Restaurant Review: Korean House

I don't typically review a restaurant unless I've been there at least twice. Sometimes a server is having a bad day, or 50 orders come in all at once-you know the drill, anything can happen when you're dining out. That wasn't the case at Korean House, both of my experiences have been excellent. The restaurant is right on College Street in downtown Asheville. Situated in the old Fiore's restaurant, it's a nice space with soaring ceilings. They have lunch specials everyday, including a lunchbox for $8.95. 

Chopsticks at Korean House

Chopsticks at Korean House

We started with a pan fried tofu topped with seaweed and a house sauce, Yang Nyum Tofu. The seaweed totally makes this dish. The tofu is soft and subtle while the seaweed brings an intense umami flavor. It played nicely with the dry German Riesling my husband and I ordered. He ordered the pork bul go gi and I wanted to try the kan pung shrimp a fried shrimp with garlic sauce. Both of our lunch boxes came with different side dishes. I was thrilled I got the housemade Korean squash pickles again (see photo below, top right corner). I would buy these pickles by the gallon they're that good. Also included in my lunch box was brown rice, kimchi, fried vegetable dumplings, kimbab (Korean style rice roll), vegetable pancake, and potato in a sweet soy sauce.

My lunch box with shrimp in a garlic sauce, rice and chef selected sides.

My lunch box with shrimp in a garlic sauce, rice and chef selected sides.

When asked, our server told us that all of the pickles and side dishes are made in house. The Korean squash pickles are made daily and are served on the second day. The kimchi, although not quite as good as the housemade stuff at Kim's Oriental Food & Gifts, is delicious and spicy. 

Yang Nyum Tofu

Yang Nyum Tofu

For the care taken in every bite, this Asheville restaurant is a hidden treasure. Two other new places are opening next door to Korean House along College Street; a nightclub, called Room Nine, and a second Twisted Laurel location. I'm hoping this added foot traffic will keep Korean House open for a very long time.  

Restaurant Review: Universal Joint

In an email last week, my brother asked me for a list of my "Must Go to Restaurants and Bars in Asheville". I was happy to oblige the request. In and among the list was one of my favorite/easy/cheap dinner places the Universal Joint in West Asheville.

It's got a lot going for it:

  • located in hip West Asheville
  • lots of outdoor seating
  • you can bring your (well-behaved) dog
  • FAMILY friendly (really and truly)
  • best burger in town 
  • they have tater-tots
Steinbeck Burger sans bun with pimiento cheese, bacon and jalapenos

Steinbeck Burger sans bun with pimiento cheese, bacon and jalapenos

What to order when you get there?

I'd get a local beer, Highland Brewing's Gaelic Ale is almost always on tap. Get the burger or the brisket tacos. They have creative burger toppings, but you can't go wrong with the classic. I usually end up getting the Steinbeck with pimiento cheese, jalapenos and bacon. You can get a side salad with your burger, but since I almost always skip the bun, I often splurge on their perfectly fried tater tots. And, they're not afraid to give you mayo to dip them in!

They're kids menu is good, they do these mini cheeseburgers (sliders) which my son really likes. But, they also have a quesadilla, corn puppies, chicken fingers and a grilled cheese. The food comes quickly for the whole party, but especially for the kids. 

Service, generally, is very good. The servers know the beer list and the menu very well. They're prompt and polite, but informal. 

Bottom line, this is a great restaurant to add to your list of places to eat in Asheville. You won't be disappointed.

 

Review: Eating Asheville Tour

Today's review comes from guest blogger "Wine Du Jour" (a.k.a. my mom). Enjoy reading about the lovely food and tour organized by Eating Asheville. It certainly sounds like a nice way to walk and taste Asheville!


Eating Asheville Tour

Last week on one of those beautiful springy days, we enjoyed an afternoon with a walking restaurant tour called Eating Asheville.  The group was 3 young couples, two older couples, and a mother-daughter duo, plus our intrepid leader, Stephen Steidle.  We are “locals” but everyone else was vacationing in the area.  We started at the Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar (in the Grove Arcade).  You can’t go wrong starting with some lovely bubbly with little bites of Sunburst Farm smoked trout pate, and soon we were on our way.

Zambra’s was our second stop, on Walnut St., and we tried their Sangria with a small plate of pulled pork from Hickory Nut Gap Farm, topped with slaw.  Stephen shared with us a couple of menus from Zambra’s, to entice us to come back in for dinner.  Many of the downtown restaurants are closed mid-afternoon, or at least have few customers, and this tour is designed to use that time and introduce a group of downtown restaurants.

Hickory Nut Gap pulled pork with slaw

Hickory Nut Gap pulled pork with slaw

Next was The Gourmet Chip Company on Broadway.  The chips themselves are hand cut and fried in small batches, and the toppings vary - we tried some with truffle oil, goat cheese and rosemary, others with Apple smoked bacon and aged gouda, and then sweet potato chips with chocolate, brown sugar and spice.

Hand Cut Chips with Truffle oil, Goat cheese and Rosemary

Hand Cut Chips with Truffle oil, Goat cheese and Rosemary

Sweet Potato Chips with Chocolate, Brown sugar and spice

Sweet Potato Chips with Chocolate, Brown sugar and spice

Next stop we went to Rhubarb on Pack Square, which just opened last fall.  We had a small glass of white wine from the Graves area of Bordeaux with a delicious canapé:  Sturgeon rillettes on a house made cracker, with mustard and a house made pickle slice, on a bed of pea shoots.  Chef John Fleer, formerly of Blackberry Farm in TN, greeted us, and explained his dish - who knew they are raising sturgeon in WNC?

Sturgeon rillettes on house made crackers, with pickles on a bed of pea shoots

Sturgeon rillettes on house made crackers, with pickles on a bed of pea shoots

Down the hill on Biltmore Avenue next to Barley’s is Chestnut, Joe Scully’s second restaurant in Asheville, after the very successful Corner Kitchen in Biltmore Village.  Chef Joe explained his concept as we were given a tasty small plate with spinach salad and two sautéed shrimp.  It’s directly across from the new Aloft hotel.
 

Spinach salad with Sauteed Shrimp

Spinach salad with Sauteed Shrimp

Last stop  - but not least, of course - we went to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge.  There were plenty of “loungers” there for the free wifi, but we tasted a small chocolate bar and a yummy maple-bourbon truffle, before we made our way back to the Grove Arcade and said goodbye to new friends.

Chocolate bar and Maple-Bourbon Truffle

Chocolate bar and Maple-Bourbon Truffle