Sleek. Sassy. Sazerac.
One of the oldest known cocktails and purportedly, the first cocktail invented in America, the SazeracÂ dates from pre-Civil War New Orleans, Louisiana. Asheville’s Sazerac, the restaurant, dates from Fall, 2009.
Sazerac’s owners have taken this challenging space and done wonders with it. The feel is sleek, sophisticated and clubish all at once. Many comments on Sazerac include something like, “this has become our spot for meeting friends for a drink and some food”.
It gets even more interesting when you mount the back stairs. Intuitively, you’llÂ feel something’s up as your eyes first take in the room ahead throughÂ reclaimed boards -Â bark and all -Â then aÂ rock-facedÂ bar, backed with more boardsÂ suggesting untold stories.
Retro-modern chrome and leatherÂ bar stools,Â as well as chairs and tables with a similar feel in this space,Â work exceptionally wellÂ as counterpoints toÂ the naturalÂ finishes.
Directly off of this intimate spot is an absolutely terrific roof-top patio. Yes, I know there areÂ snow and heatersÂ in the picture below. The snow’s long gone, but the heaters remain for those sometimesÂ cool summer nights.
Four of us stopped at Sazerac for a bite to eat and a sampling of their classic cocktails. These folks really did pay attention to details. Notice the flatware and the wonderfull cut glassware. These glassesÂ feel heavy andÂ luxurious in your hand.
SharingÂ one Blue Pear salad ($8),Â SIS and I were happily surprised when our server delivered it already split and arranged on two plates. Fresh, mixed greens were topped with walnuts and Blue Cheese, dressed with aÂ local mustardÂ mixture and garnished with slicedÂ roasted pear. A deliciously simple answer to our hunger, but a bit more roasted pear would have been welcome.
Our thirdÂ ordered a Skinny Dip ($8). Slow roasted medium-rare Roast Beef, thinly sliced and served au jus with a Horseradish cream sauce, thisÂ Dip was sandwiched with fresh, crusty bread andÂ sported a cute deviled egg-sweet pickle on spinach leaf garnish and a side of, if I remember correctly, nicely seasoned potato salad.
And our fourth ordered The Asheville ($8)Â - A lovely and filling salad made with Lemon Oregano Marinated Quinoa with roasted Butternut Squash, cherry tomatoes, and Goat Cheese over mixed geens. It’s interesting to note the use of Quinoa, which is gradually appearing more often onÂ Asheville menus.
Sazerac’s owners call themselves a restaurant and cocktail lounge. Their menu is unique, full of Creole/New Orleans/FrenchÂ fare: Cuisses de Grenouilles Provencale (frog legs), New Orleans Duck Gumbo, Shrimp Remoulade.
Sazerac has a lot going for it. Not only is the name fun to say, go ahead – say it out loud, it’s a space that just feels good where you can meet for drinks, a quick snack or a full meal. Toasting friend’s healthÂ andÂ WNC’s good fortune on the roof-top patio is where I’llÂ be on warm eveningsÂ this summer.