Posana, what’s in a name?

What’s in a name? In this case, everything. “Posana”, taken from the Sanskrit language, means “to nourish”.

Owner/Chef, Peter Pollay, wanted Posana Cafe to be a place where he could  “nourish everyone who walks through our doors including my wife and I, all the employees, and all of our customers.” He feels the best way to do that is to serve the kind of food he and his family eat at home. The kind that’s so delicious you don’t think about how good it is for you.

A recent remodel takes things to the next level by adding even more nourishing, feel-good details. Lighting is a key element, from wall cylinders,

Posana

to under-counter shades of blue,

Posana

to back-lit shelves full of colorful apothecary jars, and Edison bulb star-burst chandeliers. Fashion and function – lighting was installed in such that each and every table is well lit. And don’t miss the beautiful new floor!

Posana

Three of us had dinner at Posana last month. Peter stopped by the table and spontaneously joined us for much of the evening! Nothing like being able to go to the source with menu and other questions.

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Nichole Livengood and Peter Pollay

We asked Sous Chef Jordan Arace to send out what he thought we’d like to try. If you haven’t done this before, I recommend it – with the caveat that you let chef know if there are any types of food you absolutely do not want.

We enjoyed a cocktail each before dinner:

  • Pack Square Pear: E&J VSOP, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Pear, Vanilla, Lemon, and Cardamom Bitters
  • Zen-tni: Lemongrass Infused Organic Vodka, Ginger Syrup, Ginger, Lime, and Lime Bitters
  • Man’s Best Friend: Rain Organic Vodka, Grapefruit, Black Pepper Syrup, Grapefruit Bitters, and Salt

Arace scored immediately with PEI Mussels ($11) cooked with fennel, pickled peppers, chorizo, rosemary, and topped with a toast triangle. Loved taking bites of the tender mussels, veggies and chorizo mixed together. There are just a few places in Asheville I’d send folks for mussels. Posana is one of them.

Posana

More seafood, but from a totally different angle, this Lobster Mac & Cheese ($15) appetizer surprises with its soft textures and rich, yet subtle flavors. Garnished with micro greens, Maine lobster punctuates ricotta gnocchi in an aged cheddar cheese and chive sauce. Addictive.

Posana

I like Brussels Sprouts and order them often, but haven’t ever had them prepared this way. Posana uses them in their Brussels Sprouts Salad ($9) as the base greens, mixed with pears, roasted walnuts, Three Graces Dairy feta, and tossed in just the right amount of honey-buttermilk dressing. I’ll be ordering this regularly!

Posana

Well, maybe I’ll alternate the Brussels Sprouts Salad with the Kale (salad) ($9). Insiders know about this one. I’ve had it before and will have it again, as long as Peter keeps serving it up. Chopped Kale is mixed with currants, toasted pumpkin seeds, Three Graces Dairy manchego style cheese, lemon and Theros olive oil. If you’re a Kale fan, you’ll love this. If not, try it. You might be surprised.

Posana

On to more substantial courses, beginning with Pan Roasted Scallops ($24). Such a pretty presentation. A smear of celery root puree had been topped with cauliflower and almond-brown butter crumble. Then five beautifully seared scallops had been gently lined up along the edge of said smear and topped with the same crumble. Crispy kale added color, that dark green veggie flavor it’s known for, and light crunch. Just enough Truffle Jus had been drizzled for mixing with bites beginning to end. Loved the mix of earthy and sea flavors in this dish.

Posana

From surf to turf. Braised Hickory Nut Gap Pork Shoulder ($24) arrived next. It’s described on the menu as, “white wine braised shoulder, bacon-wrapped pork loin, shallot jam, [and] crispy pigs feet potatoes”. Crispy pigs feet potatoes? They were really banana fingerling potatoes.  This was a delicious, tender, pork party on a plate. (Poor quality photo apologies)

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Isn’t this Lamb Rack ($27) elegant? It’s been encrusted with an herb mixture and served on a bed of charred Brussels Sprouts and potato fondant in a rosemary-fig gastrique.

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Potato fondant (pictured left below), or more frequently referred to as fondant potatoes, is a lovely preparation technique used more frequently in Europe, where Russet potatoes are trimmed to a particular shape (egg or cylinder) and then fried in a little oil, then butter and stock, then baked until the outside is crisp and the inside is soft and creamy. If you want to learn more and see how it’s done, check out this video.

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Dessert! Yes, we actually had room for dessert. We shared two between the four of us.

The first was a Hot Chocolate Pot de Creme ($7) with dark chocolate and spicy walnuts. Very rich. Very good. The spicy nuts were perfect with the rich, sweet chocolate.

Posana

And the second was a fun take on “cheesecake”. It’s their Autumn Spice Cheesecake ($8). On the plate: Caramel cream, molasses crunch, pumpkin seeds and cider gel. A pretty presentation of fall flavors that was tasty and fun to share.

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Posana is right on Pack Square. Window seating allows for some pretty awesome people watching. This night, a large group of runners in wacky costume went by – twice!

Peter Pollay has a fascinating background, which you can read about in this “Chef Peter Pollay: civics to cafe . . . and back” article. Also in the article is a video of Chef Pollay making his award-winning Kale dish.

Epicurean Notes:

  • Posana’s tagline: “An up-scale, farm to table restaurant featuring a locally inspired, seasonal menu”
  • Posana is 100% gluten free

Posana Cafe
1 Biltmore Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 505-3969

Posana on Urbanspoon

Meal courtesy of Asheville CVB

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