At a glance: Plant, 165 Merrimon Ave., Asheville, N.C.; 828-258-7500; Tuesday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5-9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5-10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; closed Monday; credit cards accepted, and reservations strongly recommended.
Photos by Jonathan Welch, Mountain Xpress
The health benefits of veganism, which is the practice of not eating meat or any dairy products, continue to emerge, and the older I get the harder it is to turn a blind eye to those facts — although the burgers, bacon, cheese pizza and milkshakes in the corner of my other eye make it easier.
But I think I could become a vegan rather easily if I had a meal card to the restaurant Plant, or if Jason was my personal chef.
Plant is a new all-vegan eatery in Asheville, and Jason is Plant’s chef extraordinaire. Two-thumbs up, an A-plus, five stars, however you choose to say it, Plant is at the peak of my list. It remains one of the best meals in 2011 (and 2010) and I intend to stack it up against many in 2012.
Don’t let the fact that it is all-vegan and is located in Asheville keep you from going. Being vegan isn’t a requirement to fall in love with this place, and the drive to Asheville was a piece of cake (a non-dairy one, of course) done in just under an hour. And I didn’t have to go downtown or pay for a parking space.
If you are a true meat lover, you can’t go wrong by ordering the seitan (a vegan meat substitute made of wheat). In fact, I prefer seitan over some “real” meat cuts, and it was at Plant that I had the best seitan dish yet: the Peppercorn Crusted Seitan. I tried to savor each bite of the seitan, which was so tender it could have melted in my mouth. It was served over pureed cauliflower (which I thought was mashed potatoes) and “broccolini,” which is broccoli with longer stems. Because peppercorn is used on the seitan, it is definitely spicy, but I noticed another seitan dish on the menu that didn’t have peppercorn.
Another entrée of choice is the sweet corn risotto. Wow, talk about taste! It is a beautiful presentation of corn, grilled tempeh, spinach, red peppers and zucchini with a green chile cream, and I was amazed by the freshness of the vegetables. The highest recommendations also come for the smoked Portobello “steak,” which has spinach, garlic, crispy loaded polenta, grape tomato salad and a “V1” (as opposed to A1) sauce. They also have a “Berger” that looks like the real thing. I saw one being delivered to a nearby guest; the “berger” and truffle fries towered above the plate. Dinner prices range between $11-$16. Some of the entrees have a glutan-free option.
And Plant certainly knows how to do desserts. Two that I absolutely dug into were the Live Key Lime Parfait — lime cashew cream, cinnamon date crust, almond granola and fresh fruit — and the Cannolo, which had a candied orange ricotta, a warm espresso “puddle” and mocha ice cream. Oh, and they make all their ice cream. So if I become vegan, just blame Jason.
Needless to say, Plant is a must-visit; just be sure you make a reservation if you go. The popularity is becoming contagious.
|Johnson City Christmas Parade|
|The Annual Christmas Parade In Downtown Johnson City, December 3rd 2010.|