Restaurants & Bars 15

Food in Asheville, present & future

Budget Palate | Feb 20, 200805:43 AM

What's your general impression of restaurants in Asheville overall? What else would you like to see here? My own impressions.

We have great Indian food. Mela hooked me. Fresh spicing, not afraid to make it hot... My only problem is the loud, clattering, open dining room when they get busy - distracts me from fully enjoying the food. But the food is so good.... I would proudly take someone from out-of-town there.

We have at least one real, good bakery. The loaves from City Bakery have the right crust, the right texture.

We have great markets and farmer's markets. It could be argued that the food you get in an Asheville home is better than anything you get in a restaurant.

We have perhaps one-too-many.... sushi places, Thai places, "New American" places with minimalist names (Fig, Table, etc), and vaguely French winebar-brasserie-bistro thingies.
I have no problem with any of those things, but we have too many, possibly at the expense of some basics....

We need a place serving a great steak / a great steakhouse... I asked for suggestions in another thread. I appreciate those who responded, but overall, the results were depressing. A steak is such a basic, satisfying thing. I find our lack of a great steak/steakhouse a little surprising and embarrassing.

We need authentic Italian. I read the recent thread on this. It could be argued that authentic Italian is impossible outside Italy, because Italians are charmingly dogmatic about their regional ingredients/combinations. But a place making an attempt at regional Italian would be great. Tuscan simplicity / Tuscan grills are fine but they are getting old. There are other regions in Italy. I would personally love to see a Roman restaurant. Roman food is bold and gutsy, befitting the center of the world empire. Some signs of an authentic Italian place: The food comes out in courses. Everything is not served at once. There is a simple but good house wine available that is not expensive. The salad is served last, never at the beginning.

We need real Chinese, any region of China is fine, and/or a dum sum place. There will be no buffet available at this place, at any time of the week. Small dishes of goodness will come out and everybody will take this or that and put it on their plate, family style.

A place serving consistently great pizza. Not some stoned guy in the back throwing this or that on your pizza (although there is definately a time and a place for that), but real authentic pizza. What about a Neapolitan pizza oven bringing out the real thing? Or real new York pizza: ya know, thin, lots of cheese, greasy.

A place serving a consistently great burger. Some may disagree with this. But let me know.

These are not complicated, avant garde, daring restaurant concepts. These are basics. We can't call ourselves a real food city without at least some of these basics. It strikes me that Asheville jumps on trends that are several years old (Thai, New American Minimal), and then 20 restauranteurs want to do it. I wonder if they don't think they'll make money with the basics, because I think they will. I think people would go nuts for a dim sum place, for instance.

What are your impressions? What do you like that we have, and what do you want?

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