I’ve been wanting to eat at Tupelo Honey for some years now. Last time we were in the area, there was only the downtown Asheville location, now there are several outlets, including this one in South Asheville. Last time, we only had one night in North Carolina and that meant dinner just had to be BBQ. But, this trip, we were satisfying our craving for pig elsewhere.
It’s a bright, airy space in a strip mall, fashionably designed with all the ceiling air-con equipment on view.
We passed on starters, with the intent of having dessert – American portion size usually defeating a desire for three courses. It’s always a risky gamble if limiting yourself to two courses.
We were given perhaps the oddest amuse bouche we can recall. A biscuit, light and fluffy, came with homemade blueberry jam and bottle of honey. Now that would be a lovely afternoon treat with a cup of tea, but served up at the beginning of a meal, and being drunk with beer, was just strange.
I’d have happily eaten any of the main course offerings and picking one was not an easy task. In the end, I went with one of the chicken dishes and it proved to be one of the best tasting chicken dishes I’ve had in a goodly while – Southern Fried Chicken Saltimbocca. The chicken breast was given a crispy coating as you’d expect for Southern Fried and was then topped with country ham and Havarti cheese. Now, OK, Havarti is never going to be the most flavoursome cheese, but it is a good melter (if I was chef, I would be looking for a cheese with a bit more poke). It came with smashed cauliflower – almost a mash and really excellent. A couple of asparagus spears and a Marsala mushroom sauce completed the plate.
Over the other side of the table, three crab cakes were getting a good seeing-to. Generous amounts of sweet crab made these a delight. There was a lemon aioli, with a hint of chilli, for dunking. The contribution to the “five a day” came from asparagus and Swiss chard. Another really good dish.
As mentioned upthread, we’d passed on starters in favour of dessert. One, a warm pecan pie that was as traditional a rib-sticker as you’d want. The other, a blueberry cheesecake that was very underwhelming, tasting of little more than a generic “sweet”. I think we both regretted not having starters instead.