stuhelmthefoodcritic_logo_2014_72DPIBy Stu Helm

Hello Asheville!

Some fuckin’ weather we’ve been having lately, ay? Holy shit sticks, it’s been, like, fucking gorgeous every day for a week! I love it. Yay, Asheville! You’re so awesome.

Oh, and uh, yay, Weaverville too. We love ya, “The Weave.” You’re pretty cool too… For a wee little speck of a town.

Back when I shouted-out to the world that I needed some good recommendations for Italian food, someone piped-up and said that the Glass Onion out in Weavertown was the shit, so I finally went to check it out. Dawn took me there for my birthday dinner, in fact.

Whoop whoop! Party over here, party over there!

I got all dressed up in a shirt with buttons, and even combed my hair with water. I had high-motherfuckin’-hopes for some fancy-ass Italian grub in a swank Euro-style setting… high hopes indeed… that were soon to be dashed on the rocks of reality…

GLASS ONION – Weaverville

Okay, first of all, I was dubious of any Italian place named after a Beatles song, but I put that aside and focused on the smaller words underneath: “Global Italian.”

I wasn’t sure what the fuck that actually meant, but I was pretty much thinking that I was gonna get some really effing good Italian food. I lerv Iterliern ferd, and I was really lerking ferwerd to sinking my teeth into some high-ended goodnesses! This place had been further endorsed to us by our good friend Mary, who is an Italian person, and a great cook herself. Perhaps things have changed at the GO since Mary was there.

I’m going to start my review by saying that my lasagna was fine. It was good. I’d even go so far as to say it was very good, although saying it was great would be going too far. I would eat this lasagna again… and that is the last positive thing you’re going to read in this entire review.

Buckle your muhfucking seat belts.

Yes, I would eat that lasagna again, just never at the Glass Onion. Never ever again at the Glass Onion. It was a shit-show from the eclectic mix of bad art on the walls and Martha Stewart pillows, to the completely out-of-place music playing, to the food itself which (forgetting about my lasagna for now) wavered somewhere between completely awful and entirely inedible.

Here come the bullet points. I know they’re gonna sting. Sorry.

• The Specials – They were not printed out on a piece of paper, and they were fucking numerous, so before anything else happened, the poor waitress was forced to recite a litany of dishes and ingredients that was both overwhelming and forgettable, in that we immediately forgot everything the she said, and focused on the menu the second she left the table. Please for the love of God, and Jesus, and all things holy, print your fucking specials out on some paper, or at the very least write them on a chalkboard or some such. Do not make the wait staff and patrons play a memory game with your fucking list of umpty-dump hundred ingreeds and techniques. Boring. Useless. Frustrating. Dumb.

• 9 Desserts – After her Specials monologue, the waitress took a deep breath and said, “We have nine desserts today, would you like to hear them?” NO!!! Please, no! No, thank you. Who the fuck has nine desserts that aren’t written down somewhere. Too many desserts, not enough printed materials… well, actually, just too many desserts, period. This might sound weird, but when I pay more money, I want fewer choices. Three to five desserts on a menu is more like it, and tells me that the venue gives a shit about this limited selection of confections, and they were prepared fresh, that day or perhaps even that moment. If a restaurant has the balls to offer one or two desserts… yeah, you pretty much know they’re gonna to be the titty-ass bomb deluxe of all time. Nine desserts? Fuck nine desserts. Take that shit to Howard Johnson’s.

• The Bread – It was complimentary. Yay! It was completely inedible. Booo. This bread… Holy shit, this bread… I’m at a loss for words. No I’m not. It was so frickin’ bad, it gets its own sub-section of bullet points.

– It seemed like it was a cheap knock-off of Pilsbury frozen dinner rolls, as in: It was not even as good as Pilsbury frozen dinner rolls. We longed for Pop ‘n’ Freshness.

– These rolls were rock hard. One particular roll was so ossified that I could not get my fork in it at all. All reasonable attempts to breach it’s outer hull were unsuccessful.

-The rock-hard rolls were covered in, and swimming in, some kind of yellowish oil. Olive oil would be what one might expect at an Italian restaurant, but this jaundiced grease was a flavorless mystery-agent to us. It could have been anything and tasted like nothing, all at the same time.

– There was a shit-ton of raw, chopped garlic all over the rolls and in the puddle of yellowy grease. Are you fucking kidding me? No rational human being would want to eat that much raw garlic, especially at a fancy restaurant, where one might perhaps be on a date, and maybe, oh I don’t know, want to kiss another human being later that night… or week. No. Bad. Nix it on the raw fucking garlic, Asheville. Blah. I have a bad taste in my mouth just writing about it.

