So, I’d been hearing about Artisanal for a while. My step-brother raved to me a few years ago, but being that it’s located in Banner Elk, it took me a while to get there. First, you should know that Banner Elk is located in the Boone/Blowing Rock area of the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s not exactly most known for its cuisine. Sure, there are some really great restaurants, but the general area is a college town offering skiing, hiking and you know…outdoorsy stuff (but, more on that later). Never one to pass up an exceptional meal, it was first on my list during our three day mountain adventure over the 4th.
It’s quite the scenic drive to Artisanal. It’s lush and you pass cows as cows should be…happy in the meadow.
Upon arrival, you are greeted outside this beautiful rustic barn by two valets— your first encounter with their impeccable service.
As you enter, the bar area is to the left (lovely).
And to the right is the indoor seating and exhibition kitchen (where we dined).
If it’s not too hot, I recommend the patio.
It has a fire pit and a view of the creek (who doesn’t love a fire pit?).
Not long after we were seated, THIS was delivered to our table. A delicious corn bread hot from the oven.
We were hosted by my Godfather (no, he’s not Sicilian), who invited us to his beautiful home and planned every detail to the nth degree. He was really excited to bring us here for dinner. This was me (ever working) as I wait with baited breath for what he claimed was the “best calamari of his life.” A very bold statement don’t you think? We’ll shall see…
And it was definitely in my top two calamaris of all time! What is the other one that beat out this sensational plate of perfection? I have no idea. I’m just guessing in all the calamari I’ve eaten, there must be one I’m forgetting ;)! By the way, this calamari is sometimes on the menu, but always available.
Yup, leave it to my husband to order the 24 ounce steak. And those au gratin potatoes were to die.
After the cornbread, calamari and fig salad (my starter), I was ready to crawl under the table for a nap. But…I had these babies to eat. They were very good, but very rich. Needless to say, I had to skip the dessert, which is a bloody shame because if there is a donut on the menu, you better believe I’m going to order it. Now I have an even bigger reason to go back.
And with stuffed bellies, we made our way around the wooden horse
And out the way we came, thru the door with the horseshoe doorstep (love that touch!)
There really is no other restaurant in the area like this one. Chef and co-owner Bill Greene has all sorts of impressive culinary credentials from The Waldorf Astoria to Le Cirque in New York City. Rest assured, he knows what he’s doing and so does the staff. The service was flawless, the atmosphere inviting, the food creative & seasonal. I didn’t make it down to the wine cellar, but it can accommodate private parties up to 32 guests.
Artisanal. 1200 Dobbins Rd, Banner Elk NC 28604. 828-898-5395 *Note-they are closed November-April