How the fuck have you been? Oh wait, I’m sorry… the swearing. Some folks really hate the swearing. I’d say that about 2% of the people who read my writing are offended or upset by my frequent use of curse words. One of those good people left a comment on my Facebook page recently that simply asked,“Why the bad language?” Great question! Here’s the answer I gave…
“Two reasons: For comedy effect, and realism. Occasionally a person such as yourself is offended, and for that I apologize, but the majority of my readers, and the public at large use “bad” language every day and are not in the least bit offended, but to the contrary, they find it amusing and relate-able. I write for an adult audience, so I choose to use adult language. I do it in an exaggerated way purely for the LULZ. I’m no different than any comedic writer who chooses to do use swears, whether they are writing a movie script, or a stand-up routine, curse words are often included for the same reasons that I include them in my food writing. I leave it up to the readers to decide if they care to read more, or not. I hope I’ve answered your question, thank you for asking!“
The commentor didn’t reply to my answer, so I hope that it was satisfactory to them, and that it will be likewise satisfactory here on Ashvegas to all the other folks who have been particularly pained or irked by the curse words in my writing. I don’t want to lose readers, but if adult language hurts your eyes and offends your sense of decency, then I would recommend that you look elsewhere for your comedic restaurant reviews… because I ain’t never gonna fuckin’ stop swearing like a motherfucker… that’s just the way that I be.
I went to the soft-opening of the much anticipated Bone & Broth on Charlotte Street and enjoyed the food, atmosphere, and over-all experience very much. I attended with my friend Stephan Pruitt from Dig Local Asheville, as well as a bunch of other people who accepted the invite-only, seated, make-a-reservation style dinner. As far as these soft openings go, this was an awesome one. We got to sit at an actual table, with actual table-service, order our food from a (slightly truncated) menu, and the owner Kim Murray stopped by to chat with us a couple of times, giving us the skinny on the shop, the food, and the philosophy.
So, extra points right away for having a soft opening that wasn’t complete chaos, didn’t have huge lines, or serve the food buffet style, when the restaurant will not be serving food buffet style upon opening. Instead Kim, her staff, and partners made a tremendous effort — successfully so in my opinion — to replicate the actual dining experience that one might have at Bone & Broth in the future. I think that was a really smart way to do a soft-opening.
After some of these things in the past, I’ve been left feeling like, “Well, that was kinda fun, and kind of a nightmare, and I still have no idea what the food and atmosphere of this place is really going to be like when they open their doors.” Not so at Kim’s event. I feel fairly confident after eating there this one time that the food, atmosphere, and service at Bone & Broth will be comparable to what Stephan and I experienced at the soft-opening, and that’s good news, because all three were excellent!
I started with an order of the B&B Mac ‘n’ Cheese, and Stephan got the scallops. We each ate a portion of our starters, then switched plates to that we could taste as much of the menu as possible. The mac ‘n’ cheese had four cheeses and was very cheesy indeed. It smelled like feet — the best possible way! — and tasted savory as fuck, all tangy, and musty, and umami-y, and fuckin’ aye, I love cheese! There were toasty, crunchy, carb crumbles on top that added the perfect amount of variation of texture, and there was fresh spinach throughout, which tasted great, and made this entirely decadent mini-crock-pot of awesome into something remotely nutritious, so yay! Even though it was their very first night of serving food, they nailed it with this dish, and I feel secure in recommending it to mac ‘n’ cheese lovers out there. It has penne pasta instead of macaroni, so if that’s gonna throw you off your game, then… I dunno. Deal with it?
I thought the scallops were great! They were seared just right and served with a sprinkling of fresh corn, plus candied lemon, pea puree, and a roasted red pepper “coulis,” that was rich and flavorful. There were also some sprouts or micro greens on top. Our server Clare (who was awesome!) took care to mention that “everything on the plate is edible.” I’m glad she said that, because it’s one of my pet peeves when there are inedible garnishments on my plate. The candied lemons were the obvious candidate for that, so I ate a couple, and while I did find them to be edible, they were not something that I wanted to eat a whole bunch of, and there were a whole bunch on the plate, maybe six or seven. I think two or three would have been plenty. Other than that very minor detail, the scallop plate tasted great to me, had great texture, and was served at the right temperature, which is tricky with seared scallops. The corn was a nice touch and the pea puree and pepper coulis were very subtle but crucial. Thumbs-up on these scallops, Yo.
