High on our list of things to do, or should I say places to dine, while in Asheville was dinner at Bouchon. This restaurant was one of the reasons that my bride and I were prompted to drive all the way up from Tampa. And, let me say right up front that Bouchon and it's sister restaurant Crêperie Bouchon were so worth the drive.
We arrived at Bouchon a good thirty minutes before the restaurant opened so we decided to indulge ourselves with a couple of glasses of wine at the Creperie. Emilie was our delightful server who was thrilled to hear that we intended to dine at Bouchon. After serving our wine on the outdoor patio, Emilie kindly said that she would go next door and let them know we were coming at five. Emilie could give a few other restaurants that we visited a lesson on customer service. Bouchon, by the way, does not take reservations. It is first come, first served.
The Belle of Ballast Point and I arrived at five and were promptly escorted to a table. Alexandra, our lovely and professional server for the evening, quickly followed with menus. While perusing the menus, we finished our two glasses of wine from the Creperie, then requested a bottle of Mas Carlot "Les Enfants Terribles" Costieres de Nimes from the south of France. This is a blend of old vine Mourvedre and Syrah; full-bodied with fruity notes of blackberries, blueberries and tobacco.
From there we chose the Roasted Garlic Rouille with toasted baguette while we decided on our next courses. This rouille was a creamy delight and not so garlic heavy as to deter any vampires lurking about on Lexington.
As soon as my eyes spied L’Os à Moëlle Braisé with a sherry, mushroom, balsamic reduction I knew this heavenly bone marrow gift from the gods would be mine. I swoon at the very memory.
My petite bride chose the Salade du Grand Père as her diet-conscience appetizer; fresh greens dressed with a Dijon vinaigrette, sprinkled with lardons and walnuts. I am certain that the lardons were heart-healthy. It's bacon for gosh sakes and anything with bacon is good for you. Right?
Enough foolin' around. Let's get serious and move on to the entrees. For her the Steak au Poivre, a
superbly prepared sautéed beef shoulder tenderloin steak with classic black pepper-Cognac sauce, vegetables, and pommes frites.
That steak was tender, juicy, and delicious. The fries were crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and perfectly seasoned. A sauce was included, but the Belle said the fries needed nothing. They were perfect as they were.
I have tried preparing a cassoulet in our home kitchen and it never seems to come out as good as I would like, so any chance I get to indulge myself with a professionally prepared version of this classic, I am there. The Cassoulet Bouchon is probably the very best I have ever had. The Languedoc region’s classic dish of baked white beans got a Tarheel twist. Bouchon included confit of NC-raised poulet rouge leg quarter, with a house-made garlic-lamb sausage, and pork belly.
Oh mon Dieu! A duck quarter, garlic-lamb sausage, and pork belly. Three major food groups. I quiver at the mere thought.
Dessert? We needed that like we needed an extra stomach. Actually, we could have used a couple of those to hold the sinfully wonderful Crêpe aux Fruits Chocolat; a gluten-free crêpe filled with fresh seasonal fruit, homemade chocolate sauce, served warm, and topped with whipped cream.
I hesitated posting the following photo thinking it might be cruel and unusual punishment for anyone reading this review, but ... Oh, well!
Bouchon provided us with one of the most fantastic dinning experiences that we have ever had, and all for a measly $130.54. That would have been a $200 or more dinner back in the Big Guava.
FYI for our Doctor Kathie back in Tampa: most everything on the Bouchon menu is gluten free. So there!