Wife and I finally had a chance to try The Admiral last weekend. It's a sort of hipster bar/restaurant on Haywood in west Asheville, not much to look at from the outside, though it does have a nice covered terrace for the warmer months (and for desperate nic fitters who can't wait until ten p.m.) The inside is definitely unique, with lots of chrome and black and a neon sign that proudly proclaims the joint a "dive." (Also: check out the old console televsion that has been convereted into a working aquarium for a few sun-starved goldfish.) The staff is very friendly, highly informal, and unpretentious but not embarrassingly so. They also have what may well be the coolest, most eclectic jukebox on the planet: Buck Owens, James Brown, Television, South American psychedelia from the 1970s, etc..
Nice selection of microbrews (including my beloved Bell's), wines by the glass and bottle (few bottles over twenty-five bucks), and a full bar. No beer on tap, oddly. (Oh, and the "Admiral's Grog"--with Cheerwine and creme de menthe--sounds disgusting! Has anybody tried it?)
We sampled a selection of the smaller plates, most of which were excellent. Here they are in the order served:
1. Wonderful homemade lemon hummus with toasted pita points and a nice selection of pitted olives.
2. Arugula salad with toasted hazelnuts and a fine aged goat cheese (with a balsamic vinaigrette).
3. Organic duck breast with lovely vanilla poached figs and a chintsy smear of whipped sweet potato.
4. Admiral's "bangers and mash" with boar sausage and mashed root vegetables. Loved the sausage--very unique and relatively healthy.
The only dessert offered that night was tiramisu, and we were too stuffed to try it. (Doesn't rerally seem like a dessert kind of place anyway.)
Total damage for all the above and three beers: 55 bucks! (A bargain, IMO.)
We WILL be back! (What should we try next, regulars?)