Last Saturday evening my husband and I strolled down the street to try the new neighborhood restaurant. It’s awesome that we now have another fabulous restaurant guests can venture to just steps out our door.
Chiesa, Church in Italian, is a new venture by Robert and Melisa Willingham, seasoned restaurant owners from Baltimore. The Willingham’s felt that Asheville was the perfect setting for their opening a home-made pasta-centered, neighborhood-style Italian restaurant.
What use to stand in the place of Chiesa was a rundown vacant Church. It was very exciting to watch the amazing transformation of this old property. The end result is a very comfortable interior and a great addition to this historical neighborhood.
And now to the food. The menu is small but focused and features selections from local purveyors….such as Hickory Nut Gap Farm, Dynamite Roasting, City Bakery, Blue Moon Water, Ultimate Ice Cream, and Mountain Foods. One of the best features is the House-Made pasta, but it was a difficult decision between that and dessert.
We started the evening with Pancetta Crisps with Goat Cheese and Pear. It was scrumptious, especially after we drizzled a little balsamic vinegar over it. The featured pasta the evening was Fettuccine and it was delightful. I had the sautéed (HG) Sweet Italian Sausage with Tri-Colored Peppers over Fettuccine and my husband had the Braised Chicken Thighs with Saffron, Mint and Green Olives. Both dishes were delicious and not heavy. The pasta could not have been more tender and light. If you need that “stuffed” feeling you won’t get that here. The portions are just perfect and not overwhelming.
There were also several options for vegetarians, vegans and gluten free dinners including Sauteed Zucchini, Carrot and Squash Ribbons in a Garlic- Shallot Lemon Butter and Fettucini with Basil- Mint Pesto and Walnut Pesto. There were several salads and seasonal soups such as Sweet Potato and Thyme Soup with Toasted Pumkin Seeds and Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli Soup.
For dessert we were treated to a divine Housemade Bread Pudding with a Carmel Glaze. Be sure to ask for a scoop of Madagascar vanilla ice cream from Ultimate Ice Cream on the side.
We found the prices to be very reasonable, especially considering the quality of the ingredients. The wine list features Italian wines and is also very reasonable.
Especially looking forward to Spring when the outside patio will be in full swing. Welcome to the Neighborhood! See your innkeeper at Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast for walking directions.