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Curate - Asheville


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Restaurants & Bars 39

Curate - Asheville

miss piggy | Mar 13, 2011 07:46 AM

We went Friday night - glad I made a reservation through Open Table (via the Curate website) because the place was packed. Our table was ready when we arrived. We were seated in the back, which was fine, although next time I'd love to be in the "main" dining area which faces the bar/open kitchen. The restaurant is basically one long hall-like space with a single line of tables and then there's an area in the back that seats a few to make sort of the top of the T-shape of the restaurant. The tables are very close together and the space is pretty loud. There was a lot of energy, which I liked.

Our services was good, although the waitress did one thing that kind of bothered me. We had just sat down, not even had a chance to browse the menu yet, and she offered us our choice of waters, a drink off the wine list and then before she left she said "and can I offer you some fried almonds or olives?" From the way she phrased it, both my husband and I assumed they would be complimentary, like an amuse bouche or something. We said that the olives sounded great, then when I looked down at the menu I saw this was one of the tapas choices for $4. We probably wouldn't have ordered these otherwise, so it was just kind of annoying. Anyway...on to the meal.

The food is excellent. Everything we sampled was a hit. It is pricey though, and the portions are small - smaller than most of the tapas at Zambra and definitely smaller than the small plates at The Admiral. The entire menu looked appealing and we had a really hard time deciding what to try. We ended up going with the "accidental" olives, a charcuterie place ($11 - three large portions of different cured meats - this was the most generous serving), Spanish bread ($6 - rubbed with tomato and topped with manchego cheese - very necessary for sopping up all of the sauces from the other dishes!), shrimp with roasted garlic ($9 - six large, very tender, flavorful shrimp...this one was really amazing!), piquillo peppers stuffed with cheese ($9 - two roasted red peppers stuffed with a white cheese - very skimpy for nine bucks, but also very good), chorizo with potato puree and olive oil (I think this one was $9 too, although it may have been more - 5 small sausages (think cocktail wiener) with a delicious potato puree, also excellent but definitely overpriced) and a cheese plate in lieu of dessert ($11). In retrospect we should have passed on the cheese plate and gone with one of their less expensive sweet desserts, and we definitely should have opted for a bottle of wine - we had 3 different glasses each (all were amazing) and it would have been far more cost-efficient going with a bottle.

Total came to $130 with tip (yikes!) but we did have a great meal, great wine, and a nice evening. I wish the tapas were a little less expensive, though. Or at least up the portions - there's no way you could share most of what we had with more than two or maybe three people. Most are in the $9-$12 range, and they suggest three per person, so that plus alcohol really adds up. The only other thing that I wish they would change (and this may be nitpicking) was that it was really bright in there. I think they could create a better ambiance by turning down the lights a bit. It would warm up the space and make it a little more cozy. At one point half of the overhead lights accidentally went off for a minute or two and it was so much nicer in there than when they came back on. Anyway, I wish them all the best. The food really was excellent.

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