– There was garlic “skin” or “paper” on the plate. Y’know what I mean? That papery stuff that surrounds each clove of garlic? There was a bunch of it on the plate, in the mystery puddle, and on the rock-hard rolls. That’s like putting garbage on my plate, because that’s exactly what garlic paper is: Garbage. It belongs in the fucking garbage can, not on my fucking plate. Holy… (insert heavy sigh here) As one reader aptly noted when I posted the pictures on my Facebook page, “Attention to detail is lacking.” Understatement City, USA. I was blown away by what a colossal fail this bread was, when the beet salad arrived.

• Beet Salad – Style counts. Y’know? Take some fucking time to make shit look nice. This beet salad consisted of a bunch of beets ‘n’ such, all cubed-up to the same size, then mixed-up with some goat cheese, so that the over-all appearance was a garish, day-glo, hot pink pile o’ stuff that looked like it belonged at a church picnic, not in a “Global Italian” restaurant. It came with a very small, dry, pile of arugula, that looked like shit, and had several wilted, rotting pieces in the mix. There may have been as few as 12 pieces of arugula on my plate, and 3 or 4 of them had gone bad. NG.

• Basil – Two of our dishes came with a largish clipping of a fresh basil plant clumsily plopped on top, stems and all, and also with rotten spots. Black, rotten basil heads, and the basically inedible stems should never make it on to any plate or into any dining room. I mean, WTF?!?

• Gnocchi – This looked like it belonged on the cover of a cook-book published in 1972 by Hunts canned tomato company. It was ugly, sloppy, and over cooked. And by overcooked, I mean destroyed. Dead. Murdered. The gnocchi should have been zipped-up in several tiny black plastic body bags because the chef had cruelly and senselessly serial murdered each and every cute little dumpling in that dish by boiling the fuck out of them until they were reduced to near-mush. Dawn’s bowl of gnocchi was like John Wayne Gacey’s crawl-space, Man. Fucking gruesome.

• Dessert – No! We did not want to hear about the nine hundred dessert options, plus we had already decided to grab dessert at Well Bread Bakery right down the street. That place never fails us, and it surely didn’t that night either.

Glass Onion did fail us though, and not just in the food department. It failed in the ambiance department as well. I mentioned that the music and decor were off, and not to be nit-picky, but that irked the shit out of us, so I’m gonna rant a bit. (Who, me?)

Y’know, I like Motown as much as anyone, but I’m so frickin’ sick of the hits, and WTF does the music of Detroit, Michigan in the 1960’s have to do with “global Italian” anything anyways? Nothing. Zero. Niente. In this day and age, the music we heard at Glass Onion is better suited as the soundtrack to an elevator ride or a road trip with your parents, not dinner at a modern Italian restaurant.

I know, I suck, but I’m just old enough to be painfully fucking tired of the same old oldies, ancient classic rock anthems, and the big “hit” songs in every genre, and I’m totally old enough to super-fucking-cranky-pants about it. At least play some fucking B sides for fuck’s sake. Who’s with me? No one? Great.

Still, I stand by my belief that atmosphere counts, and it should match your “theme” if you have one. Especially if you’re charging more than the average “Eats” joint, and billing yourself as something special.

If I’m just going to Jack’s Scrappy Shack to eat a plate of crackie-snack, then I kinda don’t give a shit about decor, but at a place that bills itself as “Global Italian,” and has a price tag to match the pomposity of the title, I don’t want to see bullshit, eclectic, rindom-random brick-a-brack on the walls, and pillows from Target. Y’know what I mean? Italian that place up a little bit. Make it muhfuckin’ molto globale! Out the aaaaass.

Okay, whatever. Super rant. I didn’t even list everything that was wrong about this experience. Booo. Glass Onion: No stars.

Enough hate, now for some amore…

HAMBURGER DAY – North, South, East and West Asheville

Here’s two things I love in this world for sure:

• Hamburgers

• Kelly Densen

Kelly Denson is the awesome lady who organized the Asheville Wing Wars last March, and she is now the organizer behind the WNC Battle of The Burger this Sunday, August 9th, at The Renaissance Hotel.

At last count, there were 10 restaurants signed-up to participate in the battle, and up to 300 “You Be the Judge” pass-holders who will vote on the best burger in WNC.

