Having a co-owner who graduated first in his class at the Culinary Institute of America, worked at the famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, and has been the executive chef at places as prestigious as the United Nations in New York, it has every right to put on airs as some restaurants of even lesser credentials do. Yet Corner Kitchen Asheville emanates warmth and aromatic charm the instant you walk up the porch and through its threshold.
The Location and Ambiance
Located in Asheville, North Carolina, inside a cozy and quaint 19th century Tudor home in Biltmore Village, the Corner Kitchen provided great comfort for my two companions and I on the chilly fall evening we visited. It is a great place to end a day of exploring the Biltmore Estate and shopping, or take a break from all of the touring. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on weekdays and brunch and dinner on the weekend.
As we walked in the front door, we were greeted by a cheerful waitress with a slight Southern lilt, mood-setting French music playing in the background, and a tasty Parmesan crust topped with goat cheese and a grape. Courtesy of Corner Kitchen, I had fried oysters as an appetizer, snapper for dinner, and a chocolate soufflé to share and ordered an alcoholic lemonade cocktail. Although my meal was paid for, my complements to the chef are not. The food was heavenly.
I can’t remember the name of the drink I ordered from the special menu, but vividly can recall how it tasted. It was tart, sweet, and armored strong with ample tequila. I’d definitely order it again, but one round per meal packs enough punch.
The oysters were coated in cornmeal and quick fried to golden perfection. They were served atop a fresh bed of arugula and tomatoes and accented with a mustard balsamic vinegar drizzle. Each bite was flavorful, crisp, and tender. It was almost too good to share.
But I did share, and one of my companions shared her tasty brie appetizer. Almond crusted, the cheese was rich and paired with a sweet and fragrant tarragon orange marmalade and red wine reduction. It spread smooth and thick over the crostini it was served with and tasted amazing.
My pink snapper entrée was savory and filling. The seared fish had a crispy, well-seasoned outside and flaky inside that melted in my mouth. It was served with braised leeks, carrots, fingerling potatoes, and citrus butter. I would have never thought to combine all of these flavors in one dish, but I am ever so glad the creative forces at Corner Kitchen did.
One of my companions ordered the blackberry ketchup glazed pork chop with fried green tomatoes and sweet potato wedges, and the other ate the sweet mustard glazed three-meat meatloaf with collard greens, cheddar grits, and three sauces. Both said their meals were wonderful and did not leave any morsels behind to share with me. Yet, we all shared the soufflé. It made for light, airy forkfuls of semisweet chocolate delight.
Corner Kitchen is an unassuming Asheville treasure. It’s ambiance and menu selections invite Southern comfort and warmth, yet the flavor pairing present enough sophistication to once have attracted President Obama and the First Lady as diners. I hope to visit again and again when visiting Asheville.
Ever since she could hold a pencil in her hand and form letters, Nealy Gihan has loved writing. This Midwest Jersey girl is a former newspaper reporter and copyeditor who now works as a marketing, editing, and communications specialist for her business Purple Inked and as a fiction writer. Nealy holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Hampton University and a master’s in literary writing from DePaul University. She has published short stories and has written a couple of screenplays, which have been performed in Chicago.