New and Notable

New and Notable: The scoop on WNC’s latest dining destinations
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Meritage Bistro Highlands
In late spring, Meritage Bistro in Highlands opened the old-fashioned way—no website at first, no social media, just first-class European cuisine, wine, and ambiance. And since Europe is a big place, the Meritage crew has plenty of room to play with flavor. The restaurant’s early offerings showcased Mediterranean flavors—plenty of eggplant, white beans, pasta, and herbs de Provence—along with fresh fish from the mountains and sea, and bistro classics such as steak frites. 490 Carolina Way; (828) 526-1019;


Spoon Spruce Pine
As the stalwart gourmand of Spruce Pine, Nate Allen usually innovates quietly in the kitchen of his restaurant, Knife & Fork. But lately, the award-winning chef has generated big excitement. With his wife and business partner, Wendy, he recently welcomed a new baby and a new bar. The latter, Spoon, opened in June just up the block from Knife & Fork. The cocktails employ classic Appalachian flavors in creative new ways, as exemplified in the Sassafras Mojito. Or if you’re more adventurous, follow a shot of Jack Daniels with Allen’s take on pickleback, a brine chaser. Also visit Spoon for the rotating selections of small plates and fine art. 118 Oak Ave.; (828) 765-1511;


The Buchi Bar Asheville
Some of WNC’s foodie entrepreneurs are also empire builders: In June, a collaboration between Rosetta’s Kitchen and Buchi Kombucha brought forth The Buchi Bar in downtown Asheville. Like its upstairs neighbor, Rosetta’s Kitchen, the space is filled with artfully reclaimed elements, but it’s quite chic. The menu features cocktails, fresh juices, local beer, Noble Cider, Blue Blaze soda and, of course, Buchi Kombucha. Try the Spirit Chaser—made of Buchi Air, mint simple syrup, and premium gin. And if you’re hungry, The Buchi Bar serves eats from upstairs via a dumbwaiter. 118 Broadway; (828) 232-0738;


Photograph by Emma Nash