Letter writer: Local chefs disappoint with flavors

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I went out to eat four times this past week, four different restaurants. They all had a beautiful ambiance with a good waitstaff. The food presentation was a true work of art.

The problem is in the flavors. It appears that the chefs create menu items that look good on paper, but they forget that the most important thing is that the flavors of the food need to be tasted, not hidden under a massive complex mixture of stuff that sounds exotic.

Yes, combining different flavors to the plate is what cooking is all about, but what about the true art of being a chef, a person who knows what flavors work together without being overpowering.

When I order something — fish, meat, vegetables, etc. — I want to taste those items. Out of the four places I went to last week, not one meal was eaten. Took a couple bites; trashed the rest of it.

Funny thing about all of this, not one server cared to ask why I didn’t eat my meal. They don’t care; well, I don’t care to return.

— David T. Smith

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14 thoughts on “Letter writer: Local chefs disappoint with flavors

  1. boatrocker

    While your critiques of many local eating holes may be true, still…
    Buddy, if you can afford to eat out four times in one week, you’re doing something right.

    As for trashing the food afterwards, I find that wasteful as there’s always someone hungrier than you.

    I’m sure you’ll get a lot of ‘if you don’t like the food then move out of town’ comments- don’t pay those any mind.

    However, some would call your problem a ‘1st word’ problem’ ie you have food and are not starving. It is estimated that over 1/3 the Earth’s population goes to bed hungry- some of those folks are right here in WNC. Just saying.

    Try a new place. Better yet, have some friends over and cook- let them bring their own food to cook or cooked food too. Put that covered porch to good use.

    Finally, don’t trust any description of food that uses ‘fusion’- that means (with subtitles) ‘I’m not good enough to specialize in one thing so it’s going to taste like Italian/Korean/Honduran fuuuuuusion all mixed together. Some flavors work well together- that works for art, music, movies, literature and of course food.

  2. Fishbone

    This missive is pointless without listing the places visited and your specific criticisms. Talk about painting with a wide brush.

    • boatrocker

      Careful, Fishbone- the Mtn X has garnished (pun intended) mucho hate mail for daring to criticize any local restaurant’s fare in the recent past. This might be why us peasant readers don’t many restaurant reviews in this rag any more.

      The responses from the editors strangely mention community and feelings but never mention advertising dollars.

      • boatrocker

        don’t read any restaurant reviews that is-

        Yea, I’m doing this at work again.

  3. Jason

    I totally agree… This foo foo market want to be dazzle with purple flowers and chipper wait staff; AND IS WAY OVER PRICED! Ignorance is bliss..:: I’ll stick to cheap eats that satisfy my hunger, not food I want to hang on my wall

    • Fishbone

      Not every dining experience is about filling your gut to capacity with cheap eats. Some people appreciate presentation, ambiance, subtle/delicate flavors, wine and food pairings, etc.

  4. c

    Yeah , just don’t re-invent pancakes and pizza – simple is best…and donuts too!

    • Jason

      Ha!!! Which reminds me! I went to altamont brewing a few months ago for their restaurant opening… They purchase Nona Mia which has/came with a really nice woodfired pizza oven …
      So certainly I thought they were going to be serving pizza, but “NO, we’re serving flatbreads”… The End result of overthinking simple pizza became their failure to launch… And now their entire establishment’s for sale

      • Yep

        NONA MIA had the best Westville thing going and they ‘CHOSE’ to close because they were tired of running it…sheesh.
        Most everyone loved the place and the food was excellent…

        • Jason

          Pete has a history of constantly opening, closing, and moving restaurants… Last I heard he was maybe going to Knoxville to be an executive chef….

  5. Bettie

    I think the point of the letter was to say,” please make the dining experience more approachable.”
    There are many people who can afford to pay for an expensive meal, but may not have the palette for sophisticated ingredients. Maybe the “mom and pop” restaurant will make its comeback as the next trend!

    • C

      Yeah, nothing like a pancake made of corn meal infused with cayenne pepper and sprinkled with parsley. Would you like maple syrup with that?

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