Asheville – At the Blackbird Restaurant in downtown Asheville, the change of seasons signal more than just the passing of the year. It’s an opportunity to experiment, embrace fresh ingredients, and work with local farmers and food suppliers to provide a true taste of Western North Carolina.
“One of our primary goals when we purchased the restaurant last June was to create fresh and seasonal menus that capture the flavors of the area,” says Jesson Gil, owner of the restaurant. This meant giving Executive Chef Michael Reppert the freedom to experiment and create menus that really spoke to him as a chef.
“I think spring is fresh and crisp, but hardy and warmhearted,” says Chef Reppert. “The crisp mornings with the birds chirping and warm afternoons inspired our spring menu.”
Entrees such as the grilled poulet rouge chicken with oven-roasted corn grits, buttered fava beans, roasted carrots, and lemon chicken demi embody this combination of fresh and hardy. The dish is also a true sampling of local flavors with chicken from Joyce Farms in Winston-Salem; locally sourced produce; and grits from Peaceful Valley Farms in McDowell County.
Lighter fare such as the Strawberries and Crispy Warm Goat Cheese salad tempts with a bevy of locally grown berries; local chopped lettuce; Marcona almonds; fried goat cheese from Goat Lady Dairy in Climax, NC; and champagne vinaigrette.
In an effort to be more inclusive with their offerings, the Blackbird also expands their vegetarian offerings this season. A local cheese board and the peppers, peas & beet board with assorted spring veggies are new additions to the pantry section of the menu. The Wellington stuffed with seasonal vegetables and served with spiced pecans, figs, wilted spring greens, whipped potatoes, and jalapeno cherry sauce is a delicious entree that takes centerstage.
The star of the menu is a special “When Pigs Fly” Tasting Menu with an optional wine flight. This seven-course meal is a foodie’s dream featuring Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork from Goldsboro, NC.
The common theme among all of the new menu items is an underlying effort to support local farmers and food producers. “We’re small business owners,’’ says Jesson. “As such, we want to support other small businesses through our purchasing decisions. Buying local is a win-win, because we receive fresh ingredients while feeding back into the local food economy.”
The complete spring menu can viewed on the Blackbird’s web site at theblackbird.com. The Blackbird is open for lunch Monday through Saturday 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Dinner hours are Sunday through Thursday, 5 p.m.-10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 5 p.m.-11 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, the restaurant serves brunch from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
ABOUT THE BLACKBIRD RESTAURANT
Located at 47 Biltmore Ave in downtown Asheville, the Blackbird restaurant is locally owned by Jesson and Cristina Gil. They purchased the restaurant in June 2016. The Blackbird’s goal is to delight guests with cooking grounded in the traditions and ingredients of the Carolinas while creating an affordable and vibrant menu. Their signature is modern Southern with a “nod” to tradition. Parking for the restaurant is available on Biltmore Ave, inside the Aloft Hotel parking garage. (The first hour is free.) Reservations are available online through Reserve or via phone at 828-254-2502.