Where do local Ashevillians go when they’re looking for outstanding new American/southern food in the downtown area? They head to Chestnut, which has been a favorite among the local foodie crowd since opening in 2012. The diverse menu featuring dishes made from quality ingredients and the superlative bar program keep admirers coming back time and time again.
Chestnut, located in downtown Asheville near a variety of different attractions, does so many things well that it’s difficult to know where to start praising them. Do we start with the service that is reliably on-point, complete with friendly and knowledgeable servers who are always happy to help guests new and returning navigate the various options on the menus? It’s definitely a draw here, as you always get a sense that the servers at Chestnut take great pride in the food coming from the kitchen and the experiences they are able to curate for the guests.
Or perhaps we should begin with the wildly popular and delicious brunch menu that is offered every Saturday and Sunday. If you’re like us you probably often wonder if it’s worth it to stand in line for a hip brunch spot only to be served overcooked eggs that you could have made better at home. At many places the brunch experience is more trouble than it’s worth, but that is far from the case at Chestnut.
The kitchen team takes brunch classics and elevates them to an art form. For instance, the deviled eggs with roasted jalapeños and candied bacon will make you realize that all other deviled eggs are now playing catch-up. Or there’s the seasonal veggies and grits, a delicious vegetarian spin on a southern classic that proves you don’t always need to add shrimp in order to reach grits nirvana (although an equally delicious shrimp and grits is also available if you prefer). This favorite is made with the best in local Asheville produce and finished with a perfectly poached egg.
Or, maybe it’s the dinner menu that deserves most of our attention here. Whether you want to split a few small- and medium-sized plates or go for a full entree, there are plenty of delicious options that showcase the creativity and passion of the chef and his team. The dinner menu changes frequently and you really can’t go wrong, but some of the best bets include:
- Seasonal salad—the greens are always impeccable and elevated with a variety of different nuts, fruits, and cheeses
- Fried green tomatoes—This unique take on the southern classic adds rich pimento cheese and sweet and tangy tomato jam
- Grilled petite filet—perfect for when you just want a few bites of beef, this 3-ounce portion is always cooked and seasoned to perfection
- Cassoulet—If you’ve never eaten an authentic version of this French country mainstay with duck confit, tender beans, and sausage, this is definitely one to try
Come to think of it, I’m not sure how we’ve made it this far and haven’t delved into Chestnut’s remarkable bar program yet. The bartenders pride themselves on creating craft cocktails that put unique spins on familiar flavors. Take the martini made with smoked jalapeño infused vodka and a touch of vermouth, or a concoction called the Local Jam that fuses gin, lemon juice, and bitters with some sweetness from their delicious tomato jam. The restaurant’s wine list is worth checking out as well, as they received an award from Wine Spectator in 2017.