I am one of the proud 300 who will stand for Sparta on Sunday, and last week Kelly took me around to the four corners of Asheville to pre-samp some burgers, as a shameless and delicious promotional stunt. She knows I am nothing if not a complete food-scene slut who will stuff his face with ground-up animals in order to satisfy his bottomless pit of an ego… er… um, I mean, in order to raise money for Eblen Charities. Yeah, Man, it’s all for Eblen Charities. Good people. Eblen. Whoo hoo!

There were six of us along for this burger junket, including two children, so there was lots of grabbing, hogging, whining, and generally bad behavior… by me…

“GIM! BURGER! MINE!!! Nom nom! GRRRR!”

The kids were great. Very nice children. Troopers, in fact, as this was no ordinary day. It took us five hours to drive between South, East, West, and North Asheville, where we consumed a total of eight giant hamburgers, as well as homemade potato chips, regular and “animal style” french fries, several soda pops, coffee, and a very poorly timed frozen custard on my part.

It was an ordeal. A sumptuous, agonizing, awesome, brutal, fantastic ordeal.

Here’s where we went and what we ate, in the order it all went down.

• CREEKSIDE TAPHO– — USE – East Asheville

– Fried Green Tomato Burger – This was a frickin’ MESS to eat, but so worth it. The fried green tomatoes were just right and the sauce that they put on top was really good. Four stars. Five napkins.

– Patty’s Oh Geezz Burger – This was your basic bacon cheddar cheese burger, and it was likewise very good. We were off to a great start! Thanks, Creekside!

• FARM TO FENDER – South Asheville – Cintom’s parking lot

– Chipotle Cheese Burger – This was stupendous! Everything on this burger was very well made, with very good ingredients.

– Brisket Burger – Holy shit. I’m not even a huge fan of brisket, but this thing was insanely good and intensely umami-y. My mouth is literally watering as I type these words. It was a very well made burger, with chopped-up brisket right on it. Good God!

– These guys also gave us some of their home made chips, which might be the best I’ve ever had. Thanks, F2F, UR awsum!

• CINTOM’S FROZEN CUSTARD – This is where I got my custard. It was great. I am an idiot.

• BUFFALO NICKEL – West Asheville

– Standard Burger w/ House Made Cheddar Cheeze Whiz – Okay, this burger was in-fucking-credible. It had a wonderful char on it, and the cheeze whizz was a genius bit of molecular gastronomy meets trailer park fixin’s. The chef called it “Cheese in a gun.” We had two of these burgers. I wanted to die.

– Buff Nick also gave us coffee (I love you, Lynn!) and animal fries. The coffee was excellent, and the animal fries were unreal in their decadent deliciousness. They are modeled after the In and Out Burger’s animal fries, with cheese, caramelized onion, and a thousand island-esque sauce on top.

Buff Nick hooked us up, and nearly killed us. Thanks, Guys!

• AMBROZIA – North Asheville

This was our final stop, and I think everyone was ready to explode before we even got there. I was definitely feeling really full… of cows and stuff.

I’d never been to Ambrozia, and I thought it was really nice inside, so I’ll have to go back for dinner when I’m not about to have a heart attack.

– They brought us two of their specialty burgers, with bacon jam and onion rings on top. Holy fucking shit. I’ll admit that I had a hard time packing this one into my esophagus, but not because it wasn’t delicious, only because, yeah, I was more than ready to lie down and die at this point. Keep in mind that I am a very small person.

Thanks, Ambrozia, sorry we didn’t finish our food.

By now the children were getting bored, and the Food Critic was getting cranky, so we busted a move out the door, to our vehicles. We hugged goodbye, though not too hard, lest something be squeezed back out, and went our separate ways.

We shared an experience that day. We were comrades in arms… or forks… or whatever. We bonded over burgers. Big time.

For me and Kelly, it ain’t over, and for you, it ain’t even begun! We hope to see you Sunday at the Renaissance, where 300 of us can build our burger bond, and vote for the best burger in all of A-Town!

The WNC Battle of the Burger is an official qualifying round, BTW, for a huge national burger competition in Las Vegas, so…

Go Asheville! Go Asheville! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go Asheville! Go Asheville! Go! Go! Go! Go!

Special thanks to my Asheville Flyer for Kids partner Tim Arem, who joined us at the last minute and drove all over Hell, all day long! Talk about a trooper! Go Tim! Go Tim! Go! Go! Go! Go!stu_helm_2013

Stu Helm is an artist and writer 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 restaurant reviews strictly to amuse his friends on Facebook in 2013.

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97 Comments

  1. What is all of this crying about Stu’s reviews “hurting” business? I have yet to see one restaurant write in to complain that they have seen any significant drop in business because some unpaid, amateur food blogger (no disrespect, Stu, but every bit of that assessment is true, right?) said some negative things about their service or food.

