onion with just a hint of cheese
                                  This was the smallest omelette you have ever seen It was like having a one egg dish. Charged $8 and it came with nothing Toast extra, Potatoes extra .It was outragerous compared to the pancake and bacon prices and other dishes on the menu
                                  Still would return , especially for a try at Dinner

                                  1. We made it to Seven Sows for Brunch! We were welcomed in at 2:15 and ordered about half the menu ;-)

                                    Started with the yogurt and granola and spiced apples. This was a great, healthy post-ride start to our meal. Umm...the "healthy" thing went to hell pretty soon thereafter! I also ordered the country ham , bacon and date appetizer. It was super-delicious, my favorite bite of the day. Husband got the blueberry pancakes and a side of eggs, I had the fried chicken, mac and cheese and w/ pea shoot salad. Pancakes were very good, Fried chicken dish also good.

                                    Unbelievably, I also ordered the biscuits w/ jalenpeno butter. The jalepeno butter is a great compliment to the biscuits, but the fact that there's a generous container of Imladris berry jam is probably the #1 best thing about Seven Sows to me. I LOVE that stuff and appreciate a restaurant that provides good jam. (Husk in Charleston was too snotty to let me have any jam for my biscuit there.)

                                    So, we ordered 6 things + a beer and the bill was $50...seems fair. Although there were a couple of things on the old menu I was sorry not to eat (fried oysters and grits!!) , I like that they added side dishes to the menu.

                                    As far as decor and general atmosphere, I've never been a huge fan of enclosed booths, but I really like the mural, the gorgeous vegetables in jars behind the bar, and the extremely professionally done bathrooms. Service was good and the girl who introduced herself as "front of house manager" was engaging. There were still a good number of tables eating at closing time and some folks at the bar.

                                    We'll put this in our Saturday lunch rotation and try to show a little more restraint when ordering in the future. There WERE salads on the menu...I just pretended not to see them.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: danna

                                      Thanks for the detailed review...and for talking me down off the fence about this place. Will give it a try soon!

                                    2. We were greeted and seated promptly for our 7 p. reservation. Because the space is vaulted with a concrete floor, it can get, well, "energetic." Esp. if it is as busy as it was last night. Request one of their enclosed booths to cut the din. The decor is nuevo southern and rustic. The neon "Memphis recording service" sign and banging kitchen screen door are particularly nice touches, but the Chevy pickup tailgate hanging on the back wall looks rather forlorn. Our server was a most lovely and helpful young woman named Laura. There were four varieties of oyster on offer, including Rappahannock River ones, but we had had a big lunch and passed. Started with Weller bourbons (no Willett, alas) and a cone of chicken skin cracklins with molasses powder and sea salt. These could've used a little more seasoning, but were crunchy and delicious, if probably not the smartest dietary choice for those with elevated cholesterol. At first we had our eye on a grilled romaine salad with sardines and Cruze Farm Buttermilk chive dressing, but opted to save room for dessert instead, so next came the entrees. Wife had a perfectly cooked Steelhead Trout (a.k.a. wild salmon) with a smoky Benton's Bacon risotto, Oyster mushroom, and a (too) tiny dab of Carolina Paddlefish roe. I opted for the Cruze Farm Buttermilk Fried Chicken and crawfish mac and cheese and pea shoots. If this wasn't the best fried chicken I've had, it was close enough, buttery texture meets savory crunch. I thought the mac and cheese could've used a few more pieces of crawfish and I'm still on the fence about the pea shoots...found myself craving a nice sour, smoky pile of greens, to be honest. Still, it was pretty darned good, and a helluva a bargain, too, as you get a breast, a thigh, and a leg. Finally, dessert was a small jar of butterscotch pudding with molasses drizzle, a biscuit-like cookie, and few dabs of peanut butter fudge. The portion was a bit small for $7, but that pudding was so tender and tasty I didn't much care. Speaking of biscuits, I was baffled that a neuvo southern place would not have any on the menu...and no skillet cornbread, either. Total, including tip and three drinks, was a more than fair eighty bucks. Bottom line: Seven Sows is a very good and well run restaurant that I predict will be great as long as it continues to push the boundaries of what traditional southern cooking can be. We will be back.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Jeff C.

