Four of us met for lunch at Cúrate a couple weeks ago. I thought it was going to be a mostly business meeting, but it quickly became a mostly loving on Curate session.
Flatware and drink lists tucked into stamped envelopes top placemats doubling as menus on casual wooden tables. Seating is spaced in a way that keeps conversation semi-private at each table.
During the day, Cúrate’s interior is light and fun. As the sun sets, ambiance gradually shifts to a little darker and more romantic.
We shared, feasting on tapas as they crisscrossed our table. It began slowly with one or two plates, getting more interesting as each new dish was delivered. It all began with almendras fritas ($5) – fried marcona almonds with sea salt.
Butternut squash soup with smoked Spanish Paprika, crema de calabaza ($5), topped with an artistic swirl and pumpkin seeds, was rich and deeply flavored.
One of my favorites was the gambas al ajillo ($11): sauteed shrimp and garlic served with roasted pepper and seasoned beautifully. The shrimp were cooked perfectly!
One of Cúrate’s signature tapas, berenjenas la taberna ($6) was as good as always. Fried eggplant is drizzled in “wild apiaries honey”, then garnished with rosemary. Executive Chef and co-owner, Katie Button, has said they go through an incredible amount of eggplant just with this dish.
For a fun twist on sausage and chips, try chistorra (chorizo) & chips jose’s way ($7). We all loved the unexpected twist of frying chorizo inside chips.
Probably one of the more beautiful tapas was this esqueixada de montaña ($9). Described on the menu as the “local version of this catalan clasic, Sunburst Farms trout sliced thin and served raw with lemon, fresh tomato, sweet onion, and black olives.” Fresh tasting and generously portioned, three of us enjoyed this one.
Perhaps a Spanish version of Nachos, patatas bravas ($5) are served topped with a slightly spicy “brava” sauce at Cúrate, but when served in Spain can be topped with various meats.
I loved the unexpectedly interesting flavor of the brava sauce. Try this for something a little different.
A daily special is pictured next and it’s not pretty. The picture, that is. In real life, this caramelized brussels sprout & cauliflower tapa($8) was beautiful, but for some reason camera shy from every angle. It was also delicious, made with raisins, garlic, fried brussels leaves, fried bread crumbs, celery root and served with a light, seasoned yogurt sauce.
Another Cúrate favorite is croquetas de pollo ($7). Inside these ordinary looking fried oblong shapes is one of the most flavorful, creamy chicken concoctions you’ll ever taste.
Our lunch ended on a sweet note with two dessert tapas: espuma de chocolate ($6) (a plate smeared with hazelnut praline anchoring deeply flavored chocolate mousse, candied nuts and raspberry sorbet sprinkled with shaved sea salt) and copa de helado ($3) (two scoops of homemade ice cream or sorbets) We chose apricot and raspberry sorbet.
Read more about Chef Katie Button:
- Chef Katie Button on her Noma Internship
- Katie Button to Cook “Spanish Holiday Table” Dinner at James Beard House
11 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801