I had the opportunity to eat at Plant in Asheville, North Carolina at the end of April, as part of my road trip from Tampa to Chicago. Wow. Plant was my favorite restaurant on the whole road trip. I can’t wait to go back one day. On their website, Plant calls themselves “an evolving chef-driven vegetable, fruit, and active-foods restaurant.”
Plant is located at 165 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801 and the phone number is 828-258-7500. Reservations can be made online.
Confession: I’d never had morel mushrooms prior to this trip. I’d heard of them. I’d seen photos. I’d daydreamed about foraging them. I’d guessed at what they taste like. I’d almost bought them once from a roadside vendor, before I found out they cost $20 per bag. I’d already conceptualized myself as “someone who likes morel mushrooms.” Turns out I was right.
The morels were delicious. I wish I’d written notes on the flavors I experienced while eating them. I no longer remember which herbs or spices I thought I noticed while eating the morels, only that I kept thinking “these are the best mushrooms I’ve had in my life.”
We went to Plant on a Saturday night and wished we’d have thought to make a reservation in advance. The restaurant is medium-sized and all of the seating was taken when we arrived. They said we could sit and wait for space to open up at the bar, but that there wouldn’t be any table space that evening. Thankfully, something changed and about 30 minutes later we got a table.
Plant really blew me away with the vegan cheese platter. First, I had never heard of a “vegan cheese platter” prior to ordering one at Plant. Now, six months later, I can’t turn around without seeing a vegan cheese platter. Vegan cheese platters are majorly trending, in my humble opinion, but they were not six months ago, at least not to this degree. Maybe Plant helped start the trend?
The cheese platter was great. Again, I’m kicking myself for not taking notes. Prior to this cheese platter, I hadn’t been a big fan of vegan cheese. I’d basically though of it as a substitute that was never quite as good as the “real” thing. The Plant cheese platter opened my mind. These vegan cheeses didn’t taste like imitation cheeses; they tasted like their own thing. I can envision nut cheeses taking off in their own direction and developing their own culinary traditions and peculiarities. I’m here for it.
Also on the cheese platter were crackers (good), pickled beets (very good), and smoked figs (omg amazing). One day, I hope to create a cheese platter this good to serve at a dinner party.
I ordered a salad. It was okay. Actually, it was good, but after the absolutely amazing morel mushrooms and vegan cheese platter, it tasted mediocre in comparison. The fake bacon on the salad is made from royal trumpet mushrooms. I’d never had that type of mushrooms either, and I would’ve preferred to try them prepared differently.
My brother and I both ordered dessert. Mine was a chocolate fudge and peanut butter ice cream paired with a fruit sauce that gave it a peanut butter and jelly flavor.
My brother ordered a bananas foster-type of dish I believe they called creme brulee, with caramelized bananas, chocolate, and nuts. We both loved the desserts.
When I look back on all the vegan restaurant food I ate in 2019, Plant tops the list. Have you been there? If so, tell me about it in the comments!