Curate is a tapas bar located on Biltmore Ave in Asheville, NC. After 3 different trusted friends recommended it, I knew I had to make a reservation. We were all set for an early dinner and even though I was still stuffed from lunch, I was beside myself with excitement. Curate is a Spanish word that means “cure yourself” which has been a mantra of mine for the past few months. The food they serve is meant to be shared and the atmosphere encourages the visitors to feel like a part of one big group. I felt at home immediately as we were seated.
As we were seated, our waiter approached. Much to our delight, he was a handsome man with a delightful Spanish accent. His pronunciations of the names of the dishes made them sound just as amazing as they tasted. On a few occasions, I asked him to repeat the names just to keep him talking.
Everything on the menu looked amazing, so we asked for a few suggestions. Our waiter made a few from each category, which we selected our meal from.
Our first selection was the pulpo a la gallega ($12). It was a Galician style octopus served warm with sea salt, olive oil and paprika with a side of Yukon gold potato puree. The combination of the octopus with the texture of the potatoes was outstanding. The octopus was cooked better than any I’ve ever had.
The second item on our food journey was pinco moruno ($12). It was lamb skewers marinated in Moorish spices served with homemade pickles. The lamb was perfectly medium rare and had a gentle flavor of spice that complimented the lamb meat. This was my favorite item that we ate.
The third dish recommended by our lovely waiter was the pimientos de piquillo y queso de cabra ($8). These were three sweet peppers stuffed with a delicious goat cheese. I really enjoyed the sweetness of the peppers with the salty flavor of the goat cheese.
Number four in our meal was the gambas al ajillo ($12). This was advertised as the number one tapa in Asheville. It was sautéed shrimp and garlic in a sauce that tasted very strongly of sherry. Sadly, this was our least favorite on the list – but we still ate the whole dish.
The final dish in our dinner was the migas ($9). This was sautéed Brussels sprouts, raisins and cauliflower with a celery root yogurt mouse. It was topped with croutons and had ample garlic flavor. Another winner! The Brussels sprouts were crispy, as were the croutons, and the sweetness of the raisins played up the deliciously garlicy flavor of the dish.
We were easily convinced to order a cheese plate (Tabla de quesos – $15) and a dessert item. This lovely piece of art on a plate is called Crema Catalan con frutas del bosque ($6). We were told this was “easy to eat” and we were not misguided. The texture was light and fluffy, the berry compote at the bottom was just the right amount of tart and the candied caramel on top added just the right amount of crunch to give it the perfect mouth feel. I as so full by the end of this meal, but so glad for every bite we put in our mouths.