    FB and Ashvegas are not THAT influential. They are merely entertainment. Your assertions that Stu can make or break a business are as silly as the claims that Rush Limbaugh can win an election.

    Get over yourselves, whiny losers.

    • Here here, agreed. Much like Rush (who will never win an election with hate/fear mongering), at the end of a day, a food review is not the word of god by any means. Same as a book review, movie or album review. Believe it or not, though I hate the style of writing, I do enjoy reading reviews here just to see all the great new restaurants I can’t afford to grace with my presence.

      The good news is that we all now know from Stu’s inadvertent outing of Mtn X that it will indeed stoop to that level by asking reviews to be 100% rose-colored glasses and thus can’t claim journalistic integrity. We should therefore assume the same holds true for anything reviewed there.

      The bad news is this town is chock full of whiners who overuse the word troll and hater to refer to anything that doesn’t kow tow to tourist dollars (aka fear mongering). I have a newfound respect for that Barry guy poster’s oft used comment about “dying alone shivering in the dark’ for chancing a negative review of anything Asheville-y. I’m also now sure I could open an artisan deli that served shit sandwiches with organic belly button lint as a side dish and the other local rags would claim it’s genius for not wanting to offend its supporters. Sad sad.

  2. You gave me an idea for a new bumper sticker: “Asheville Trash Stay Out of Weaverville”.

    I live in Weaverville and although I have not eaten in The Glass Onion because it is “above my pay grade” I am very happy it is there. I always tell visitors about it when I am asked “where can I eat in Weaverville?” We, in Weaverville, support all of our businesses whether we personally like them or not. We want all small, independently operated businesses to be welcome in our community. We want all of our Main St. storefront to be occupied and successful.

    What appalls me is your apparent ignorance about your own biases. You go to a friend’s restaurant where the food is awful but don’t mention the name because he is a friend and you do not want to wreck his business. You go to restaurants where you are an invited guest and they know who you are and get wonderful service and food and give them a great review. Are you so self-centered you do not see the bias?

    Please please stay out of Weaverville. We do not need this type of negative publicity. Do not review our pizza restaurant, do not review our creperie and cafe, our burger/fried food restaurant, our noodle/sushi restaurant, our two Mexican restaurants,our Chinese restaurant, our new upcoming Greek/Italian restaurant, our wine shop, or even our fabulous – the best- Ingles ( and stay away from our Walmart with the best, friendliest employees who do not appear angry or bitter about their jobs). I didn’t mention the Well Bred because you already like it, or the other cafe because he has Ashville credentials so I assume you would love it ( and I am glad he is there).

    You are a self-centered person. Stay in Ashville where you are undoubtedly appreciated.

  3. Stu’s comments should not be in the comment count. It just inflates his oversized ego.

  4. One person’s review should not make or break your restaurant/dining out choices.
    Stu, while he may think he is, is not a connoisseur of cuisine.
    He got numerous terrible comments on one post for his lack of writing skills and colorful, yet juvenile use words to describe eating and now people flock here to see what schlock he has posted this week.
    Go eat, enjoy and ignore this crap.

  5. Glass Onion is hit or miss. You have to go when it’s empty, in the middle of the day during the week. They are understaffed. We have had some of the best meals around here and some of the just okay, but we learned never ever go there on a weekend, ever

  6. Was the boar bolognese on the menu? That’s my jam!

  7. People are finally starting to see Stu for what he is. The GO should have ponied up some free stuff. Seems the restaurants that do, get props. A few weeks ago he mentioned a place that he was invited in for a free meal by the owner. He didn’t like the joint, but refused to mention the name for fear of hurting the business. That didn’t stop him in the Lex 18 “review”, nor this hit piece on the GO.

    • Oh, Harry, you’re such a…

      Do you seriously think that I dole out good or bad reviews based on whether or not I get free food? You are so frickin’ clueless, it’s sad, and completely one hundred percent clueless.

      If you’re going to be a douche on a public forum, you should at least get you facts right:

      “A few weeks ago he mentioned a place that he was invited in for a free meal by the owner. He didn’t like the joint, but refused to mention the name for fear of hurting the business”

      I paid for that meal. The owner simply asked me to come in and try a specific item, which I did, and then paid for.

      If Glass Onion had given me GOOD food and GOOD service in a GOOD atmosphere, they would have gotten a GOOD review from me.

      They got the review for me that they deserved, and this forum gives them and their fans plenty of opportunity to counter my opinion.

