If you desire a classy French dining experience in the heart of Asheville, you’ll find it at Bouchon. Conveniently located on Lexington Avenue, this bistro-style restaurant combines locally-sourced ingredients and traditional Gallic recipes to great effect. Mastermind Michael Baudoin has successfully transported the best of the French culinary scene to North Carolina. He’s passionate about both his homeland and Asheville, which he fondly refers to as ‘Funky Town.’
When you arrive at Bouchon, you’ll be struck by the cozy ambiance and beautiful brick walls. If you’re lucky, you’ll score a table near the open kitchen so you can observe the staff making culinary magic.
If the weather’s nice, don’t bother eating inside. While the restaurant’s indoor seating is pleasant, the alley patio is one of a kind. You’ll feel like you’ve actually been transplanted to a quaint restaurant in the French countryside, even as your feet remain firmly planted in Asheville.
Sorry vegetarians; Bouchon is definitely carnivore territory. If you don’t eat meat, you’ll most likely be limited to small plates and salads. Several of the restaurant’s meals are acceptable for gluten-free eaters, but they’re not marked as such on the menu; those avoiding gluten will need to view the menu with a discerning eye and possibly ask waitstaff for further clarification.
As you wait for your meal, sip on a delightful French cocktail. Favorites include the French 75 (consisting of gin, sparkling wine, simple syrup, and lemon juice) and the French Storm (featuring Domaine de Canton, dark rum, and ginger beer). Bouchon also offers an impressive wine and champagne list dominated by selections served by the bottle. Ask your server for pairing suggestions; otherwise, you can’t go wrong with a bottle of the Domaine Renaud Pouilly-Fuissé or a half bottle of the Jean-Luc Joillot Crèmant de Bourogne (the owner’s personal favorite).
A few of our favorite menu items include:
Paris-Born-Redneck (PBR) Moules Frites
Available on an all-you-can eat basis on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, these fresh mussels are steamed in your secretly favorite beer: Pabst Blue Ribbon. Don’t worry, we won’t tell the beer snobs of Asheville if you order this delightfully redneck entree. Lusty Monk mustard gives the dish a local flavor. Enjoy herbed French fries on the side. This is just one of several moules frites options available at Bouchon.
A classic Burgundy stew, this hearty meal features delectable beef tenderloin tips, cipollini onions, carrots, mushrooms, and thyme. The stew’s base consists of slowly simmered tomatoes in red wine.
Quiche du Jour
A traditional take on quiche, this recipe features a homemade pâte brisée — a classic French version of shortcrust pastry. Enjoy your quiche alongside a simple salad dressed with Dijon mustard vinaigrette and small strips of bacon known as lardons. A side of pommes frites (French fries) completes this filling meal.
Baked to order, this original dessert will cap off your Bouchon visit perfectly. It consists of filo pastry surrounding a rum-marinated banana. Toppings include coconut ice cream and homemade caramel sauce.
Tart au Pommes
This dessert combines the best of local produce and international flair. Enjoy sliced apples from a local North Carolina orchard brushed in butter and brown sugar. These juicy apples are baked to order on a puff pastry and finally, topped with fresh whipped cream. Although delicious year-round, this simple dessert is most satisfying during the autumn months.
Whether you order the hearty all-you-can eat mussels or a light salad, you’ll be impressed by the attractive plating and fresh ingredients. Just one bite will bring a smile to your face, thereby achieving the chef’s ultimate goal.
Expect crowds if you visit at peak dinner hour on a nice day. Bouchon doesn’t take reservations, so it’s first come, first served. The restaurant is regularly open until 9:30 or 10:30 pm, so late dining might be your best bet if you don’t want to wait for your seat.