Letter: What’s with the Asheville food scene?

Graphic by Lori Deaton

What is going on with the food scene around here? It seems that people rave about all the fabulous restaurants and the great food that they get here. What I have found is that the establishments just toss so much flavor into a dish that you can’t really knows what it is. Whatever happened to enjoying the true flavor of a piece of fish or chicken? Herbs and spices are there to enhance the flavors, not override them.

Yes, there are a couple of places that work with the flavors, but many of them just don’t have the culinary knowledge to enhance the flavors of the dish, so they hide it under a blanket of whatever they have in the fridge. One of the first ingredients chefs around here like is a sweetener of some type. Recently, I took the advice of a local food critic and went and got “The Best Burger In Asheville.” Good Lord! I couldn’t eat it. It was too sweet — maybe for dessert, but not for the main course.

I have found this “over sweet” at many places in and around Asheville. The bottom line is, where are all the great chefs Asheville boasts to have? Or is it an issue that the people who are eating the food just don’t know what good food is? Either, way the food scene around here seems to be driven by people who really don’t know what true food tastes like, or they just like what sounds good on the menu.

— David Smith


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11 thoughts on “Letter: What’s with the Asheville food scene?

  1. dingo

    Sounds like you need to open a restaurant in Asheville so that you can show the plebs what real flavor is.

  2. don

    Over-priced and over-the-top hyped….. leaving me at least, completely underwhelmed…… that about sums up my experience with the hipster restaurant scene in Asheville. Just recently had an evening meal at Gan Shan out there on Charlotte St. …..I mean…. are you serious????

  3. MIke

    What?! Individual tastes differ?! Who knew?

    Market demand determines if a restaurant – or any business- succeeds or fails. Not individual tastes or preferences. If you don’t like a restaurant and it’s busy, it’s just not to your taste- doesn’t mean it’s bad or wrong.

  4. SpareChange

    Permitting yourself to be guided by the recommendations and tastes of self-anointed, self-promoted, food shill, Stu Helm, was your first mistake.

  5. Enlightened Enigma

    hey Don…withya on the gan shan…don’t go there hungry you will feel cheated…

  6. Lulz

    Many of the old greasy spoons in Asheville lasted for decades. How many of the hipster joints will still be around in 10 years? Or the breweries? Problem is the town is really putting its eggs in one basket and the hipsters will grow old. Do the following generations continue the scene here or does it change? Especially as trends come and go and places once cool lose out to others that aren’t as popular and have the qualities people are looking for. Sound familiar?

    • SpareChange

      Your apparent need to turn every topic into a faux class war, and to diminish everything that has happened in Asheville during the past 25 years, has now hit something of a nadir. Eating and restaurants are not a zero-sum game. There’s room for all kinds of restaurants. Yeah, I love 5 Points and The Med, but also really like a meal that I couldn’t replicate myself at Marketplace or Zambra. Where’s the problem? And if you are cutting yourself off from the breweries that prepare food, and the food trucks which frequent others, you are missing out on some really good, accessible, usually inexpensive, but really well prepared food. Rise Above Deli at Hillman Brewery (just one example) is turning out great food from a tiny kitchen, every day. Having caught on there, they’ve opened up a great bakery and coffee shop (Rise Above Bakehouse) in Fairview. “Try it — you’ll like it!”

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