Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dining in Brevard, North Carolina

So it's been a while since my last post. Most of that is because I've been in Brevard, NC the past couple of weeks working at the site of the now defunct Ecusta Paper Mill. It is a very large project and the environmental cleanup and demolition that is going on is quite extensive. While I was there I was able to eat at a few restaurants of course, so here are a few short reviews of some local fare. Good or bad, I will preface these reviews by saying I only visited these places once or twice during my stay.

Jordan's Street Cafe
Jordan's was probably where I had my best meal. We stopped here for dinner one night and I was impressed with the food and the bottled beer selection. I had a pan roasted chicken breast sitting on top of a bed of kale and broccoli rabe ravioli. The seasoning was spot on and the chicken was moist and crisp. I had a Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA to accompany my meal... maybe a bit hoppy when sidled up to a chicken breast but I'm not complaining - the 90 minute IPA is killer.

Stars: 3.5 out of 5

The Falls Landing
Another restaurant with a decent beer selection. I had local trout topped with candied pecans, and served with blue cheese mashed potatoes and green beans. Being so close to Asheville, I was pleased to see a couple of local brews on tap from Highland Brewing Company. I opted for the Gaelic Ale which was a good match with my dinner. The fish was OK, it was maybe a little too sweet with the candied pecans but it was certainly edible. Nice bartender and the chef was accommodating.

Stars: 2.5 out of 5

Poppies Gourmet Farmer's Market
This place is an absolutely WONDERFUL little store nestled along Asheville Highway. They close shop at 7 PM so dinner is an option for the early-ish birds, but the lunch I had was killer. The lunches here consist of custom made sandwiches, hot entree specials like beef stew over noodles, and personal pizzas cooked in the stone oven. Everything here is upscale, crunchy-granola organic and super tasty. From the looks of things they try very hard to source everything locally. They also have a very large beer selection that would make most liquor stores in the Atlanta area blush. If you're looking for a great lunch for a fair price, stop here.

Stars: 3.5 out of 5

Twin Dragons Grand Buffet
Yep, it's a Chinese Buffet. Surprisingly the food here is pretty good and the selection is incredible. Items range from the typical Chinese-American dishes, soups, to cheese quesadillas (for the kids or for the timid), custom stir fry where you pick the ingredients and they cook, salt and pepper frogs legs, sushi, and even a nice dessert bar complete with it's own self serve ice cream. I mostly stuck with sushi which was by no means the best I've ever had, but it was always fresh and tasty. There were sides of kimchi and seaweed salad too which was nice. Perhaps the best attraction to this place aside from the friendly service is the price. Lunch was about $8 and dinner was $9.50. For all you can eat sushi, I'm in.

Stars: 2.5 out of 5

The Clock of Brevard Fine Food
Funny name, great fried chicken. This was a lunch stop for us one day. The fried chicken was great. No heavy breading, just a light coating that is fried to a crunchy, crispy crust. Served with a side salad, cole slaw, fries, and a buttery toasted piece of bread, it was a good lunch. The sweet tea was surprisingly good here too. I was pleased that it lacked the sickening, super-sweetness that some sweet teas have.

Stars: 2 out of 5

Ed Boudreaux's Bar-B-Que
The better of the two BBQ places I visited while there but that doesn't mean it's anything extraordinary. I opted for the beef brisket which arrived shredded rather than sliced. I'm not a brisket expert, but I'd rather have mine sliced with a nice fat layer on top. Instead this one arrived dry with no evident smoke ring at all. Perhaps the best part about this place was the TV trivia we enjoyed with some co-workers and friends... that or the few pints of Lagunitas IPA I had.

Stars: 1.5 out of 5

Pisgah Fish Camp
We stopped here for lunch and dinner on two separate occasions. The atmosphere is kind of dismal but at least the service was nice. For lunch I had the buffet which on this particular day consisted of calabash shrimp and various sides. Not great, but dinner a few days later was better. For dinner I had the local trout entree which was actually pretty good. The trout itself rivaled the trout I had at The Falls Landing. I opted for the baked potato and something else (can't remember) as a side. Good stop if you're looking for something quick. I'm knocking a half star off of this due to the cafeteria/retirement home atmosphere.

Stars: 1 out of 5

Hawg Wild Bar-B-Que
Not my favorite BBQ in the world but then again, as with all these places it's hard to fairly judge them after just one visit. I had the pork BBQ plate with the Eastern BBQ sauce. The pork was kind of dry and had no discernible smokiness. The Eastern NC BBQ sauce is usually a tangy, tart, vinegar based sauce with the typical sugar and spices that one would expect in this neck of the woods. This one however was dull and watery. No surprise considering the first ingredient in the sauce was literally water. If you're looking for good BBQ pork, keep searching.

Stars 1.5 out of 5

This Ingles is indeed the Southeast grocery store chain that we all know of... you know, the Ingles Advantage. Walking into this store, I was immediately impressed: clean, fresh, good selection of produce and meats - everything you want in a grocery store. I stopped here one night for a sandwich and a salad while my co-worker opted for leftovers from the night before. I was more than impressed with the salad bar and my sandwich was pretty good too. This grocery store was better than some of the restaurants! If you're in need of a quick, late night sandwich while in Brevard, look no further than here.

Stars: 2 out of 5

Sagebrush Steakhouse
It's a chain. It wasn't good. Don't go here unless you want a sodium-induced coma the next morning. This place makes Applebee's look like the Ritz. My meal was likely prepared by a high school student. I had the prime rib with smashed new potatoes and a salad. The prime rib was mealy and had a weird beefy shellac on the outside crust. The potatoes were OK but the salad had an inedible mildewy mustiness that only pre-bagged, far out of date lettuce can have. I would have sent it back at any other restaurant (and I usually don't send things back unless something is really wrong) but I know it would have done no good.

Stars: 0 out of 5