Guest Author - Jessica Hoffmann
Away from the tourist beaten downtown path and nestled in the quickly changing West Asheville neighborhood, sits an extremely nondescript, cinder block building that houses what might be the most unexpected dining experience in Asheville. The so called East West Asheville neighborhood is certainly a bit transitional, and you can easily not notice The Admiral, despite its location on busy Haywood Road.
Opened in early 2008, this trendy restaurant is packed out even on Monday nights, despite no advertising. Reservations are essential. The retro lounge décor and dark colors give the simple building an intimate feel.
We waited 20 minutes for our table, despite having reservations. But, the apologetic manager offered a round of cocktails on the house to satisfy our grumbling bellies. The Admiralflower was a sweet drink to start the meal, while a Dark and Stormy embodied the retro theme.
After seeing several mounds of lettuce leave the tiny kitchen, we started with 2 plates of Arugula for the four of us. This delicate salad featuring Cashew-Pistachio Brittle and Humboldt Fog cheese from Cypress Grove was scrumptious. Our next small plate arrived featuring Yellowfin Tuna, Chorizo Bits, and Tuna Sausage. We devoured it.
The next few small plates were very slow to arrive, yet we were not disappointed once they hit the table. The Angus Tenderloin Tartare was superbly tender, while the Braised Short Ribs seemed to melt in your mouth.
By the time we made it to dessert, only one dessert on the menu was available. Yet, we again plunged into it and the chocolate mousse with chocolate ganache very nearly vanished from the table. The mousse was an impressive ending to an exquisite meal.
The intricate care taken with each plate at The Admiral very nearly surpasses the genius combinations of flavors we encountered with each dish. It is surprising to learn that the chef is largely self taught and spent years cooking for Chik-fil-a. The Admiral is uncommonly good and the food is truly spectacular.