                                        Followup visit Sat. night. They are upping their game to Admiral-like heights, although the menu is still somewhat more limited than The Admiral. I had the best piece of fried fish I've had since Key West, and the Pig's Head Meatloaf was sublime. Gotta try the sweetbreads and buttermilk braised goat next time. If you haven't been yet, do yourself a favor...just book a reservation first because, to judge from the packed room the other night, the secret is out!

                                      2. Hello long time lurker, infrequent poster. I'm starting a podcast and interviewing Mike Moore tomorrow. I was just wondering if the chowhound community had any questions they have always wanted to ask the chef of Seven Sows and director of Blind Pig?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: citizenthymes

                                          Cruze Farms buttermilk with skillet cornbread crumbled in it. Come on, man, you know you want to!

                                        2. I read this thread while we were planning our trip to Asheville and was so impressed that I bullied our friends into dinner at Seven Sows. I have to warn you, this write-up is very harsh...

                                          I don't know if I was just too jazzed by what I read or if it really just wasn't "all that". Here's what happened:

                                          We walked up to the door and it was locked (at 7:30 on a Monday evening). A customer got up and let us in! Then a fellow wandered over and tried to seat us in the middle of the virtually empty, freezing cold room. We asked if we could have a booth instead. By the way, there were only 2 other tables occupied and maybe a couple at the bar.

                                          Eventually a server came over with menus & took our drink orders. Took quite some time for the drinks to arrive. We studied the menu and made our choices.

                                          Small plates:
                                          Chicken livers were good & we all enjoyed them. To be honest, I really couldn't tell you if the menu ingredients were really there (pepper jelly, creamed cheese, roast pumpkin, pickled beans, sriracha), but we were hungry and they were tasty.

                                          Brussels sprouts:
                                          Same deal, although the ingredients in the menu description were all there, just maybe just not enough of them. Again, it was tasty and we were hungry. I don't think there was 25 cents worth of brussels sprouts... I'm just sayin'

                                          Large plates:
                                          Buttermilk fried chicken for 2 of us. Good, but nothing I'd miss if I never stopped there again. Just not special to us.

                                          Pork chop for husband. Server waxed poetic about it being prepared sous vide. I well know what this means: it should have yielded a very tender, flavorful hunk-o-pork. Rather it was overcooked and under seasoned. Again, the menu description was terrific but the dish didn't deliver.

                                          Scallops for the other wife. Following on the trend: great menu description, boring dish.

                                          I know we shared a dessert but for the life of me I can't remember much about it other than it included nettle ice cream and I think a pistachio brittle along with some sort of cream anglaise.

                                          The main problem I had with the place is that it just seemed to lack something - maybe soul? Just felt too cold literally and figuratively. I left feeling like "is that all there is?"

                                          By the way, the on-line menu I looked at and the descriptions in all the other posts on this thread were far more interesting than what was on offer that night. Maybe things are taking a slow downward spiral and they're cutting back.

                                          All in all, I was disappointed and sorry that I pushed so hard to go there.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: RWCFoodie

                                            For an upcoming weekend, we had been on the same path that you were. What you experienced, however, I think of as 'phoning it in'--what talented restauranteurs often do in the face of brand centric or transient clientele. And who can blame them--running a restaurant of the kind esteemed here, whether a shack or a gastronomy temple--is an obsession, an eighty per week mission.

                                            So the new Friday night plan is now Bull and Beggar for happy hour raw bar, then all-in at Rhubarb. With these two in mind, I might just self-cater a picnic lunch rather than pig out at Curate.

                                            And the next day, beginning at the Asheville WNC Farmer's Market and returning through Clayton, we're jonesing for the Saturday Carnitas at La Jerezana (where we will hoist a taco for Cheesemonger).

                                            A thousand thanks for the timely report.

                                            1. re: Steve Drucker

                                              Please be aware...the City Market on Charlotte street on Saturday morning is absolutely fabulous. The WNC FM on Brevard road is a completely different, and far less fabulous, thing. Unless maybe there's something specific you're going there for that I'm unaware of. But the City Market is where all the organic farmers w/ their gorgeous and often unusual varieties of things go.

                                              1. re: danna

                                                Thanks! City Market is the one. We are never without our cooler in the trunk.

                                                1. re: Steve Drucker

                                                  The tailgate market at UNCA is also very good on Saturday mornings.