When my friends left it up to me to pick a restaurant for dinner recently, I didn’t hesitate: Noble – The Greenhouse.
BEST NEW RESTAURANT 2019?
FUCK YEAH, BEST NEW RESTAURANT 2019
When Dawn & I invite friends out to dinner, of course everyone wants me to decide where to eat. I’m always happy to do so, and recently, I also insisted on picking out everything we ate! I don’t usually do that, because, y’know, people like to make their own choices, but this time, I was like, “fuck it, I’m hungry, you people always take forever to decide what to order, I’m super-familiar with this menu from food tours, and I don’t feel like explaining any of it to you, so I’m just picking every single thing we’re eating tonight, and you’re gonna fucking love it.” And they did. Me too. This meal exceeded my expectations, in fact, which were set high already. I gave Greenhouse my “Best New Restaurant” award, and I’m telling you what, they earned it! So, here’s what I ordered…
Russian Black Bread
I thought I might get some push-back from the others on this one, so I snuck it in without telling anyone. When it arrived, everyone ooo’d and ahhh’d about how pretty it looked, and then I cut it up into a bunch of pieces and we tore in. Oh mah goodness. The texture of this bread was a superb, surprisingly moist, almost dense and cake-like consistency, that was enhanced by the topping of warm, caramelized black garlic & onion butter, that soaked in, and added a pleasantly deep aromatic flavor to the hearty brown bread.
On top of the bread and butter, were some sweet figs that had been macerated (soaked in alcohol), as well as a very light, fresh, and attractive mix of greens. The things in the pictures that look like meat are actually watermelon radish, which are mildly radishy, and very crisp, snappy, and delicious There was also a very nice oil and herb based dressing and a sprinkling pistachio dukkah, which is an Egyptian-style spice blend.
While the Russian bread was a new dish to me, one that required me to look up words and stuff, I’ve eaten the wheat gnocchi many times, as one of our frequent food tour samples when we stop into Greenhouse, and it is divine! I knew that every one in our group would love it, so I placed the order with confidence, and I was right. People always rave about his dish on tour, and my friends were no different. The wheat gnocchi is bite-sized, light, and fluffy.
The Brussels sprout leaves are both deep-fried for crispiness, and fresh (though not raw) for a more velvety texture and green flavor. The it’s all tossed and served in a sauce made of Chinese BBQ glaze & brown chicken stock reduction that is simply one of the BEST and most savory sauced in all of downtown. I’m not kidding, I want to lick the bowl, ad you will too. Dawn and our friends were very impressed to say the least.
I have to admit that I didn’t know what the fuck garganelli is, but I know what brisket is, so I didn’t give a shit. I figured it was be something Italian (hey hey, I’m not a complete idiot!) and I was right. Turns out garganelli is a pasta that looks very much like penne, that they make in house of course, and serve with celery root, sweet potatoes, local mushrooms. and a milk & honey jus. It comes topped with spiced Pistachio, grated Parmesan & herbs, and holy fucknuts that shit was good.
The jus was thick and satisfying and savory AF. The herbs were full of various big, fresh, flavors, to veg was all cooked until soft and awesome, and the brisket was falling apart and, from my perspective, perfect. I recommend this dish very much. My friends and I went crazy over it.
I’ve written about these carrots already, and they are as awesome as ever. Fresh, young carrots, roasted ’til soft, though not mushy, and a little charred along the edges. “Best carrots ever” is a term that may have been used at our table that night. Along with the super-carrotty tasting carrots, was a very nice lime crema, some house-made romesco (which is a tomato and nut based sauce or condiment), some of their spicy chowchow, and crispy, smoked, slivered almonds.
This dish kind of has is all in terms of mixing up textures, and spice-levels, and with a few fresh herbs sprinkled on top, and voila! One of the tastiest little veg-forward small plates in all of Asheville! I don’t always rave about carrots, but when I do, it’s these carrots.
