Asheville was recently visited by The Washington Post, spawning a post in the Post’s travel section titled “Postcard From Tom: Asheville’s more than just the foothills of Southern cuisine.”
The writer, Tom Sietsema, raved about three Asheville dining locations, Ben’s Tune-Up, Rhubarb and Table.
In Asheville, which the writer originally claimed was “the Jan Brady” of the Southern restaurant markets, “you’re apt to find more than the Biltmore Estate to entertain you,” Sietsema writes.
Ben’s Tune-Up, he says, “is wacky fun. … It’s a sake brewery! It’s a beer garden! It’s home to a $25 pupu platter, enough appetizer for four!” Sietsema tried the “Bad Buddha” pork dumplings, chicken wings, ramen and, of course, the sake.
At Rhubarb, he only made it for the brunch menu — tasting the fried chicken biscuit and the trout grillades. He regretted not making it for the dinner menu, mentioning the Mongolian grilled lamb ribs with collard green kimchi, beet salad and duck confit. “The cooking reflects the taste of a North Carolina native who isn’t afraid of seasoning his work with outside influences,” he writes.
“Table,” says Sietsema, “knows to buy good ingredients and, with just a flourish or two, let them speak for themselves.” Here, he writes of the grilled trout “heaped with focaccia croutons and plump blackberries simmered in vinegar” and the “pork steak flavored with pork-belly drippings and sliced over a garden of browned baby carrots, crisp broad beans and a comma of lime-brightened avocado puree.”
After what seemed like a great trip, Sietsema retired to the Imperial Life bar above Table for the evening. Now Asheville is left to wonder: Are we still Jan Brady?