July 31, 2014
Food that Melts in Your Mouth, Asheville’s Curate
Posted by: Doniel Winter
Much has been written about Curate and its owner/chef Katie Buttons. Just Google her name and you can read about her cooking pedigree and the unexpected turns in her life that took her from scientist, to waitress, to culinary student, to where she is today: at the apex of our glorious local food scene, preparing and serving the most interesting and delicious food in all of Asheville.
What makes the food at Curate great is the variety, and as a tapas (small plate) style restaurant, it is the best venue to experiment and try something outside your comfort zone. Eating at Curate is a journey, and you have the opportunity to experience dishes that go from good, to great…. to sublime. I’ve shared and tasted just about everything on the menu and I have never, ever been disappointed in a dish. A few were good, most were great. And at Curate I have, in fact, tasted dishes that I can honestly say are the best I have ever eaten.
Music by Paco de Lucía
Like the Sabores del Mediteranneo, a seasonal dessert of sorbet, sweet yogurt mousse and candied pine nuts, drizzled in a pine needle oil, is by far the most fantastic thing I have ever put in my mouth. Ever. The flavors are sweet and subtle and unexpected, and if it’s on the menu I would suggest saving room for it. I would also recommend everyone try the Jamon Iberico de Bellota, a selection of thinly sliced cured ham that I’m fairly certain you cannot try anywhere else. It’s expensive, $20 for a handful of ham sliced as thin as paper, but totally worth it. When was the last time you tasted meat that, quite literally, melted in your mouth?
Curate is special. And though I’m not really a foodie I wholly appreciate the craft and effort in their creations. My appreciation for Katie’s food only grew after I watched the documentary El Bulli, available on Netflix, which chronicles a season in the lives of El Bulli’s executive chef Ferran Adria and the team of chefs working under him. El Bulli’s approach to food was experimental to the point of being almost scientific, and that rigorous attention to detail under which Katie was tutored (she appears briefly in several scenes in the movie) most certainly shows up in the offerings at Curate.
Eating at Curate is treating yourself, and depending on what you order, it can get expensive. But the food and the experience are well worth the price. If you are staying at Asia Bed and Breakfast Spa, you can take a 15 minute walk to Curate which is located in the heart of downtown Asheville. Reservations for dinner are highly recommended. Closed Mondays. Our Rating: “second to none” Cost: $$$
We rate the food in Asheville with the following descriptions: “second to none” is the best food in town. “consistently good” is pleasurable food that never disappoints. “in a pinch” is average and you could be underwhelmed. Cost is rated: $ – entrees under $12. $$ – entrees between $13 – $25. $$$ – entrees above $25.