      Harry, you and some of the other trolls are so desperate and determined for me to be a bad guy, but that is simply not the case, and in terms of these food reviews, you should keep in mind that I am 100 percent free to speak the truth about my actual experiences, while food writers at other publications in this town, and all over the country, are instructed not to say negative things about restaurants who are current or potential advertisers with the publications they write for. True story.

      You will never read a negative word in the Mountain Express for example, who specifically asked me to change the piece I wrote for them, because it might insult their “supporters.”

      So, while you really really really want to paint me as some sort of evil person who writes reviews based on whether or not I get a free plate of french fries, you should be thankful that there is ONE place in this whole town where you can read uncensored opinions: Ashvegas.com

      • Oops, I said you are clueless twice, but you are twice as clueless as the other trolls, so I’ll stand by it.

      • So a restaurant owner contacted YOU, and requested that YOU come try one of HIS menu items, and then he asked you to pay for it? Without a receipt, I call BS. So what was the difference? Why didn’t you rip the guy’ place? You said you didn’t want to hurt his business. Why do you want to hurt GO’s business? Consistency might add to your credibility.

      • The Blunder Years says:

        So the simple act of an invitation is the only thing that stood between your bad food experience and a public outing of that experience?

  8. I appreciate the honest review, thanks. (The writing style is pretty funny too.)

  9. This is absolutely hilarious!

    Hilariously absurd. It’s obvious you get your rocks off “telling it like it is” to “amuse your friends” but there seems to be a higher gathering of sorts here. Your voice seems to be a little louder than your own friends. 774 likes on Facebook, the end-all be-all of social media. Your voice is not just being heard by your friends. Have you ever taken into consideration that your harmless banter could really mess with a small business? A small, locally owned business with margins so incredibly small not a napkin can be wasted? I’m getting ahead of myself already. First, let’s face some facts here.

    So you’re a self-appointed ‘food blogger’. Anyone with a portion of a brain knows exactly what that means. You don’t know fucking shit and pretend you do. Unless you are so modest you have forgotten to mention your personal training under Danny Meyers at Gramercy Tavern or perhaps your stint at The French Laundry or maybe even your French education at Le Cordon Bleu– you obviously have no fucking background to rip the Glass Onion or anyone of your other bullied locales.

    I have no qualms about you not enjoying a restaurant, to each their own. Degrading them in your own sense– especially a small, locally run business because it was not EXACTLY what you wanted is bullshit. Dude, we’re all in this together. You don’t like it, that’s fine. Then simply say as much. Slaying a restaurant in your boisterously “amusing” fashion although you know “it’s gonna sting” says a lot more about you as a person- than it does the restaurant.

    You seem to be a graphic designer by trade. Why don’t you stick to what you actually know? Cheesy Graphics?

    Pathetic.

      • It probably took you an hour. To figure out how to spell oh,fuck off. Check out this guys facebook page, He couldn’t review a waffle house. Did you see what he looks like. 🙂 How could he go out in public looking like that. White trash at its finest. I’m hiring a company to check out his past. I’ll post the results. Wait till you see what they find out. Good reading coming. Dirt bags are dirt bags, and hes the best

  10. While I enjoy reading your reviews, I do think that with your heightened popularity that these kind of reviews can be a little dangerous. I went onto yelp, trip advisor, and urbanspoon to check out other reviews, and it seems that your review of Glass Onion is out of line with what the majority of folks think (not that those sites are the best for this sort of thing).

    You mention the garlic bread, which I actually saw a review or two mention being hard, but I also saw many folks that loved the bread. The garlic paper is a misstep, but I saw your picture on facebook, and it didn’t look like a big deal to me. The greens did look wilted on those pictures, but I wouldn’t describe what I saw as being rotten.

    Other than the wilted greens, hard rolls, and overcooked gnocchi, was the beet salad tasty? Was the sauce and other parts of the gnocchi dish good? You are calling yourself a food critic, but you really are more of a food observer or something to that effect. A food critic would get into more of some of these details and not harp on the negative (unless it was all negative). They would also go more than once to a place before publishing such a negative review.

    And finally, did you give the restaurant an opportunity to correct the mistakes that they made while you were there? I think that you can really judge a place on how much it cares by how it reacts to criticism.

    Just some thought I had. Still like reading your reviews and will continue to do so.

    • I second this question from James: “And finally, did you give the restaurant an opportunity to correct the mistakes that they made while you were there? I think that you can really judge a place on how much it cares by how it reacts to criticism.”

