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Reviews from Asheville weekend: Sorrento,Bouchon,others

danna | Nov 14, 200508:45 AM

What to say about Sorrento's? It's such a quirky, charming place, with such friendly staff and unassuming attitudes, you rather feel like a jerk to offer any criticisms. Plus, the price was UNBELIEVABLY inexpensive.

The lady who ran the "front of house" was goofy. Another couple walked in just behind us. She asks "do you have reservations?" and both I and the other couple answered "yes" at the same time. Apparently this was her undoing. She asked me my name, and when I answered, she addressed the male portion of the other couple and said "oh, I just spoke to you on the phone" No, I tell her, that was us. She seats the other couple first because they will be a party of 4. She does not acknowledge us again. After a wait at the bar, I tell my husband he better go check. Sure enough when he asks how much longer for Brown, she answers...."I just sat you".

The complimentary antipasti plate was red peppers, deviled eggs, pasta salad w/ canned tuna, proscuitto w/ melon. The complimentary salad was dressed rather heavily w/ creamy Italian & Gorgonzola ( I loathe blue cheese). The complimentary wine was in a carafe on the table, was homemade by the oblivious hostess, and reminded me of what my aunt used to make. Simple, sweet...but not bad, and enjoyable to drink w/ pasta. The bread was nice enough, but served w/ margarine.

I had scampi as recommend by the waiter, husband had chicken cacciatore, ditto. Both were fair. The shrimp were swimming in not-butter and herbs. The marinara was fine, and I give points for no baked-on gooey cheese.

The ancient keyboard player worked the room asking for requests. I poured an extra glass of the house wine, mainly to run up the bill because I felt so bad about how low it was going to be. Our waiter didn't charge me anyway. Our bill was $33. I don't see how they pay the staff w/ those prices, let alone buy food and make a profit. I would go back if I were broke and needed to feed a lot of people.

Ultimate Ice Cream: go NOW and get some gingerbread molasses ice cream. UMMMM.

Jack of the Woods: Green Man Cask Porter, very dark, still, not sweet. Green Man IPA: reddish, and very hoppy (bitter). Trappist Ale: almost like wine, lemony (8%).

City Bakery: Delicious! I had been there before in the afternoon looking for dessert and been disappointed. Not in the morning! My cream cheese and apple pastry was great, husband had pumpkin pie for breakfast, and I picked up a bear claw to eat after our ride...fantastic. Chocolate filling was delicious. I suppose I never had a decent bear claw before...i had no idea. Highly recommended for pastry.

Salsa: Great as always. Husband's shrimp fajita w fresh pumpkin was the highlight, cheese arepa w/ octopus salsa good for app, my lamb was good but the least special of our orders. Hibiscus/ginger tea also worth mentioning as a highlight.

Bouchon: I didn't expect much, and God knows I wasn't hungry (see above) but husband still fantasizes about Croque Monseuir he had in Paris. This one was nothing like it. Poor quality cheese inside and on top of sandwich, which was not on a baguette. I had the moules, and one was bad. Conversation goes like this:

H: "So, that one one was bad, huh?"
d: "yep"
H: "was it REALLY bad?"
d: " did you see me spit it out, take a mouthful of water, swish out my mouth, and spit it in the shell bowl in the middle of a restaurant?"
H: "yeah, I saw that"
d: "it was really bad"

The frites sucked too.

It was a spectacularly beautiful weekend, we wasted a couple of meals, but you have to try new things, right? We intend to try Table next.
Sorry this was so long.

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