Sleek. Sassy. Sazerac.

One of the oldest known cocktails and purportedly, the first cocktail invented in America, the Sazerac dates from pre-Civil War New Orleans, Louisiana. Asheville’s Sazerac, the restaurant, dates from Fall, 2009.

Stepping inside, the first thought that popped into my head was that it reminded me of a Pullman dining car. Sazerac must be wider than the average dining car (9 1/2 ft), but not by much.

Dining Car (Image:

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’ll feel something’s up as your eyes first take in the room ahead through reclaimed boards - bark and all - then a rock-faced bar, backed with more boards suggesting untold stories.

Retro-modern chrome and leather bar stools, as well as chairs and tables with a similar feel in this space, work exceptionally well as counterpoints to the natural finishes.

Directly off of this intimate spot is an absolutely terrific roof-top patio. Yes, I know there are snow and heaters in the picture below. The snow’s long gone, but the heaters remain for those sometimes 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 glasses feel heavy and luxurious in your hand.

This wonderfully refreshing Pimm’s Cup ($8) was made using cucumber muddled in a dash of sweet and sour, topped with Pimm’s and Ginger Ale.

Sharing one Blue Pear salad ($8), 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 a local mustard mixture and garnished with sliced roasted pear. A deliciously simple answer to our hunger, but a bit more roasted pear would have been welcome.

Our third ordered a Skinny Dip ($8). Slow roasted medium-rare Roast Beef, thinly sliced and served au jus with a Horseradish cream sauce, this Dip was sandwiched with fresh, crusty bread and 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) – 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 on Asheville menus.

Sazerac’s owners call themselves a restaurant and cocktail lounge. Their menu is unique, full of Creole/New Orleans/French 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 health and WNC’s good fortune on the roof-top patio is where I’ll be on warm evenings this summer.

Sazerac     MAP
29 Broadway Street
Asheville, NC 28801-2903
(828) 225-2553

Sazerac on Urbanspoon

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