Monday, October 31, 2011

Bouchon French Comfort Food - Asheville, NC

We were in Asheville, NC this weekend to have dinner at Bouchon. Bouchon bills itself as French comfort food. The menu covers the French bases pretty well. There are the usual suspects ranging from Steak Frites, the sturdy fall dish Cassoulet, Bouillabaisse and most things in between.
The menu is broken down into small plates and large plates. The small plate side covers soups, salads and other starters such as marrow bones and pates while the large plates are the entres.

We were there for the cassoulet. A favorite fall dish and one that we look forward to. Away from our favorite we looked for the local French restaurant and found Bouchon. I didn't end up ordering the cassoulet but did get to try it. From the bites that I had I can say that the best part of the dish for me was the pork belly and the, apparently, in-house made fennel sausage. The most disappointing aspect of this dish was the serving temperature. It arrived at the table lukewarm at best. No explanation for that. Service seemed prompt so maybe the kitchen just misfired? Taste was good but the dish could have been SO much better. 
The other entre we tried was the chicken cordon bleu. It too was just OK. A bit overcooked and served with a mix of veg that was way overcooked. Again, taste wise the dish was fine but fell short of what I expected. The thing that saved the meal for me were the frites. Thin, crispy, salty, dusted with rosemary and served with a red pepper mayo. Just perfect. Dessert was very good too. Crepes with chocolate and strawberries and the delicious chocolate bread pudding with vanilla ice cream. So good.

I should note that besides the main dining room Bouchon has a patio for outdoor dining and also a private dining room in their wine cellar that can be reserved. On nights when the wine cellar dining room is not reserved it is opened for dinner seating. Bouchon is a small place and fills up fast. They don't accept reservations. My advice is plan to dine early. On the night we were there the main dining room was full by 6:00. 

Bouchon is located at 62 N Lexington Ave in Downtown Asheville's shopping district. Lexington Ave is lined with funky stores, cafes and coffee shops. It is a destination and sure to have something for everyone. Bouchon is only open for dinner and the doors open at 5:00. They are open 7 days a week.


Michel Baudouin, the chef, and his wife Vonciel, own this charming little spot. 

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