      As a service professional, I HATE it when customers don’t give me and my restaurant an opportunity to correct mistakes, actual or perceived. It’s doubly grating when they remain stoically silent throughout their visit and then purge their ire on the interwebs.

      If you don’t take even the simple step of alerting us to a problem, you’re missing an important component of a well-rounded restaurant review. You can’t fully evaluate the quality of the restaurant without this information, since effective service recovery is an vital piece of the puzzle.

      Shit happens. Let your server and the establishment know when it happens to you, if we haven’t already taken note. Let us know what you don’t like so we can do our utmost to fix it. We want you to be deliriously happy about your meal and your overall dining experience, and we appreciate any and all feedback that helps us make that a reality.

      • *a vital piece…

        Gah. See? Shit happens. Steps can be taken to correct said shit. Protip, kids: never proofread on only one cup of coffee.

  11. I haven’t been to GO since the second time I tried and a) the people (owners) were just outright unfriendly from the get go – we walked in the front door and the first thing out of their mouths, without a smile or greeting, was “do you have a reservation?” and b) the food was mediocre at best. They seemed pretty unhappy the first time I was there, too. Not the experience I’m looking for when I spend that kind of money.

  12. Glass Onion was packed when I walked by last night. Think this review will have an opposite effect. People like that place and they don’t want to see this blog destroy something they enjoy.

  13. Howling.

  14. If you are going to review restaurants, don’t do them all in one day. Ambrozia is an exceptional restaurant and you didn’t give them a fair chance.

    • Stu admits as much in the review, and says he will go back for dinner sometime. I have heard that Ambrozia has a great Sunday brunch, but haven’t had time to try them out yet.

  15. Blue Mountain Pizza says:

    Hey Stu, Everybody is welcomed to there own opinion and we do not want yours. Glass Onion is our neighbor and we are proud to have them in the neighborhood and what they stand for. We are very proud of what we do, what we serve and who we support. We are not here for your entertainment and do not care to here your opinion.
    Thank you

    • I really hope this was not posted by someone from Blue Mountain Pizza. The grammatical mistakes are embarrassing and the argument that just because they are a fellow Weaverville business that they are beyond criticism and does nothing to address Stu’s observations.

      • The REAL Matt says:

        None of these comments are coming from Blue Mountain Pizza. We don’t comment on reviews concerning our business and would never interfere with the reviews of other resturants. Who ever is posting this non-sense get a life.

      • I am sure you never misspelled or badly punctuated something in your life, whats it like being a “perfect” douche?

        • “Jupiter” isn’t representing a business here, genius. He’s right in taking this posting to task…unprofessional at best.

          • Taking them to task by focusing on grammer? Maybe you missed the content and what an awesome message it was of standing up for their friends. What because they represent a self owned business they don’t deserve some basic common human decency?

            Stu Helm pay attention to the tone you bring into this world. If you want to play journalist or food critic don’t hide behind the vail of being an amateur. You have plenty of readership so own it and ask yourself is this what you want to create?

          • Truly, we all ought to spend more time focusing on grammer.

          • Here is a better explanation of the use of grammar and language by an actual genius.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7E-aoXLZGY

          • Just so you all know it is spelled

            Grammar

            Not Grammer

          • And… that was the joke. Thanks for playing.

          • I think that is a fantastic idea. If everyone here would devote the time they spend pissing and moaning about this tripe that passes as “Food Blogging” (funny…it’s just like so many model or designer wannabes turn to “Fashion Blogging”, which typically is equally inane), then perhaps we could all focus our attention for a bit on Kelsey Grammer.

          • You’re so cool, David. Perhaps one day I can be as witty as you. Alas, not today.

            “Jupiter” is a “douche” (your word) for calling out the post (now established as yet another Stu troll) as being embarrassing, and now I receive a YouTube video to patronize my statement.

            Only one douche here, pal, and it ain’t us.

    • Oh snap. Time to disguise yourself, Stu!
      🙂

      • Keep writing the reviews Stu! If a restaraunt drops the ball, that’s on them. It’s a matter of free market- a restaraunt stays in business if it is consistently good. An honest review is the reviwer’s experience, and an opportunity for the place to step up their game and get better if it’s a less-than-stellar review. So far, your reviews of Lucky Otter and Heiwa are about what my experience has been, and some of the good reviews have been also.

    • Well, that’s a very… interesting way to put things.

    • “Blue Mountain pizza” you are a fraud for acting like its matt or another employee at bmp!

  16. This is probably my favorite review of yours that I have read. Probably because Ive had similar incredibly awful dining disasters that you cant believe are actually happening to you. And then you find some relief in writing about it, or maybe not. Sometimes reliving/relaying the experience is as bad as the food was….

