my wife & i returned to sunny point last night for what has become our go-to for valentine's dinner. we've been 3 of the past 4 years, but i've neglected to post on these specific dinners in the past.
this year, in honor of the double holiday (chinese new year, too), they went with a "double happiness valentine's day" theme wherein most of the special menu featured pan-asian influences. price was ~$30 per person for a 4 course meal. each person got 1 selection from each category. decorative menu packets were provided to each diner as a souvenir.
for starters, the options were as follows:
potato goat cheese tart topped w/ carmelized onions and served w/ tomato jam. this was my app choice and it was pretty tasty. it was served room temp, but i think it might have been even better warmed.
fresh smoked oysters in a bloody mary broth w/ jalapeno jelly, a cuke-celery mignonette, and housemade crackers. this was my wife's choice, and both of us thought them very good and the winner in the app category.
a southern winter veggie tempura with dipping sauce rounded out the apps, but we did not try that one.
the soup/salad course was a choice between a curry lobster bisque or a chipotle ceasar salad. the bisque (my choice for the course), served w/ a crispy papadum & drizzle of cilantro oil, was excellent; it even carried a bit of lingering spice which i thoroughly enjoyed, and rarely find in restos. the ceasar (my wife's choice) was garnished w/ avocado, plantain chips and feta. it was good too, though not the standout the bisque was. the plantain chips were unneccesary and a bit of an off note; they were neither crisp nor particularly tasty, appearing to suffer from having been made in advance.
entrees were a choice from the following 3:
grilled-to-order, country-ham wrapped beef tenderloin brushed w/ a molasses-hoisin glaze and topped w/ ginger butter. served w/ mashed sweet potatoes and green bean salad. this was my choice, and quite a happy one. my wife, although happy w/ her selection, was jealous of mine.
wild alaskan salmon rolled w/ chinese veggies, served w/ smoked stone-ground grits and sauteed baby spinach, plated w/ tamari aioli & orange ponzu. a play on salmon & grits, the dish really came together when the various elements were combined. the grits were excellent.
3rd option, which we didn't try, was a play on sunny point's popular dynamite roll. this one was filled w/ rice & seasonal veggies. served w/ moo shu bbq tofu, scallion pancakes & grilled asparagus.
dessert was a "po-po" platter consisting of a chocolate-covered strawberry (something sunny point always does well; how they consistently find huge good berries this time of year is beyond me), a black sesame & ginger shortbread, and a lavender doughnut w/ raspberry sauce. while decent, dessert was the weakest course. neither of us picked up the lavender in the doughnut, although they were very good w/ the sauce. the shortbread was fine, but nothing special.
we chose the delicious matchbook tinto rey (well-priced @ $30) to accompany our meals. other options were a luna argenta prosecco & a madonna kabinett.
this was a particularly busy night for sunny point, w/ 3 booked solid seatings spaced @ 1&1/2 hr intervals. the few off notes resulted from necessary prep work to accommodate the volume. as noted above, i think the tart would have been better served warm. the plantain chips suffered. as for dessert, i would have simply served a basket of the doughnuts w/ the raspberry sauce and a maybe a chocolate one, and left the cookies off.
cost, before tip, was right around $90. we left happy & sated.
all-in-all another succesful & happy valentine's for us at sunny point. we'll be back next year (& plenty of times before).
Sunny Point Cafe & Bakery
626 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806
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