Finally got a chance to try Chef Jason Sellers' new vegetarian/vegan restaurant on Merrimon Ave. The space is cramped and noisy, and parking is limited, but Plant does have a nice open patio for dining during the warmer months. You will definitely need reservations if you plan on dining on a weekend. Decor is spare but tasteful. No bar, but a limited selection of beers (mostly local) and wines by the glass and bottle. Service was harried (they were very busy) but otherwise warm and helpful. No specials, and the menu is thus far limited. However, Plant is nonetheless off to an excellent start. We started with the "Plant" salad, which featured organic bib, heirloom tomatoes, crispy chickpeas, and hempseed dressing. It was a perfect blend of sweet and savory, and chickpeas and toasted hempseeds added extra flavor and crunch. We both ordered the same entree: the charbroiled jerk seitan, which is shockingly meatlike in texture and flavor. In fact, it reminded me of a slow-roasted pork I had in Puerto Rico a couple of years ago, only with jerk seasoning. This was served with smashed sweet potatoes, sauteed kale, fried plantains, and a serrano crudo. Perfect combination of sweet and hot, soulful and delicious. Dessert was a rather too small slice of black bottom chocolate peanut butter pie served with a homemade banana-macadamia nut ice cream made from coconut milk. The pie was good. The ice cream was better. Pre-tip total, including two beers: $65.64.
Verdict: The best place in Asheville to take adventurous non-vegetarians.
Suggestions: Acoustical tiles, a full bar, expand the menu to include some specials, and banish Coldplay from the iPod!
We will return.