  17. Funny stuff Stu. I like this a lot better than the puff pieces from “foodie” writers.

  18. Glass Onion = good meal!

    They use local, seasonal ingredients and meats, are privately owned by local entrepreneurs/chefs, get super creative with their menu, and are very friendly.

    A bit more pricey/fancy than other places, but more or less worth it, IMO. I eat there with some regularity with family, and we all like it a lot. (And we can be picky). So I was surprised to see them raked over the coals. But I also see that some of what Stu pointed out is true, just not as big a deal to the rest of the world. (I always eat the inside of the rolls and leave the strangely tough outer crust like a big eggshell. That crust will cut your gums if you try to eat it!)

    I encourage folks to dine at GO, for sure. No disclosure to make, I just enjoy and respect the place. I have a soft spot for creative, seasonally changing menus, and people who source local healthy ingredients.

    Keep writing, Stu.

  19. You’re welcome.

  20. Food Bloggers Are Ruining the Restaurant Business?

    A bad review from a blogger who had a bad meal has the same power on the internet as a good review from a respected newspaper food critic.

  21. I like it that people are coming to the defense of Glass Onion! Please keep posting your positive experiences here for others to read.

    I’ve said before that I’m not interested in putting anyone out of business, just in giving an entertaining and truthful accounting about my actual experiences in the real world of eating out. I know I go for the jugular in order to get a laugh sometimes, so I appreciate the more down-to-earth responses that the fans of Glass Onion have given here.

    I hope that the readers in general will consider everyone’s opinion here, and not just mine. I am, after all, a person who dislikes many things that most people like a lot. :0)

    Give Glass Onion a shot, you might really dig it!

    • Your “entertaining” is very hurtful, mean and harmful to businesses. You have obviously never worked in the hospitality business to know how hard it is to make a dollar. How hard it is for businesses to stay open.
      YOU make it that much harder. No thanks to you, restaurants like Chestnuts and Glass Onion have to spend the next month wondering how much damage you have done. Hopefully people see through your nonsense.

    • I’ve known the two owner/chefs for many years,enjoyed their food at prior fine dining restaurants and know intimately how passionate, committed and conscientious they are regarding quality food.

      So,I too, am saddened at the prospect that anyone might be swayed unfairly by the initial rant of this food critic. It is so out of line with my delightful experiences at the Glass Onion and those of so many others, that I can only hope that it is not taken seriously by readers.

      And from reading the above follow up post whereby the critic writes; “I’m glad people are coming to the defense of Glass Onion” “I sometimes go for the jugular to get a laugh”, “Give Glass Onion a shot” … it sounds as if the critic has reflected on what he’d like to achieve with this review and that he aims for a more complete (and perhaps fair) accounting of the Glass Onion to be part of the digital record.

      Beyond hoping his online readers will indeed take the time to read these “defending” comments and therefore clear his conscience, I wonder what, if anything, he’ll do with his lingering sense of remorse.

    • I thought you sucked until I read this reply.

  22. The Glass Onion review is unfortunate. I’ve had a number of great meals there. Maybe it was just an off night(?). I encourage people to check other reviews online before writing this place off. I have no association with the restaurant, aside from enjoying eating there and hoping they keep enough business so I can continue eating there.

  23. bellstravel says:

    Let me start by saying that I work at a local nonprofit, and we have an annual dining event where participating restaurants donate a portion of proceeds from a meal or meals to support our work. In this area, dozens of restaurants participated, and Glass Onion was one of the most generous participants. I decided to dine with them while they were participating, bringing along my in-laws (visiting from out-of-state) and my husband. We made reservations about a week ahead of time, and when we arrived, we were given what I think is the best seat in the house…right by the big, picture window. We were greeted promptly, had wine and bread quickly, and the only trouble of the entire evening was deciding what to order. Our table had a good mix of steak, seafood, pasta and vegetarian items, and everything was delicious. The dessert items – cheesecake and tiramisu – were to die for. The dining experience was pleasant: the restaurant was not overly crowded and they spread the guests out nicely, our server was attentive but not bothersome, and overall, it was simply a lovely place to spend a few hours. It was a perfect date night and certainly impressed our guests. We cannot wait to go back!

  24. Stu Helm: You are my new hero. Thank you for making me look like a freak at work while I read several of your posts and laughed until I peed – for reals (I’ve had 3 kids :/ Thanks for being Awesome.

  25. Hey Stu,

    First, I love your down to earth, non hoighty-toighty food reviews.