If you don’t know what coulis is, don’t feel dumb, I didn’t either, so I looked it up. According to wikipedia it is, “a form of thick sauce made from puréed and strained vegetables or fruits.” Simple as that!
After the appetizers, came the entrees we ordered. Stephan got the pork chop, and said it was the highlight of the meal. I order the bangers and mash, and enjoyed it tremendously! It helped that I was hungry, and that this dish hit the all the nails on the head when it came to good, filling, comfort food that satisfies the taste buds and well as the stomach. I ate and ate and loved every bite and had to force myself to stop when I was super full, and I took the rest home (and ate it for breakfast, like, five minutes ago and it fucking ruled!) and in the end I gave it an enthusiastic thumbs-up. It was good. Really good. Really very fucking good and delicious in this guy’s opinion, thank you, Bone & Broth.
I’m a big fan of bangers and mash and I try them whenever I see them on a menu. Everyone does them differently, but there are some things that I look for across the board. First of all, the consistency of the bangers. They have to have a “ground” texture, almost crumbly, but not dry. These bangers had that texture, and they were excellent in every way. Next, the mashed potatoes: They have to be real of course, not from a box, and they have to be rich, creamy, smooth-but-not-too-smooth, and flavorful, as in: They should taste like potatoes. These mashed potatoes met and surpassed every requirement I had of them, plus they were smoked. Fuck yes.
The Bone & Broth bangers and mash come with baked beans. I’m from Boston. I’ve eaten a fucking TON of baked beans. Some are meh, some are bleh, and some are just okay. These were fucking awesome. These baked beans were the real deal. Slow cooked, sweet-but-not-killin’-me, with bits of some kind of pork product in there. Bacon maybe. Dunno. Didn’t ask. Too busy eating. I fucking loved this dish and I’m craving it right the fuck now as I write this… and like I said, I just ate the leftovers for breakfast not 15 mins ago now! Ha ha! Now that’s a successful dish.
BANGERS AND MASH BREAKDOWN!
I recently had the bangers and mash at the brand new Claddagh restaurant on Patton Ave downtown, and they were pretty awful. The garlic mashed potatoes were whatever, and the bangers were too emulsified — like a hot dog — in texture for me. The gravy tasted like something from a can — I kid you not — and the “sauteed onions” were basically just mostly raw onions. I hate raw onions. Oh, yeah, and on top of the mostly raw onions, were totally raw green onions. Bangers and Mash fail.
The bangers and mash at The Barleycorn on the other hand fucking rüle! I worked for them for a few months — shooting some videos and doing social media — and I fell in love with the bangers and mash there. You can watch a series of videos on YouTube by clicking HERE that show the chef making them, and explaining what they are. Below is a picture of them that I took and posted to the Barleycorn Instagram page. Holy. Fuck. Them’s good bangers and mash.
So, I’m on the hunt for the best bangers and mash in Asheville. Let me know if you know of anyplace that’s bangin’ ’em out in a particularly awesome way.
Anyhoo! Back to Bone and Broth… their bangers and mash were great. I say throw an egg on top, a piece of brown bread on the side, a sauteed mushroom or two, and offer for it up for brunch, Yo! I’ll fucking be there.
Stephan and I were too stuffed for dessert, but I’ll go back and hit it up soon, and let you know what I think. For now, I’ll just say that for me, this soft-opening was perfect, and if Kim, Chef Jay Medford, and the rest of the staff at Bone & Broth can pull that same level of food and service off every night, they’re gonna crush it.
CONCLUSION: Oh hell yes. North Asheville has its neighborhood English pub-style restaurant back, and I think they will embrace it wholeheartedly. The food is tasty, filling, and ranges in price from affordable to high-ticket. The decor is tasteful and comfortable, somewhere between rustic and refined. The atmosphere is mellow and welcoming. There’s a full bar, and Stephan said his Old Fashioned cocktail was great. The doors open next week.
Bone & Broth
94 Charlotte St, Asheville, NC
Stu Helm is an artist, writer, and podcaster living in Asheville, NC, and a frequent diner at local restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and the like. His tastes run from hot dogs and mac ‘n’ cheese, to haute cuisine, and his opinions are based on a lifetime of eating out. He began writing about food strictly to amuse his friends on Facebook.