mcstyles_2014Steven Doherty, an Asheville food writer who unflinchingly reviewed local restaurants on his personal website, as well as for the Asheville Citizen-Times, under the pen name “Drexler McStyles,” died Jan. 4, according to an Asheville Police Department investigation report. He was 40.

Doherty, who worked at the ABC store on Louisiana Avenue in West Asheville, was a writer and photographer. Doherty had experience in the food service industry, although the extent of his training is unclear to me. He began reviewing Asheville restaurants over the past couple of years, and reviewing restaurants under the “Drexler McStyles” pseudonym for the Asheville Scene weekly entertainment section of the Citizen-Times.

Doherty’s website reviews pulled no punches. You can read the reviews he posted on his website here, including reviews of Zambra, King Daddy’s Chicken and Waffles, Laurey’s, Tiger Bay and more.

Doherty also reviewed restaurants for the Asheville Scene. His review of Eddie’s Dog House was published by the newspaper on Dec. 19. A sample:

Obviously, we’re dealing with a very mixed bag here. The ‘Dog House’ end of things gets a confident thumbs up. I would absolutely swing by for another round of those chili cheese fries and a burger. But as far as their ‘cue goes; I am at a complete loss as to what the story with the chopped pork was. It was the oddest rendition of the stuff that I have ever seen; not a single outer charred end, no flavor, no color, no nothin’. Obviously they’re slinging someone else’s super bright tasting sauce for a reason, and that’s a shame.

Here’s more about Doherty’s philosophy on food reviewing from his LinkedIn page:

As a rule, I try to avoid places that serve pre-assembled or par-cooked foods that come from a frozen bag or box. I prefer stuff that is made from scratch with fresh ingredients. So obviously (with the rare exception) I don’t eat fast food or at chains. I’m looking for an experience thats a little more unique than what those places can offer and also, I feel avoiding these type of foods will give me a chance for a longer, healthier life. At least thats what I hear. Anyhow, I have no problem shelling out 60, 70 bucks for a nice meal once in awhile, but Im just as at home grubbing down on a $5 plate from a hole in the wall. And I think these things all come across in my reviews.

Food trends and fads: I find them, and the people that perpetuate and demand restaurants to cater to such things, completely obnoxious. And you surely wont find me dining in places that pride themselves in showcasing those type of menus. I’ll leave it at that. As far as favorites go; Indian, Thai, Mexican and Southern cuisine are probably what I covet the most when I’m on the prowl. So if you ever hear of a place that offers some kind of burrito filled with fried chicken in a fiery red curry, smothered with green chile and cheese, please; LET ME KNOW.

And here’s a sample of Doherty’s personal writing, posted Dec. 26 on drexlermcstyles.com:

A Certain Silence

the sun is slow in coming

but there are hints

in the frost

in the dissolution

of the shadows

that another day

is emerging

from the dregs of the last

 

only a push of breath

from the furnace

eases the silence;

the emptiness

of our home

 

and even that

doesn’t linger

for very long

 

in its absence

I find myself

inventorying

this tomb of nostalgia;

the history

of our life

together

 

my meditations

overtake me

they allow

no retreat

and I have

no rebuttal

 

light begins to trickle in

by the inch

by the minute

but that

has no effect

on this

 

i am worthy

only of the dead air

that populates this

ruin

I have carved out for myself

 

through callousness

and inadequacy

through stupidity

and arrogance

through neglect

of the thing I cherish

above all else

 

you

 

5 Comments

  1. Hope the food is good and plentiful and lacks pretension wherever you rest

  2. Clare Meister says:

    Great writer, poet, photographer, world traveler and food critic. Steve lived a large life in his short time here and will be sorely missed.

  3. I am sorry he is gone. He just helped his cousin, Jess, to plan a trip to Guat
    emala. She will toast him when she gets to a beautiful spot there she says. I will miss my nephew, gone way too young

  4. Truly sorry to hear this, condolences to the family and personal friends of Steven. He was a part of what makes Asheville, Asheville. Over the past 6 months I’ve enjoyed his posts, reviews, blogging and photography. I will miss his contributions to our local color. Farewell.

  5. Sorry to hear it. 40 is too young to go. Best wishes to his family.

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