Small Bites: The Asheville food scene has sprung

Pie time: Lunch at Strada with a pesto-and-tomato pie. Photos by Max Cooper
Pie time: Lunch at Strada with a pesto-and-tomato pie. Photos by Max Cooper

Full-blown spring has brought with it numerous changes to the dining scene.

First, Strada has opened in the building that once housed Tingles and a small handful of other restaurants. If the crowd that was gathered during a recent lunch service is any indication, 27 Broadway's newest eatery stands to fare a better fate than its now-shuttered predecessors.

Anthony Cerrato and crew turn out a menu of updated Italian classics. The lunch menu offers pizzas (all of which can be had gluten-free), pastas and salads, including a wedge-style grilled Caesar served with an anchovy crouton. The restaurant also offers piadas (traditional stuffed flatbreads, comparable to an Italian version of a paratha) and a small street-food style menu, complete with arancini and pizza by the slice. Lunch items run from $3 (for a slice of cheese pizza) to $13 (shrimp scampi capellini).

The restaurant also offers half-glasses of wine and prosecco, which allows for perfectly respectable day-drinking. We're giving you the go-ahead.

Dinner items largely remain under $20 and lean heavily toward pasta, sauteed and grilled items, with more than a dozen appetizer and salad dishes and pizzas as well. For more information, visit http://stradaasheville.com.

Also, Crêperie Bouchon has reopened, sporting a full bar and a new cruvinet for keeping the wine bottles at the perfect temp. And, speaking of temperature, the crêperie, which is not outfitted with a hood (as anyone who's experience how oppressive the restaurant can get in the summer knows), now has a stronger air-conditioning system and dehumidifier.

Did you notice the part about the full bar? Yes, you can now have a scotch or a gin-and-tonic with your crêpe (or while you're waiting for a table at Bouchon) in the courtyard. Visit http://creperiebouchon.com for more.

And speaking of patio-sipping, The Junction in the RAD has a brand-new spring menu, including a seasonally appropriate cocktail list, courtesy of bartendress extraordinaire, Sharon Wallis. For brunch, we particularly like the sound of the Bocce Ball, made with Mount Gay rum, Disaronno amaretto and freshly squeezed orange juice (although we hear that the Bloody Marys are strong enough to help you forget your Saturday night trespasses — not that we know anything about that).

Chef Camp Boswell's ever-expanding brunch and dinner menus are newly spring, too, with items like N.C.-coast flounder with smoked purple and fingerling potatoes, roasted fennel, braised sunchokes, shrimp broth and preserved lemon-thyme butter. The Junction is located at 348 Depot St. For more, visit http://thejunctionasheville.com.

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