I was invited to attend a special Valentine’s Day dinner at the brand new AUX Bar down on Lexington Ave, not once but twice, and since Dawn was out of town, I had a fun Boy Date with my Friend Stephan from Dig Local Asheville.
BOY PARTY! NO GIRLS ALLOWED! EAT ALL THE FOOD!
AUX BAR V-DAY DINNER
JUST IN CASE you haven’t heard the news, Darlene and Chef Mike Moore have teamed-up with Sam and Chef Steven Goff to open a new eatery and catering business call AUX Bar, located in the old Creperie Bouchon space down on North Lexington Ave, and boy oh boy, am I ever excited about that! It’s no secret that I am a fan of Chef Goff’s food, and I was sad when his first venue, King James Pub closed down and he and Sam moved out of Asheville. I’m a fan of Chef Moore and his food as well, and have gotten to know him by attending a few of The Blind Pig suppers that he and Darlene have been organizing, hosting, and producing for years.
So yeah, Dawn is always out of town on Valentine’s Day, so last year I went out to dinner by myself, and I kinda felt like sticking my head in the oven by the end of the night. So when Chef Steven Goff asked me to come to Valentine’s Dinner at AUX bar, I politely declined, telling him instead that I was going to stay home and watch fights. But then, my buddy Stephan was all, like, “I’m recently single and I have two tickets to this AUX Bar dinner…” Say no more! Stephan is one of my all-time favorite meal partners, and a fun boy date on Valentine’s day sounded like just the cure for the lonely loser blues!
The fun got even more fun when we were seated with two handsome gentlemen!
That’s right! It’s Farmer Sunil Patel from Patchwork Urban Farms and of course Charlie Hodge from Sovereign Remedies and Ol’ Shakey’s! This particular dinner was well-attended by a lot of my friends from the food scene, both makers and eaters, as well as movers and shakers like Kelly Denson (Wing Wars and Battle of the Burger). The staff was also an all-star cast, from the two head chefs, to the hosts, to the bar staff. I tried to take some pictures of people but I suck at that, so here’s to only two I got…
I know that people are super-curious about AUX Bar, so let me just tell you: It’s really stylish and chic, while also being casual and homey at the same time inside. It has a large patio outside, and in the nice weather it will have both indoor and outdoor seating, and cooking, with FIRE! The food? Well, let me just say that based on this meal, it’s going kick some serious ass.
The food at this dinner was amazing!
It was a fixed, five course menu, and I CLEANED every plate. This was some fancy eatin’ for sure, that not only included an “amuse” but also an “intermisso,” which are two teeny-tiny bites — one at the beginning of the meal and one in the middle — that serve to wake the palate up in the first case, and shift gears in the 2nd.
Both the amuse and intermisso were awesome, the first consisted of cava gelee, herb salad, and mountain trout caviar. The one that came in the middle — intermisso, like intermission, get it? — was a tiny dollop of buttery salmon mousse, dill,and lemon. Both did exactly what they were meant to do: Surprise and delight my mouth, while prepping it for more, bigger, flavors. The Amuse was particularly enjoyable, with that cava gelee having a wonderfully sweet-but-sour tang, that interacted in a very interesting and powerful way with the intense earthy punch of the micro-greens and salty “pop” of the trout roe. I really dug it. I took pictures of the entire meal, except the amuse, so directly below is the intermisso, and then below that everything else.
I’ve described the bite above and it’s counterpart, and given a small “review” of the amuse, but for the rest of this post, I’m just going to post the pictures I took (sorry, I wish they were better!) with the menu descriptions of the food.
I literally ate everything edible that you see in these pictures and did not leave one morsel behind. Every single dish, item, ingredient, flavor, and concept was right on the money to me, and I absolutely loved every bite. You guys should know by now that when I don’t think something is stellar, I don’t say it’s stellar. This meal was fucking stellar! I am personally very excited about the AUX Bar, and about Steven, Sam, Mike, and Darlene finally bringing all their special and unique talents back to downtown Asheville! They should be open for biz by Feb 22nd, 2018, and believe you me, you’ll see me there. A lot.
ABOVE: Raw NC Oysters – Fermented beet mignonette, apple chow chow
ABOVE: Herbed Country Pork Plate – Green peanut tahini, pickles, chicharrón.
ABOVE & BELOW: Seared Foie Gras – Brioche, salted scotch apple butter, white cheddar, sorghum, toasted peanuts
BELOW (next two): Prime Ribeye – Leek ash, preserved beet, shaved carrot, cipollini, pommes puree.
This entree was insanely good. The sear on that meat was absolutely to die for, and every single additional thing on the plate was delicious. I cleaned it. CLEANED. IT.
Dessert was equal in taste, texture, quality, and flavor to everything else in this meal. Sometimes at these fancy eatin’ things, dessert can seem like an afterthought, wich is a real shame when it happens. It did not happen this time! Dessert was perfect.
This Whole Meal was Perfect
ABOVE: “All the Chocolate Forever” – Torte, mousse, sauce, shavings. The peanut powder you see in the picture was not mentioned on menu, but I LERV pernert perder, so it was the coup de grace for me.
So yes, I’m very excited about AUX Bar and if you were a fan of King James, or 7 Sows, or have been a loyal follower of the Blind Pig suppers, then you will also be psyched. If you’ve never heard of any of those things, get on down to AUX Bar when they open and try it for yourselves! Based on this meal, and everything l know about the two chefs in charge, I give it my Stoobie stamp of approval!
Thanks to the house for inviting me, and to Stephan and Dig Local Asheville for inviting me a second time, and actually prying me out of my house on Valentine’s Day for this super-fun boy date. I laughed a lot, I talked too much, and I ate until I was very full and completely satisfied. I expect more of the same every time I eat at AUX Bar in the future, which will be with some frequency, I can already tell, so yes, as I said…
I’ll see you there!
“The Blind Pig Supper Club Expands To Produce ‘Restaurant Quality’ Catering Services To The Public And Opens The American Cuisine Brick & Mortar Restaurant Concept AUX Bar.”
Address: 68 N. Lexington Avenue, Asheville, North Carolina 28801
Phone: (828) 350-3741
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Stu Helm is an artist, writer, and podcaster living in Asheville, NC, and a frequent diner at local restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and the like. His tastes run from hot dogs and mac ‘n’ cheese, to haute cuisine, and his opinions are based on a lifetime of eating out. He began writing about food strictly to amuse his friends on Facebook.