Archive July 2011

At Last: The Epicurian Sendoff

Truthfully, there were multiple last meals in Asheville.  There was a week of final meals. But the winner for BEST last meal in Asheville goes to. . .

The Market Place!

I decided to get real local with it, and I’d heard they had a shift in menu and vision and decor, and when my friend wanted to have one last date night blowout before I left, we headed on over to Asheville’s quaintest thoroughfare, Wall Street.

I highly recommend the Market Place.  They’ve recently lowered their prices more than a tad, and their new paint job exceeds the old “In Living Color” palate.  The old Market Place design had me thinking Damon Wayans was going to walk around the corner holding a pickle in a jar.  And if you don’t get that reference, you’re too young/old.  But now the mood has shifted into a classier, more muted design, and their menu continues to find new expanses of creativity within the confines of a ’100 mile radius’ ingredient list.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the Thai beef lettuce wrap appetizer, however.  There were some high points, like the local Bibb lettuce and refreshing snap of crunchy radish, but the beef, grass-fed and a life of joyfully bounding local meadows notwithstanding, was under-spiced and harkened back to the days of “hamburger surprise” with a bland, general hamburger flavor that overwhelmed any Asian accents.

When perusing the dinner menu, however, the choice was clear.  There will be lamb.

Stifling nervous giggles of manic indulgence, we both ordered the same main course.  This is mostly unheard of in my daily life, but every now and then, just on special occasions or when dining with people besides my Partner-in-Dine, we will go for it.  On this night, we were so glad we did.

Plates were actually licked clean.  Heavenly spiced lamb shank, falling off the bone like Mama never made, this meal was a serious effort by chef William Dissen.  Smothered in a local parsley-cilantro rub, this was lamb that turned off all non-lamb based conversation like a faucet.  Crisp, grilled asparagus paired perfectly and a flavorful root-vegetable mash soaked up all da juices with absolutely zero watery blandness that befalls so many root mashes before it.

Also try:  house-made pickles never disappoint, always a couple of great vegetarian options on the regular menu, and white gazpacho is a revelation on that most refreshing of summertime soups.

The Market Place

Phone: 828-252-4162
20 Wall Street, Asheville, NC 28801  Dinner – Monday through Saturday from 5:30pm – Until.  Lunch – Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30am – 2pm.  Entrees: $7-$11 for lunch, $18-25 for dinner

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