Culinary Weekend in Asheville, NC: Tupelo Honey Café
This is definitely one of those posts where I say to proceed with an open mind and form your own opinion. This is solely my opinion, and I am saddened that the below is true. But….it is.
There is this restaurant that I have heard absolutely nothing but brilliant things about in Asheville. In fact, I had been planning our day specifically around making it to Tupelo Honey Café. Due to the busyness of downtown that particular Saturday, there was about an hour wait for a table. This isn’t too bad considering we heard it is always like this at the downtown Tupelo. When our pager went off, we were seated at a little table mushed up beside the wall, under a mirror, extremely close to another table. You really felt like you couldn’t have a private conversation without everyone hearing you. We had two different people come up to our table, and I’m still not quite sure who our server was. There was absolutely no warm and fuzzy interaction with our server(s). However, the table next to us, had amazing service…we could have just had a server with a bad day. Hey, it happens.
We ordered the BBQ Egg Rolls as an appetizer. They were actually quite decent. The flavor was great, and yes, we would order those again. Next came the main courses…ugh. I ordered the Not Your Mama’s Meatloaf, and the hub ordered the BBQ Plate. Now, let’s talk about this. The hub and I live in the heart of BBQ country, and this certainly wasn’t the right decision for people that truly adore BBQ, to order it away from home. The BBQ on the BBQ plate seemed to have been sitting in sauce/water/juices all day. There wasn’t a strong smoke flavor, it was dripping with wetness, and had globs of fatty pieces in it. The corn on the cob that came with it was pretty tasty, and the greens were interesting. On the meatloaf…maybe it’s because it wasn’t my mama’s meatloaf (or the hub’s for that matter) could have been the reason why I didn’t really enjoy it. The sauce on it had a very interesting flavor profile, and the actual meatloaf itself was lacking some kind of flavor, moistness, something…wish I could put my finger on what it was lacking. It was just something kind of off with it. On the bright side, the mac and cheese that accompanied it was delicious, but the other side…let’s talk about that now… I understand that it had a “Chef’s choice seasonal side”. I get that…truly do. It’s not my choice, it’s the Chef’s. But, if I truly don’t want asparagus, and I am paying upwards of $10 to $20 for my plate, I honestly really want to trade out my asparagus side….also, if the server is going to tell me in a rude fashion “NO”, that I cannot trade my side, you’re kinda going to leave an even worse taste in my mouth about the situation.
Summary…all in all, it wasn’t a pleasant experience, or worth the hype. The service received that day was lacking, and you know I expect amazing service to be provided…it’s the simplest thing you can provide your patrons to make them happy…your smile and warmth. The food was mediocre, and the best thing about the meal were the biscuits and Tupelo Honey that we took home with us and had the next day. I just didn’t feel the passion in the restaurant that I had hoped I would have. *frown*
Final Summary…Maybe we just ordered the wrong items…maybe the server was having a crappy day…maybe the Chef was a little off that day from it being incredibly busy. The heart of the employees we interacted with just wasn’t there. Honestly also….MAYBE I’d try it again next time just to give it a fair chance, and I’d certainly order something different. There has to be something amazing about the place for me to have heard so many wonderful reviews on it, right? Now, I just have to find that something amazing on our next trip up there……….