Lunch at The Junction
As soon as I walked through the door, I was a little taken back by this place as the bartender shook my hand and welcomed me. Maybe it is because I’m not used to what has been deemed ‘southern hospitality’ or perhaps the bartender didn’t mean to be welcoming at all, but instead had been practicing for the slight chance that Tim Burton or Johnny Depp walk through The Junction’s doors. It hasn’t even been a month since Stan Parish of GQ Magazine deemed “Asheville is the new Austin, with a better view" and celebrities are already flocking here.
Regardless, the warm greeting set a nice tone for what was a wonderful experience at the new restaurant in the River Arts District. The lunch menu is pretty simple with sandwiches and salad/soup combinations for $10. All the food is locally sourced or as The Junction describes its spread as:
The Junction offers made from scratch soups, salads and sandwiches highlighting the abundance and quality of our regional farms and the skill and passion of our Executive Chef, Camp Boswell.
I had the Southern Shrimp BLT (Grilled Citrus Shrimp, Pickled Fried Green Tomatoes, Smoked Bacon, Lemon Arugula, Caper Aioli) paired with the Hoppin’ John Salad (Rice, Roasted Corn, Black-Eyed Peas, Lima Beans, Caramelized Onions, Smoked Bacon, Garlic Dressing) and a sweet tea.
I propose to rename the Southern Shrimp BLT, the Southern Shrimp Badass Little Treat. The shrimp was huge and grilled perfectly and with every bite a citrus flavor definitely pops into your mouth. The pickled fried green tomatoes were outstanding. I must say I never really understood the South’s obsession with fried green tomatoes until now. I have had them at other places around town paired with other dishes such as Mayfel’s Southern Benedict (breaded fried green tomatoes with thick cut ham on a toasted English muffin & two poached eggs, topped with homemade lime hollandaise) and Early Girl Eatery’s Early Girl Benny (grit cakes topped with tomato, spinach, poached eggs, tomato gravy & avocado, served with toast). While the dishes themselves were good, I thought fried green tomatoes didn’t taste like anything, because the other ingredients overwhelmed the tomatoes flavor. But hello, were my taste buds firing all cylinders with this sandwich and its fried green tomatoes. What do fried green tomatoes taste like? I couldn’t tell you, I don’t understand what I tasted perhaps the adjectives citrusy and tart? All I can say is I liked them paired with the plump citrus shrimp, and lemon arugula. Additionally, the bacon and caper aioli did a nice job of talking this sandwich off a citrus cliff.
The Hoppin’ John salad was ok. Not a lot of flavor, perhaps just enough but you can definitely tell it is prepared fresh with fresh ingredients. The salad was a nice change of pace from the standard sides, chips, potato salad, sweet potato fries, etc. offered by local Asheville eateries. The salad’s minimal flavor also allowed the Southern Shrimp BLT’s eccentric flavor to really shine.
Overall, the pairing was delicious and the portion size was large enough to satisfy your hunger, but not too large to leave you with a food coma.
If the rest of the food is as good as the Southern Shrimp BLT, perhaps The Junction’s customers should be the one giving out handshakes.
Total before tip- $13.01
348 Depot Street,
Asheville NC 28801