#74 of 109 Asheville Restaurants


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Rhubarb: Chef John Fleer Takes Locally Sourced Asheville Dining to New Heights
Written by: David Angotti
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Chef John Fleer elevates Asheville dining with an inspired menu featuring locally sourced ingredients and a welcome Southern take on international fare.

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

Chef John Fleer’s innate culinary passion infuses every aspect of Rhubarb — his current flagship restaurant. He views Rhubarb as an opportunity to build community through the power of cuisine. He feels that a quality meal at his restaurant can be a transformative experience, revealing new insights and elevating visitors’ everyday lives. Skeptics may view this attitude as excessively ambitious, but it’s hard to deny that passion plays an integral role in this Asheville staple.

A variety of accolades back up Fleer’s lofty language. The James Beard Foundation highlighted the Winston-Salem native as a Rising Star of the 21st Century. Additionally, he’s received a finalist spot for James Beard Best Chef in the Southeast on several occasions.

The Rhubarb menu features a variety of locally sourced dishes, all intent on engaging the palate with unexpected flavors. Fleer’s attention to detail is clearly evident in every meal.

Rhubarb accommodates visitors with a variety of dietary restrictions. Several menu items appeal to vegans and vegetarians. Options are also available for gluten-free visitors. If you have allergies or other limitations, feel free to mention them when reserving your table.

If you show up on a Sunday evening, be prepared for a unique culinary experience: Sunday Supper. Intended as a communal tradition, Sunday Suppers feature three courses reflecting each weekend’s market bounty. While the Sunday Supper menu is available in the general dining area, Fleer highly recommends eating at the restaurant’s communal tables.

Don’t hesitate to order a craft cocktail. Rhubarb’s mixologists clearly know what they’re doing. Favorites include Get on the Bus (featuring vodka, bitters, and house watermelon mint soda), and No Scrubs (a coconut-infused bourbon Old Fashioned with lime and Earl Grey).

In addition to its impressive cocktail selection — and in keeping with its emphasis on local fare — Rhubarb offers several Asheville brews. Staples include the Hopness Monster IPA from Catawba Brewing and the Wedge Community Porter. Gluten-free lagers and hard ciders are also available. Ask the waitstaff for assistance in pairing Rhubarb’s international wines with your meal.

A few of our favorite menu items include:

Heritage Pork Meatballs
Served with delicious grits from Concord’s Coldwater Creek Farms, these meatballs are a nice option for picky eaters who wish to move beyond tried and tested fare. The dish also includes greens, pig bread, and garlic confit.

The Rhu-Burger
Elevate your hamburger with a double beef and bacon patty seared to perfection. A lunch menu favorite, this classic yet delectable burger comes with the essentials: pickles and fries.

Wood Roasted Bee Line Snapper For Two
One of Rhubarb’s many dishes designed for sharing, this delightful dinner includes pilacca, hot water cornbread, chili-braised Tuscan kale, and house pickles. Order at your own peril: you and your culinary partner just might find yourself fighting for a greater share of the dish.

If you come for brunch, try Rhubarb’s take on a classic English dish memorably referred to as toad-in-the-hole. Rhubarb’s version delivers a welcome Southern twist by adding sorghum glazed pork belly, greens, and red eye gravy.

Chocolate Olive Oil Torte
Save room for dessert! Offered with lunch, this melt-in-your-mouth torte will cure your chocolate cravings.

While some of Rhubarb’s entrees and shareables require a certain level of culinary daring, several items are more picky eater friendly than they sound. Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons as you experience the resplendent flavors of Chef John Fleer’s masterpieces. Keep in mind that several items are seasonal; the dishes and cocktails outlined above rotate regularly based on ingredient availability and the whims of the chef.

Insider Tips
-While walk-ins are certainly welcome, Rhubarb tends to attract more visitors than it can accommodate during the evening. Consider making a reservation — this will save you a potentially lengthy wait.
-Take care with your arrival time; if you show up between 3 pm and 5 pm, your options may be limited to a handful of snacks. Additionally, the restaurant is closed during lunch on Mondays and all day on Tuesdays.