Our two youngest children are in the final stretch of their college years. They touched down for a few days at home, one and then the other, on their way to summer jobs/internships on the West Coast.
PIC and I had a lot of fun spending time with them, unpacking then re-packing boxes of “things” we’ve stored for them in an extra bedroom, supplementing their wardrobes, donating what doesn’t work now that they’re older. We also had fun going to some of their and our favorite eateries.
My new favorite (I have a few) is Chestnut. It was my pick for this year’s birthday dinner.
Not many spots in this price range offer an Amuse Bouche, so we were genuinely surprised when this steak, onion and cheese on crostini showed up. Plenty of flavor was packed into a couple bites. A nice way to begin our meal with “happy mouths”.
I couldn’t resist this Parmesan Cauliflower Puree (soup) with cracked black pepper ($5), figuring they’d know how to do it right. And they did. Rich and delicious, flavor was almost what I’d call “bold”. They added a little potato to thicken it up a bit.
College daughter chose the Free Range Stuffed “Airline” Breast of Chicken ($22). What a beautiful dish. The chicken was stuffed with prosciutto and smoked mozzarella, served on a bed of “creamy orzo” and then topped with an asparagus artichoke ragu.
We all felt (tastes all around) the chicken was flavorful enough to hold its own among the other rich flavors in this luscious dish. Half came home with us.
PIC went with the Chestnut Bouillabaisse ($25). It’s hard to see, but a mushroom risotto cake is in the middle, surrounded by mussels, monkfish, scallops and prawn in a saffron tomato broth. A couple of toast points were good for dipping and pushing.
Again, flavors were amazing. Presentation eye-catching. But serving the prawn whole made eating it tricky.
I was really happy to see the Really Petite Filet ($14) on Chestnut’s menu. At about 3 ounces, it was perfectly portioned for my appetite. That’s a cross-cut potato chip garnishing garlic mashed potatoes. Haricot Verts were the second vegetable.
Arriving cooked exactly as ordered, served with a deliciously rich sauce, I was a happy camper. NONE of this came home with me!
The plan was to have dinner at Chestnut, followed by a short walk to French Broad Chocolate Lounge for dessert. Plans are made to be changed, right? Our server heard it was my birthday and made an offer I couldn’t refuse – a dessert of my choice – on the house. I don’t know if this is standard, so if it’s your birthday and you’re interested in dessert, ask. Or for a subtler approach, just let them know and see what happens.
Rich, rich, rich. If rich is your thing, this Salted Caramel Tart (normally $6) is for you. It’s made in a graham cracker crust with chocolate ganache and is sprinkled with crunchy nuts. Why do this half way? Ask for the tart a la mode.
Whether you’re visiting or live in the Asheville area, I strongly recommend Chestnut for lunch or dinner. You can’t go wrong.
- Chestnut prides itself on sourcing seasonally and locally as much as possible
- See my earlier Chestnut article for interior and more food photos.
- Window seats are fun for people watching
- Service was friendly and effecient