Published on March 29th, 2012 | by Kevin Barron0
The View From The Corner Kitchen
Good evening, everyone. We just returned to the Inn on Biltmore Estate after a wonderful, casual meal at the Corner Kitchen in Asheville, North Carolina. The Corner Kitchen is listed, as of today, as the #6 restaurant on Urbanspoon for the area and that rating is well-deserved.
Located literally at the corner of Boston Way and All Souls Circle in Biltmore Village, it’s unpretentious and unexpected. Upon scaling the steps to the front porch and entering, you’re immediately confronted with the stairway to the second floor. To the right is a dining room, probably the old living room from this decades and decades old home, and to the left is the open kitchen and community dining table. We were escorted left and beyond to the sun-washed addition which also includes the bar. The restaurant is larger than it appears to be from the exterior and the tables and chairs are comfortably simple.
Our server was quick to welcome us and our drinks soon followed. To my surprise a very interesting amuse-bouche was provided to each of us; compliments of the house. The offering appeared to be a service standard for chef/owner Joe Scully and, in our case, was comprised of Sardines in Puffed Pastry. The sardine was briny and lingered on the tongue, but the crunch of the thinly sliced puffed pastry knocked it down to a level that was truly enjoyable.
Our appetizer choice was a simple basket of breads made on-site and included more surprises for our palates. The first selection was a trio of mini corn muffins with jalapeño; not too much heat which I liked. The second was pesto-grilled ciabatta that lasted no time on our daughter’s plate. The remaining item in the basket was a duo of simple, down-home biscuits that my wife and I split and slathered with locally-produced butter.
My entree was their renowned Sweet Mustard Glazed Three Meat Meatloaf with Collards, Cheddar Grits, and Three Sauces. It was as pretty on the plate as it was tasty on the fork. Grits and meatloaf? That was a new experience for me, but as it turns out they go together well. The glaze on the meatloaf slices created a crust that led to my fork clinking my plate before each bite. As to the collards, well, I’ve never been a real fan of collards. I’ll say it out loud: “I’m from the South and I’ve never been a fan of greens.” I’ll add, however, that my wife enjoyed them immensely.
For her entree, Mrs. had the Prosciutto, Sage, and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breast on Bleu Cheese Panzanella and Veal Jus. The portion was large and the color on the chicken was golden brown. Slicing into it, the prosciutto became the stunner of the dish with is earthy saltiness — I was allowed one bite. That was all. The panzanella was what I coveted and, swapping with it her for my collards, it was soon mine. I can’t say what type of bleu cheese was used, but it had a bite that left a big impression on me. Every morsel was devoured including the crispy crouton-y bits that held it all together.
I’m not sure why, but I seem to be more aware of sounds, smells, and flavors in recent days. It could be the grandeur of the smoky hills that feature prominently in just about every outdoor photo we’ve taken since our arrival. Then again, it could be the apparently endless breezes that whisked away the stresses of the day while I sat for a moment this afternoon on the East-facing loggia overlooking this 8,000 acre estate. No matter the reason, tonight’s visit to the Corner Kitchen fits just perfectly into this postcard of a visit to Asheville that I now see slowly coming into focus.
I recommend Corner Kitchen. Visit them and further develop your own image of this beautiful area of the country.
For now, from the Land of the Sky, I’ll simply say “Good night”. There’s a wicker rocker and a sunset downstairs with my name on them.