Best of: Eats: Favorite restaurant
The Admiral defies classification — is that what you're trying to tell us, Xpress readers? Here's the deal: You voted the Admiral Best Dive Bar, and many of you also claim that it's one of the best places for fine dining as well.
Favorite Restaurant, Top Chef The Admiral Photo By Zen Sutherland
"I think that's the nature of this restaurant," says Drew Maykuth, part of the culinary duo that incidentally includes your 2010 Best Chef, Elliott Moss. "It's a bit of a paradox. It's a cinderblock building [with] nice food, but I guess that's some of the charm as well."
Maykuth and Moss are the masterminds behind the food that compelled many of you to declare the Admiral your Favorite Restaurant overall. "I couldn't do it without him, and he couldn't do it without me," says Moss of the other half of the kitchen. "We're a great team, I think."
What chefs Maykuth and Moss turn out at the restaurant seems to bridge generations. When owner Drew Wallace first opened the Admiral, it quickly became a neighborhood haunt for 20- and 30-somethings. The dining clientele's current median age, says Maykuth, is somewhere around 60.
"I think that's surprising to most of us," he says. "People in their 20s and 30s still want to eat here, I think, but ultimately people who are retired have a lot more time to plan their weeks out and to make reservations far in advance, which has become the norm for here," says Maykuth.
Why does a menu like the Admiral have such broad appeal? "I would like to think that people just enjoy our food," says Best Chef Moss. "I think that for the older people, it's very different for them, what they're used to — maybe it makes them feel young."
Whatever the age, Moss says that he's just glad people appreciate what the chefs do in the kitchen and what the rest of the staff does behind the bar and on the floor.
And how Elliot Moss feel about being chosen the king of cuisine in WNC? "I think it's pretty amazing," he says. "I'm pretty happy and stoked that the people in Asheville and North Carolina respect and appreciate what we're doing there. I couldn't be more happy."
What they're doing there is turning out an avant-garde menu that changes daily and utilizes local produce and meats. The ever-changing culinary repertoire, says Moss, helps to keep things fresh in the kitchen in more ways than one.
Cooking the same thing everyday "can really wear you down," says Moss, but switching things up "keeps you creative and open-minded." When it comes down to it, he says, "we cook what we like to eat, and I guess it's working out pretty well."
— Mackensy Lunsford