Steak is on the Menu
Way back in July, I wanted steak. It was m’birthday, and dang it, steaks were on my mind. But where to get one in Asheville? I tol’ my GF Dawn that I would be willing to go to Ruth muhfuckin’ Christ’s if that’s what it took, and she said, don’t be ridiculous, we’ll find you a steak, and that she did! Bull & Beggar filled the bill that night with a delicious Fillet Mignon (pictured below) that I reviewed a while back. (read it HERE) That steak was perfect, and set the gold standard for me. A high bar indeed. Since then I have had my eye out for steaks on the menu all over town, and wow, there sure are a lot of them these days! It seems like errbody’s into it, (Except of course those who are not) and I’ve been tryin’ steaks here and there, and at some very surprising places.
ABOVE: Pretty much thee perfect steak from Bull & Beggar
Probably the most surprising steak I’ve had was a Grilled Fillet Mignon from Hana Japanese restaurant on Biltmore Ave, which I took a chance on by having it delivered by Takeout Central to my door, and, surprise indeed, it was fucking delicious! So tender that it came apart on my fork and virtually melted in my mouth. The flavor of the meat and the Japanese demi=glaze sauce were both very nice, and went great together. All-in-all I’d have to say it was one of the best steaks I’ve had in Asheville! Again, who knew? Total shocker, but go try it for yourself and tell me if I’m wrong. The sauteed vegetables were also great, and the wasabi mashed taters had a nice flavor, and I crushed them, no doubt, though the texture was a little homogeneous and slightly grainy.
ABOVE: One of the best steaks I’ve had, from an unexpected spot.
Also unexpected was the Philippine style steak that I shared with Dawn and our friend Tema at a special pop-dinner hosted by Chef Silver Cousler, and their partner Cherry at Gan Shan West. Cherry had an interesting and eclectic selection of wine for Dawn to sample and enjoy, while Tema and I were both psyched that Mexican Coke, made with real sugar, was available. Yum! We ordered a variety of delicious food items, including ceviche, smoked fried chicken, and a big ol’ steak! The Koji Aged Rib-Eye served with A-1 Sauce, cured butter, charred gai lan, white rice, and tomato salad was frickin’ great! Seared to crispy, black, umami-rich perfection on the outside, and red, warm, tender, and juicy on the inside. And yes, you heard right, it is served with A-1, the commercial steak sauce, the way Chef Cousler enjoyed it “with her grandmother as a kid.” Silver and Cherry are doing these pop-ups weekly on Sundays for the time being, and while I can’t be sure this steak will always be available, I can be sure that the food and wine will be fun, interesting, and excellent! Gai lan is a leafy green veg, packed with flavor and nutrition, similar to Chinese broccoli, BTW, and was really good!
ABOVE: Blacked rib-eye ‘n’ rice, a la Chef Cousler.
I have had a couple of other interesting steak dishes around town, like a Country Fried Steak with gravy and taters and extra gravy from Homegrown, the very unique, thin-cut Bistec de Palomilla from Hemmingway’s Cuba, and of course, a massive Bone-in Rib-Eye at the heavily meat-centric Atahualpa dinners that Chef Santiago Vargas from Out of the Blue Peruvian Food Truck has been doing at the Bywater lately.
ABOVE: Now that’s country fried steak!
ABOVE: The traditional thin cut steak at Hemingway’s Cuba
ABOVE: Open pit BBQ steak (with pork and chicken) a la Chef Vargas.
And when I posted the statement “Steak is making such a big comeback in Asheville,” to my personal Facebook page, I got a lot of great recommendations for steaks around town, including Storm Rhum Bar, Daphne at Twisted Laurel, The Greenhouse, Benne on Eagle, Table, Sovereign Remedies, The Woodfire Grille, Bouchon, Bone & Broth, and Post 25 in Arden. I also saw that there’s steak on the menu at the brand new Bargello restaurant inside the fancy new Arras Hotel (formerly the BB&T building).
I’m sure I’ve left a lot of steaks off my list, sorry steaks, but I’ll keep hunting them down and rounding them up, and when I find a really KILLER steak, I’ll let you know, for sure! As of right now, the BEST steak I’ve had in Asheville has been that birthday Mignon at The Bull & Beggar. It’s number one. Best steak in town. Until further notice.
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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.