For our 40th anniversary, a business acquaintance of mine recommended that we dine here and we are so glad we did! Cúrate has now been added to the list of the top 20 all-around BEST places I've ever dined!
This ethnic gem is situated in downtown Asheville with ample parking nearby at ALOFT Hotel. We arrived 45 minutes early to explore the area on foot, but unfortunately were caught in a downpour. We called to see if we could get in earlier and they obliged without hesitation.
Upon entering the restaurant, we were immediately enveloped in the warm, earthy tones and smells of Iberia -- pork -- mushrooms -- fresh vegetables -- aromatic bread --- you get the drift.
The scene is both romantic and energetic with wonderful selections of music playing at a level which is not distracting at all, but rather reins one into the total ambience of this unique tapas bar.
From the front door, there is a large bar, adjacent to the final food prep area, that seats perhaps 15 persons. This arrangement even more engages the diner with the preparation of the food. It is perhaps the most highly energetic area of the house where patrons interact with the chef, sous chef and prep cooks.
The walls are all warm earthy colors with splashes of art here and there and candles everywhere. Very inviting!
The menu was a bit overwhelming so our knowledgeable and friendly server, Eric, offered to take us on a tour of Spain by selecting our tapas for us. He was so engaging and convincing, that we agreed. He asked for food allergies and for anything we absolutely did not like and anything we wanted and then he went to work for us, almost like our own personal foodie concierge!
From start to finish, he served all in all seven different dishes, all of which were remarkable in their own way, cooked and plated to perfection, each being a specific work of art in form and function.
Our favorite meat dish was the pincho moruno which consisted of lamb skewers marinated in moorish spices served with homemade pickles. I literally could have eaten six skewers worth. The most interesting of dishes was the brandada de bacalao which is a traditional cod and potato puree served hot with crisp bread. The taste of cod was evident, but it was so mild, that blended with the potatoes, served almost as a palate cleanser.
All meats and breads are imported directly from Spain. The menu is also friendly to patrons with specific food allergies or preferences. Many of the dishes can be served Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Vegan and Nut Free. The wine list is impressive and consists primarily of Spanish wines.
At the end of our meal, Eric brought in the house specialty dessert reserved for birthdays and anniversaries called Servilleta Chocolate which was literally a napkin made from chocolate, hazelnuts and dried cherries, served straight up about 8" tall. Decadent cannot begin to describe this luscious dessert.
Whenever we visit Asheville, NC in the future, Cúrate will definitely be one of our stops! Thank you Cúrate and thank you Eric!