Mix it up at The Junction

    Jason’s the man. The man behind the bar at The Junction, the hip River Arts District (RAD) eatery and bar.

    We were meeting for dinner, but it tuned into eating dinner at the bar. Watching Jason work his magic was interesting and entertaining.  Many of the drinks (if not all?) on The Junction’s cocktail menu have been created by Jason. And he was great about answering our questions. See Cocktail Menu.

    Mine was an “End of the Tunnel” ($10) – Fresh cherries, a dash of balsamic, Luxardo liqueur & black pepper muddled in Agave & tumbled with Lunazul Blanco Tequila, lemon juice & a splash of soda, served on the rocks. Lawdy, Lawdy! You definitely know you’re drinking tequila, but it’s such a complex drink, layered flavors slowly reveal themselves with each sip. Eating the cherries at the bottom is optional, but you’d be a fool to pass them up.

    The Junction

    “Enter the Dragon” ($10) originally tempted me, and I might just get one next time, but the ingredients reminded me of a Tequila Sunrise. Tequila Sunrise memories do not put me in my happy place.

    My friend Val did imbibe and said it was terrific. It’s made with Lunazul Reposado Tequila, Solerno blood orange liqueur, lime juice, organic blood orange juice, and local sourwood honey infused with tarragon shaken and served on the rocks.

    At first sip, Val commented on the Sourwood Honey favor coming through.

    The Junction

    We shared a gorgeous Heirloom Tomato Salad ($10). Three thick, juicy heirloom tomato slices were topped with corn, field peas, balsamic, fried okra, micro greens and buttermilk crema. Loved the corn crunch mixed in every bite. Get yourself to The Junction before local heirloom tomatoes are out of season and have this salad. You won’t believe the flavor!

    The Junction

    Now I’m going to tell you about a burger. Not just any burger. The Junction Burger ($13) was probably the best burger I’ve ever had. I know, strong words, but true. Described on the menu as: “Dry Aged House Ground Apple Brandy Beef, Wild Chanterelle Mushroom Gravy, Smoked White Cheddar, House Bacon, Homemade Ketchup, Dijon Mustard, West End Bun”, this burger is delicious.

    You might think it’s because of all the goodness piled on top, buy I made a point of tasting just the meat. Fantastic.

    The bacon gave almost every bite some crunch, which I like. No “juicy”, as my son requests, bacon for me, thank you.

    The Junction

    I was having so much fun watching Jason and chatting with Val over exceptional food and drink, I forgot to take notes on Val’s entree. It’s a Gluten Free fish dish. Val had planned to bring some of this home, but like me, finished every last bite. The veggies, beans in particular, tasted right out of the garden fresh.

    The Junction

    Obvious is what’s posted on The Junction website: “All of our meats are fully prepared in house and are free from antibiotics and hormones. Ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible.”  In fact, while we were having dinner, we heard co-owner Charles lamenting the waning supply of local blueberries.

    We were both pretty full, but might have been tempted if cheesecake hadn’t been the only dessert available. Don’t get me wrong, I like cheesecake, but it doesn’t have that “eat me, eat me” power over me like some other desserts.

    Jason will be competing in the Asheville Wine and Food Festival Mixologist Competition this coming Saturday. Cheer him on if you go!

    The Junction
    348 Depot Street #190
    Asheville, NC 28801
    (828) 225-3497

    The Junction on Urbanspoon