    I’ve eaten at Glass Onion twice in the last few months. Both times it’s been good. Not perfect, but good. I agree with you about the lengthy specials and desserts. I prefer to read them and be able to refer back rather than memorize a speech. The service however has always been VERY friendly and attentive. I have always felt if something wasn’t right they would do their best to fix it and do it with a smile.

    I agree with you that GO can work on improving some of the details. As far as the décor, it doesn’t bother me. This is Weaverville, not Asheville, remember. The dinner rolls were not rock hard like you described, but I agree are a little weird and aren’t my favorite. However, this is one of the best restaurants Weaverville has right now, and I hope your review won’t scare people away from trying it. My experiences there have been nice.

  26. Wow, you had a tough time with Glass Onion!

    I have to say I had a lovely meal there and was in love with the house made bread in olive oil (yellow puddle?)

    I was not in love with the ambiance but the food was top notch.

    Just my two cents.

  27. But more importantly, what did you get for dessert at well bred?? Their Mountain Eclair is what dreams are made of……

  28. Stoob,
    Best Italian in town is Cucina 24 on Wall St. You’re gonna pay for it,
    But you won’t be disappointed.

    Jake

    • Still need to try it! I’m way behind on that one. Thanks, Jake.

    • Second that motion says:

      I agree with Jake. Cucina 24 is far and away the best Italian in all of WNC. And the service was impeccable, something not often found in our fair city. Pricey? yup. Tasty? yup.

      PS-this was one of my favorite lines you’ve written in any review.
      “this jaundiced grease was a flavorless mystery-agent to us.”

    • Vinny’s on Merrimon. Also tasty and pricey. But worth it.

  29. I was surprised by the review. I’ve been to Glass Onion a couple of times for brunch and it was awesome.

    I don’t work there or know anybody involved.

    But I eat out a lot, and I could tell there was craftsmanship and real skill going on (even though it was just omelettes and french toast, etc I could definitely tell).

    So maybe they just had a bad night? No idea.

    But definitely surprised. And sorry for them, cause they really are good. I bet you get more than the usual comments like mine.

    -Bill

    • Thank you for your comment, Bill, I appreciate it. When I write a bad review of a restaurant, it’s important for people like you to defend the venue in a meaningful and intelligent way. I wonder if their brunch is prepared by a different chef and kitchen staff?

  30. See you at the Burger Battle!!!!!

  31. Well, I was the guy who recommended you go to Blue Mountain Pizza, which is a block away from Glass Onion. Now you’re never going to venture back to Weaverville!

    • I still love Weaverville, Doug! Well Bread is one of the best bakeries I’ve been to anywhere, and I do wanna try Blue Mountain Pizza. I’ll be back for sure.

    • I haven’t been to Glass Onion (and probably won’t bother now!) but I second Blue Mountain Pizza. I’ve only been once and it was very good. Mind you, I prefer thin-crust NY/Philly style pizza, so if you’re wanting deep-dish Chicago pizza, you might not like it so much.

      The service was a tad slow but they were really busy (the service seemed even slower than it actually was because I was on a Boring Date, sheeeesh).

    • Bobby2Balls says:

      Being a coffee whore like yourself Stu, I hate to tell you but you missed out on the best cup around. Allgood Coffee in Weaverville is awesome – Eric is a freaking scientist when it comes to the beans.

  32. Tell it like it is Stu- know you will!

  33. This is why I love you Stu! I have never been to the glass onion and I have nothing against their fine establishment. That being said, I appreciate the fact that with your current food critic reputation you are willing to write about a bad experience. I was scared for a little while with all of the postitive reviews, but after this I realized that you just hit a string of good restaurants for a while. I hope the good people at the glass onion read this and decide to use it as a learning experience and step it up.

    Kudos to Jason as well for not being a greedy ad whore and only publishing good reviews!

    • Yes, three cheers for Jason, Taco Lover!

      I was asked to write about food for a local newspaper recently, and even offered a small amount of money for it, but they also instructed me not to say anything negative about their “supporters,” so I had to tell them no thanks.

      Jason has never asked me to change one word of one column I’ve ever written for him!

      I hope people realize what a gem he is for the media scene here in Asheville. That ain’t no joke.

    • No one needs to ‘step it up’ just because Stu didn’t enjoy his meal there. The guy writes fun, funny reviews about his experiences and quirky preferences, and also has created a stage to call out silly shit in the restaurant industry. That’s why he’s cool.

      But for the love of god he’s not an accurate gauge of worthy or non worthy restaurants.

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