Friday, August 9, 2013

Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder Serving up the South

As the name implies, the restaurant and cuisine is steeped in Southern tradition but with a contemporary twist – call it inspirational Southern.  Yes, I just coined the term – haha!  The d├ęcor is rustic Southern with lots of wood and a little neon.  Add to that paintings of food, canned food, a pig or two along with a large mural of a tattooed woman and her ham on the inside of a garage door that leads to a small outdoor patio.  Showcased above the bar are a variety of pickled canned foods – mostly veggies but they couldn’t leave out the pickled pigs feet!

The menu changes each week (on Thursday) to give a constant rotation of Southern foods offered with very original presentations.  Using an abundance of local and regional farms conveys the farm to table aspect that Asheville is so well known and is a mainstay at Seven Sows.  This goes a long way toward making you feel very confident in the freshness and organic goodness of the ingredients.  But once you step past the look and feel of the food and bite into it – you know that the culinary team is brilliant at expressing the Southern style of each dish in a distinctive and innovative manner.

Seven Sows Bar
I have to mention also that Seven Sows offers a very nice selection of Bourbons to bring the restaurant’s name full circle.  The Bourbon is listed with the percentage proof as well as price per 2 ounce pour.  I know Scotch better than Bourbon so asked for a recommendation.  Before the server could respond the guest sitting next to me talked up the Jefferson’s Small Batch ($8.00).  He seemed so happy about it that I had to listen to his advice – and was glad that I did.  Served with large square ice cubes it had a lightly woodsy / vanilla nose – a nice light vanilla cream profile on the palate and was smooth with a hint of spiciness.  I recommend it now as well.

Salt Roasted Heirloom Beet Salad
After asking a few questions about the menu I finally decided on the Salt Roasted Heirloom Beets ($9.00) offered with Cruze Buttermilk, Frisee, Peanuts, Castelvetrano Olives, Crostini, Spuma and Crispy Chevre.  A salad that is a beautiful combination of flavors that are wonderful and fresh on their own and melded together with style.

Boudin Croquettes
Next was an interesting take on Boudin.  Boudin Croquette ($7.00) with three croquettes, one each of ground beef, chicken and pork paired with a Barbeque Beet Salad, Pickled Cipolinni and mustard.  The Boudin Croquettes were delicious with an attractive spiciness from paprika in them.  The Barbeque Beet Salad along with the mustard offered the color for the plate but also helped tame the bit of spice from the paprika.

Pig Tongue Agnolotti
I made myself proud by ordering the Pig Tongue Agnolotti ($9.00).  Whenever I think of any farm animal tongue the first image that pops into my mind is a scene from Sanfod & Son when Redd Foxx was boiling a whole cow tongue for dinner but pulled it out with a fork and used it to lick stamps for his mail.  I laugh every time I think of that scene with that big ole tongue still looking a little alive!  Moving past my preconceived fears of tongue this dish is a tasty confit of Heritage Cheshire Pig Tongue stuffed in homemade ravioli with charred Vidalia Onions, Wild Mushrooms, Looking Glass Swiss and Natural Jus.  If, like me, you’ve never braved tongue before this is a nice way to start.  As a confit it’s a flavorful pork confit that you’ll fall in love with.  The Pig Tongue is an absolutely stunning dish that I would have to order again.

Lily Duke's Jelly Jar Butterscotch Pudding
I would have passed on dessert but they offered so many of my favorites I couldn’t see myself passing up all of them.  I chose the Lily Duke’s Jelly Jar Butterscotch Pudding ($6.00) with Molasses Drizzle, Whipped Cream, Molasses Cookie, Peanut Butter Fudge and fresh Blueberries.  This is not the store bought, deep orange, strong flavored butterscotch pudding but a delicate flavored memory delivered to us out of a recipe from the Chef’s Aunt.  Butterscotch pudding is such a comfort food for me and adding the molasses just reinforced the Southern heritage.

Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder is doing a lot right.  This is another bucket list item for dining in Asheville – add it to your list.

Contact Information
Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder
(828) 255-2592
77 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, North Carolina

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