I’m new(ish) to brisket, and I’m eating it whenever I see it on a menu. I saw it twice on this menu, so I ordered it twice. I am so glad I did, and I think my friend Scott was glad too, because after Dawn and Renee tapped out, he and I crushed this amazing take on meat and taters, and if I hadn’t been getting so full, I might have fought him for the last bite. Made in-house with Carolina grass-fed beef, with what they call a “pastrami crust.” Good gahd. I’m drooling just thinking about it. It came with a lovely mirepoix marmalade (sautéed chopped vegetables), and a mildly mustardy potato piccalilli.
As with the brisket in the gargenelli, this brisket was so tender it jsut fell apart at the touch of my fork, but still had a nice, meaty texture. the fat just melted in my mouth, and the slightly sweet flavor was cut by the mirepoix and picallili. The mustard of the later being a clever and whimsical match with the pastrami crust. This is the very bite that got me hooked on Greenhouse in the first place, back in 2019 when I tasted a teeny=tiny sample of it at their opening party, and came back the next day to ask if they would be pasrt of my food tours. They have been ever since and they are a universal hit with my patrons, as well as me, and now Dawn, Scott and Renee as well!
Raw Vegan Pistachio Cheesecake
I ordered this one thinking it was something else, and to be honest, it was not the stand-out bite of the evening. However, IF YOU ARE: Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and / or practicing a raw diet this is your fucking jam right here, Friend. It wasn’t bad, not at all! In fact it was quite good, and we crushed it, but yeah, I’m not any of the things I listed above and neither are any of the other people in our group that night, so, yeah. When you see and read the other two desserts below, you’ll know why this was our third favorite. It was flavored with saffron, pistachio, & cardamom,and came with candied blueberries. Those blueberries were fucking great, actually. I’d eat the shit out of those on a more sinful dessert for sure.
Creme Fraiche Layer Cake
I’m a sucker for anything creme fraiche, so when i saw this cake listed on the menu, I couldn’t resist, and I’m glad that I didn’t! It was a very pretty presentation for one thing, and looked fancy as fuck, which it was. The description on the menu reads: “White Chocolate Feuilletine Cake. Pistachio Cream. Lemon & Pistachio In Textures.” Again, I had to look up feuilletine on wikipedia and it’s sort of a candied crepe chip. In the picture above they must be the little jobbies pokin’ out the top of one of the squares of cake and one of the white chocolate bars. Don’t even ask me what “pistachio in textures” means, don’t know don’t care, because whatever it is, now I fucking love it. People could be like, “How do you feel about pistachio in textures, Stu?” And I’d be, all, like, “What do you think, dumb-ass, I fucking love it.” This dessert was the most deconstructed, blowed-apart, nouveau cuisine-esque bite we had all night, and my only complaint is that I had to share it. I might go back just to get this one all for myself. #truestory
Bee Sting Cake
Okay, hold up, y’all. WTF is a bee sting cake? So many new words and dishes in this meal! I love it! And wow, this dessert was a super-star dessert, for real. We were already stuffed and ready to pop when this baby came out courtesy of the kitchen. Did the fact that we had eaten ourselves silly, and already downed two dessert stop us from devouring this one? The answer is no. Turns out, bienenstich kuchen is a traditional German treat which, according to wikipedia, is “sweet yeast dough with a baked-on topping of caramelized almonds and filled with a vanilla custard, Buttercream or cream.” Of course, this was a fancy-pansty version, and of course it was to fucking die for. Moist, creamy, cakey, light in all the right ways, and heavy in all the other right ways, plus it had the nice crunchy, roasty-toasty element of the almonds on top, and around the edges, and holy Christmas, so good. I’m going back to the Greenhouse alone for one of these too. #anothertruestory
So, in conclusion… fuck yeah, Best New Restaurant.
Noble – The Greenhouse is located at 49 Rankin Ave, Asheville, NC.
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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.