Wednesday, August 03, 2011
The Admiral: a culinary adventure
*Beef Tenderloin Tartare with capers topped with a raw quail egg, and served with a 64 degree duck egg, sharp cheddar cheese, cornichon sriracha aioli and toast.
The Admiral in Asheville, NC has been on my must-eat-here list for several months. My friend Kim and I found it by accident while we were hunting gas for the drive back to SC after a Belleville Outfit concert at the Grey Eagle (that is before the band broke up and broke my heart). The dive bar is on the up and coming west side of Asheville. The place is dark and small and crowded and looked like something we should know about. I grabbed the Blackberry: Tripadvisor.com (thank you reviewers). We made note to come back and check this place out. Fastforward. We made it. Tuesday. At 5:15 (yes, very early reservation but one of the few available.
The menu is complicated. Adventuresome. Spiritual. The "Small Plates" are large portions holding food I've only dreamed about trying. Still haven't gotten my taste back for red wine (a sad, sad loss for me. seriously.) so I ordered a light Viognier for menu viewing and then a St. Charles and a Les Tours Chardonnay for our meal. We ate our way through an arugula salad with goat cheese and walnuts and a sweet, citrusy dressing, and mussels swimming in a broth of tomato, bacon, potato and pablano pepper, topped with fresh lemons and toast. Our next course was grilled SC quail with stone ground grits and and creamed corn pablano-bacon consumme and (see * above) beef tenderloin tartare. I must admit it was my first tartare! It was rich and buttery, salty and spicy, but I just couldn't get over the fact that I was eating raw, raw, raw. Dessert was a bomb... not recommended here. We tried to finish our meal with roasted foie gras on pound cake with roasted, chocolate covered beets, but the dish, though conceptually brilliant was sent back to the kitchen. Grease oozed out of the cake and the beets were bitter. So disappointing. We ordered a peach shortcake instead, but it left us wanting. (We finished our meal, instead at French Broad Chocolate Lounge).
The Admiral's prices are so reasonable it makes you wonder how they stay open. You'll want to make your way through the whole menu. The service was great and the chef is a napkin throw away, willing to answer curious questions. I can't wait to go back and take some of the other adventurous eaters in my life and see what the next on the ever changing menu!