Last Saturday was our first visit to Tupelo Honey Cafe in Asheville. Mr. McB and I were entertaining a visitor from Ohio and thought that we would try Tupelo Honey instead of going to one of the restaurants on-property at Biltmore. I borrowed the Tupelo Honey Cafe cookbook from the library so I knew that THC has lots of delicious, and somewhat complex, dishes. It has a great reputation so I had high expectations.
We visited the THC South (1829 Hendersonville Rd, Asheville, NC) location. I’m sure some would say that it doesn’t have the same personality as the original but it does allow for reservations so that goes a long way in my book. The restaurant is in a strip mall but it’s a cute little place with fun decorative touches including old screen doors to separate tables, ceiling fans that are run by a pulley system, and pretty bathroom fixtures. They also have a mid-sized patio that was very popular.
We took a table inside and were waited on quickly. Our server was very pleasant and professional. After our orders were placed, we were given a plate of biscuits and blueberry preserves. The preserves were absolutely delicious but the biscuits were a letdown. I didn’t even push Mr. McB to try them.
The mediocrity of the biscuits was quickly forgotten when our entrees arrived. Our friend ordered the Grateful Dead blackbean burger with sweet potato fries. She was pleased with her selection.
McB had a bacon and cheddar omelet with a side of goat cheese grits. The omelet was big and loaded with full slices of thick-cut bacon. Even though he isn’t a big fan of the texture of grits, the flavor was good enough to win him over.
I ordered the veggie bowl. It’s a layered (and mostly delightful) mess of vegetable goodness. The dish’s bottom layer is the goat cheese grits and from there you’ll find salsa verde black-eyed peas, greens (a kale/swiss chard mix), a heaping helping of fried okra, and sunshot salsa to finish it off. By and large, I did like the dish. The black-eyed peas tasted just like “regular” black-eyed peas and that means I didn’t like them. The greens were some of the best I’ve ever had. The flavor was fresh, light and not at all bitter. The okra was tasty. The sunshot salsa would have been good if not for the fact that an unbearably strong onion was used in making it. Our friend’s blackbean burger had a very strong onion on it as well. It’s disappointing that no one in the kitchen thought to taste the onion. It had a strong smell that should have clued them in to the flavor.
All in all, we enjoyed the experience at Tupelo Honey Cafe and will go back to try something different.