Chef Chuck Baudendistle
The Admiral is located in a small unassuming building in West Asheville. The indoors brings thoughts of being on an old ship. The dark wood, huge moldings, and dark aquatic decor. The dimly lit space is cozy and intimate and while it is still partitioned for covid and slightly cramped, it has been designed well. The outdoor patios are well lit and spacious, but we chose indoors for this special birthday dinner because it has been so hot, and rain was in the forecast.
I’ve begun asking for the server’s favorites before ordering because I like to hear how they speak about the food and drinks. Our server was pleasant and had great recommendations for both. Our water glasses were never empty and the kitchen even sent out a sweet little amuse bouche of cucumber slices topped with a dollop of homemade ranch, and at the end of our meal, a little dessert of sugar coated jelly bites, which were both welcome surprises for our evening. The service overall was excellent.
Our evening began with drinks. Some sour beers with the most delightful cans, and two mixed drinks, one mixing Elderflower Infused Gin, Cointreau, Lemon, & Daylily, and the other a blend of Rum, Lime, Mint, Cucumber, Coconut Cream. I’m realizing now I should have asked to taste my friend’s drink, but mine was the mint/cucumber one and while smooth and refreshing, was not excessively flavorful. I would have enjoyed it more if the lime, mint and coconut had been a little more potent.
For my main course I had the spaghetti which was homemade, perfectly cooked to an al dente chewiness and in a creamy lemon and zucchini sauce with lumps of crab. The textures were good. Everything tasted very fresh and the flavors complimented each other well. My mind travels back to the Agnolotti at Laura in Summerville and I wonder if I have been ruined for pasta forever. I’m not sure anything will ever compare. And while this pasta at The Admiral was delicious, it wasn’t the type of dish you dream about and must come back for.
Overall, our experience was enjoyable. We lingered for a long time, soaking in the atmosphere of a bustling open kitchen, the company of good friends, and the pleasantries of being in a full restaurant. I wouldn’t write off The Admiral, however, my ever growing list of Asheville restaurants makes it hard to go back to places a second time. What are some of your must-try restaurants in Asheville? I’d love to hear YOUR recommendations!