While in Asheville at a business conference, three of us decided to try Curate for dinner since it was rated so highly by TripAdvisor reviewers -- and we were not disappointed. One of us is from New York, another from Austin, and the third from San Francisco, so we are used to great food at restaurants, but even the New Yorker called the food "memorable."
All three of us enjoyed a cocktail before dinner, two of us the Curate Manhattan since Curate makes it with Knob Creek bourbon; the drink was strong and tasty. Two of us started with the butternut squash soup with Spanish paprika: we exchanged glances after the first spoonful, and I remarked, "Silken!" The flavor was full-bodied yet light at the same time, a fine way to start the food portion of the meal. The three of us split the brandada de bacalao ("cod and potato puree served hot with crisp bread"), which was tasty and smooth, perfect for dipping the crispy slices of bread into. The tortilla espanola ("Spanish potato and onion omelet) was quite yummy, too, although with the other items ordered, we couldn't finish that (it made for a nice plane snack for one of us the next day). My bocadillo serrano ("tomato bread with olive oil, jamon serrano, [and] manchego cheese") was a terrific sandwich, the bread crusty and warm (and I'm spoiled by San Francisco sourdough), the slices of Spanish ham tasty, the cheese melted and oozing. It was a big sandwich, too, so half of it made a terrific snack on the plane ride home the next day. I had a few of the fried calamari from my colleague's bocata de calamares ("fried squid and housemade arbequina olive oil mayonnaise"), and all three of us agreed that the calamari were fried perfectly -- not oily, not heavy, just tasty tasty tasty.
The server was helpful and attentive, the ambiance is such that you can talk with your fellow diners readily, but the star is truly the food. At the end of our meal, we were thankful that on a Friday night we were able to get a table (so long as we were done by 7:30 pm when a reservation had been made for that table -- but that gave us an hour and a half, more than enough time to have dinner!) and enjoy one of Asheville's fine restaurants before heading back to our hotel and packing for our flights the next day. And the food is indeed yummy and plentiful. Curate is a restaurant to make time to go to when one is in Asheville -- there will be no regrets.