Small Bites

Martha Nell’s: Café on the Square has begun speaking with a Texas twang, revamping its menu and adopting the new name Martha Nell’s. Tracy Adler, owner of the venerable downtown-Asheville eatery (pictured above), partnered earlier this year with Vonciel Baudouin, who has led the restaurant’s transformation. In addition to Southeastern favorites such as mountain trout and pimento cheese, the menu features traditional Texan fare, including tortilla soup, chicken fried steak and King Ranch casserole. Martha Nell’s is open for lunch at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and dinner starting at 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday For more, call 251-5565.

Photo by Jonathan Welch

Bar 100: The concepts underlying Bar 100, the Market Place’s recent foray into small-plate service, are finding their way into the main dining room. The restaurant recently announced the items offered at Bar 100 will now be united on a single menu with the Market Place’s selections. According to a release, “we are working to make the entire menu ‘B100’—that is, the majority of our ingredients from within 100 miles of Asheville.” Wine service will also change slightly, with the entire restaurant on Bar 100’s “by-the-pichet” plan, instead of by the glass. But, even more intriguingly, owner Mark Rosenstein has announced a plan to make the Market Place more affordable for the average diner.

“At this juncture, what I am now moving toward is not so much culinary style (I know who I am as a culinarian) or the use of local products (have been doing that since 1972),” Rosenstein writes. “What I am moving toward is an evolution in our business model of dining.”

Citing Paris’ Chez L’ami Jean as his inspiration, Rosenstein has created a prix fixe formula, set to debut this month. Under this system, specials—and the bulk of the regular menu—will be priced at $29 for an appetizer, entrée and dessert. An entrée and appetizer (or entrée and dessert) will cost $23, while $12 will buy an appetizer and dessert or two appetizers. Got it? For more details, call 252-4162.

The Back Room: A Flat Rock wine retailer will soon be offering full-fledged meals with which to pair its pours. The Back Room, the Flat Rock Wine Shoppe’s live-music annex, is slated to debut lunch and dinner service this month. “We’re adding a full menu, with a little bit of something for everyone,” manager Annmarie Angelotti says. “It’s a very broad menu.” The four-year-old wine shop, owned by David Brannock, now has a complete kitchen, from which homemade pastas, soups and sandwiches will emerge. The restaurant will be open on weekdays. To learn more, call 697-6828.

Pho Brunch: Epicureans who like the idea of a Southeast Asian cooking class—but don’t want to bother with the cooking or the class—are the target audience for local instructor Luna Nguyen’s latest brainstorm. Nguyen, whose classes were profiled in the Xpress earlier this year, is now offering a twice-monthly Sunday brunch at her home. The brunch, which costs $20 per person, includes Vietnamese shrimp spring rolls, pho and a tapioca dessert. To register for the event, held the first and third Sundays of the month from noon to 4 p.m., visit



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2 thoughts on “Small Bites

  1. Bruce Eric Lafone

    What a Bizarre direction to go in.

    Cafe on the Square has gone Southwestern???
    I am trying very hard to comprehend what type of people they are targeting with this move. I can’t imagine locals or tourists going out of the way to get food like this.

    I just don’t understand why these restaurant owners are jamming Gimmicks down our throats when all we want is some good, honest, fresh food.

  2. Dionysis

    Mr. Lafone is right on target. And, if some kind of gimmick is to be used, surely something other than the ubiquitous Southwest cuisine could be featured. Perhaps others disagree, but it seems that this area is oversaturated with Southwest, Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants anyway.

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