The Chop House

(Solo review from Scoops this time.  AY will return in our next blog post.)

Pleasant surprises are always nice, particularly at the holidays.  We hadn’t even originally put The Chop House on our directory, because…well, it’s a steak house.  Why would a steak house have any place in a vegetarian blog?  And yet, when the hubby and I decided we needed to go listen to some jazz on Saturday night, our choices were a steak house or a lobster place.  We chose the steak house, and we were not disappointed.

The Chop House is located adjacent to the Four Points by Sheraton hotel in downtown Asheville.  It has a little bit of an old-fashioned, mountain vibe, complete with a bar for mingling with friends and listening to music.  The tables were all full on this particularly cold Saturday night, but we wanted to sit in the bar anyway since that’s where the jazz was (Mark Guest and company–we highly recommend them).  It took a little while to get situated and waited on, since the restaurant had experienced an unexpected late rush and wasn’t really prepared for it.  Still, the staff was friendly and quick to accommodate our weird vegetarian demands.  I politely asked if we could “vegetarianize” one of the four available pasta dishes.  After pointing out that they already had a vegetarian pasta dish on the menu (a vegetarian Cobb Salad, too, by the way), she then readily agreed to make another pasta dish so my husband and I could have different meals.  Even though they were going to be bringing bread to the table on one of those little wooden cutting board thingies with the steak knife for buttering it and the big slab of butter, we decided to make Dr. Atkins roll over in his grave and order the bruschetta as well.

The bruschetta came out fairly quickly.  It was lovely, and tasty as well.  (Let’s face it, it’s hard to mess up bread, basil, tomatoes, mozzarella, and balsamic vinaigrette.)  It was getting late at this point, and we were happy to have it.  As we finished our last bite, our pastas arrived.  I had ordered the chicken fettuccini sans chicken and my husband ordered a vegetarian penne pasta with a Vodka tomato cream sauce.  Mine arrived with large, delicious hunks of button mushroom that tasted like they had been on a grill along with some caramelized onions.  The garlic cream sauce had just the right amount of garlic and the pasta was nicely al dente.  My husband is not a big fan of cream sauces, but his Vodka tomato cream sauce wasn’t too heavy and he enjoyed it.  It was seasoned well and had just enough tomato to give it some interest, both gastronomically and visually.  While tempted by the impressive dessert list, we were forced to decline since both of us were stuffed after appetizers, pasta, and several (ahem) pieces of steak-house whole wheat bread.  It’s been a while since I’ve had the bread-on-a-cutting-board-with-a-steak-knife experience, and I wanted to savor it, by golly.

Bottom line–vegetarians will not go hungry at The Chop House.  Unless you’re vegan or gluten intolerant, in which case you’d be out of luck here.  Even the Vegetarian Cobb Salad is laden with three different kinds of cheese, but at least that’s one option for our gluten-free friends.  Just think how surprised your meatatarian friends will be when you pipe up and suggest eating at The Chop House over the holidays!  Ho ho ho indeed!

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