I know some of you were wondering how this place was doing so I thought I'd give my report from this past Friday night. First, the place was nearly full when we sat down at 8pm, which was a good sign, but it also had pretty much cleared out by the time we left. So, if you are planning an earlier dinner, I'd think about making a reservation.
I love this place. I think the food is some of the best in Asheville and I am thrilled that you can get great Italian now in this town. We had a great bottle of red priced quite reasonably at around $30. We ordered apps but were first served a complimentary little crostini with mascarpone and candied beets. Yum. Apps arrived with a big, fluffy focaccia bread chunk and that addictive white bean dip in lieu of butter or oil. It is awesome - we asked for seconds. Apps were 2 large seared scallops with crispy prosciutto and white bean ragu and the antipasti plate - house made salamis and a selection of cheeses. Portions were substantial and after all the bread I honestly could have quit right there. The apps are a little pricey, but again, the portions are nice. Next time we'll split one, and probably skip the antipasti plate. The salamis were good, and some thin sliced proscuitto was especially nice, but the cheeses are too mild, in my opinion. One was a parmesean (the best), the other a fresh mozzarella, and I am not sure what the third one was but it was pretty mild and bland. Not worth the calories...more dip and bread, please!
Before the entrees arrived another little surprise came...two foie gras ravioli with a truffled portobello cream sauce. Oh. my. gosh. So rich and delicious and absolutely amazing. We used the rest of the bread to sop up the cream. Wow.
Dinner arrived and we were stuffed but dove right in. I had spinach ravioli with a lamb bolognese (new to the menu, the server said). Green and black olives studded the incredibly flavored red sauce...man, was it good. My husband had the beef tenderloin tips served with paparedelle noodles, mushrooms and that same truffled cream. The tenderloin was chunked and there was a least a nice little 4 ounces of filet in there among all that wonderful sauce. It was rich, but heavenly, and the flavors were perfect together.
We were stuffed and had to pass on dessert. Two filling apps, two entress (with one-half of my lamb bolognese boxed up for later), a bottle of wine and two complimentary little amuses came to $96 without tip. I think it is a very reasonable price for some really great food.
The service was not as outstanding as we've had on previous visits, but the guy was nice and knowledgable. The kitchen seemed a little slow but we were in no rush and I think it's because a bunch of people had been sat at the same time. Overall, an excellent dining experience.