From GQ contributor Alan Richman in a thoughtful opening paragraph:
It took nearly forever for American restaurants to understand what American customers want, but now they have it right. We yearn for restaurants that are like us: casual, kindhearted, original, and a little too loud. The food doesn’t have to be American, the setting doesn’t have to be stylish, and the waiters can put on whatever they want, even the T-shirt they wore the night before. All we ask is that the chef exhibit a little inspiration and the owner understand that customers can’t have a good time without great service. These days, American spirit has triumphed over European tradition. The twelve restaurants redefining fine dining are aware of what we want in a perfect night out.
The search for the perfect night out led Richman to Asheville, where he lists downtown’s Curate as one of his picks.
Cúrate is a prototype of how genuine tapas—the kind from Spain—might flourish throughout America. It’s that accessible, and it’s so appealing that the restaurant is packed day and night. Nothing here seems odd or incomprehensible, including the bocata de calamares, which is a fried-squid sandwich. The squid rings are engaging, soft inside and crunchy outside. The olive-oil mayonnaise is light, delicate, barely there, much like the cape of a matador brushing the nose of a bull. Want fries with that? The patatas bravas are topped with squiggles of a tomato-based Spanish sauce that challenges ketchup as the ideal match for fried spuds.
A DRINK AND DISH NOT TO MISS
2010 Do Ferreiro Cepas Vellas Albariño Rías Baixas, one of Spain’s most profound whites
+ jamón ibérico de bellota, the world’s most prized ham
Congrats to the crew at Curate!