Admiral--Drew Maykuth has decamped for Maine, and when we ate at the bar the other night resident genius Elliot Moss was also nowhere to be seen. Guess what? Couldn't tell the difference. Carrot bisque with celeraic and crispy leeks, SC Mahi over cheddar-tyme grits with pickled ramps, chocolate tres leches cake with salty caramel, strawberries, and spiced creme, to die for Dark and Stormy cocktails with housemade ginger ale. Still the best restaurant in Asheville and one of the best in the south. (Bonus: I hear tell Chef Moss also has a food truck in the planning stages!)
Over Easy Cafe--Finally got to try this for Mother's Day brunch. It's tiny, so expect a wait, but it's worth it. Excellent coffee and fresh pressed juices. Srawberry and cream cheese stuffed challah french toast, eggs "Benny" with avocado and cherrywood smoked bacon, nothing too sweet or salty. I want to go back and try their huevos rancheros, before I say for sure, but based on one visit, I'm thinking it may best even Sunny Pointe as a brunch spot.
Sunny Pointe--Had a late dinner there a few weeks ago, admittedly not their signature meal, but it was very disappointing compared to previous visits. Sullen service, a long wait, of the four dishes our table ordered, only the breakfast sandwich wasn't soggy or overseasoned. (My kale was so salty as to be inedible.) Off night or trend?
Storm Rhum Bar--Was there a few weeks ago for their first anniversary celebration with specials and live music (which they should do more often). Most of the early problems with slow and/or spacey service are now a distant memory, and the kitchen seems to be firing on all cylinders now as well. In fact, I had a duck breast entree that was as good as any I've had at The Admiral. Best rum cocktails I've had outside of the caribbean, too.
White Duck Taco--Still tiny, still a wait, but there may be relief soon as Chef Ben reports they'll be opening a second location soon, exact spot T.B.A. Still love the Bankok Shrimp and Carnitas tacos the best, but they've also started doing some nice side dishes, including Green Chile Black Beans and a lovely pearl couscous salad. Best dessert: Macaroon Pie with salted caramel. Margaritas are now served as well, if you're into the whole, you know, tequila thang. (I know I am.)
West First (not in Asheville, I know, but close enough)--Had my doubts after they lost their killer pasta cook, but based on two visits in as many weeks, they're BACK, baby! And let me just say this: Whatever the salad and pizza specials are, get 'em, because they WILL be good. Desserts have moved past the basic tiramisu as well. (The cake du jour especially is always uber-moist.) They even offer a few cocktails now. Oh, and still the best foccacia I've ever had anywhere. (Haven't been to Italy, though.)
Pending: Zambra (still), WALK, Strada, and the Gypsy Queen and El Kimchi food trucks, which we have thus far failed to find. (Maybe this summer...)