Up the long wooden steps of the Smoky Park Supper Club, the construction is starting to wrap up. The rustic structure built of recycled shipping containers rises between the river and the road like a temple to an alternative style of cooking for the commercial kitchen: wood-fired. And that temple has finally announced its long-awaited opening date will be Friday, Sept. 11.
“I’m just excited to get everybody in here and trained up on building fires and cooking with fires and what that means for them as a cook,” says chef Michelle Bailey, who worked several years ago with Mark Rosenstein‘s as chef of The Market Place. “It’s a whole different approach to the job. Things are different now. “I feel really comfortable with that oven,” she says. “You do really have to get to know it. … It’s its own unit, its own thing. It’s like a person that you have to get to know. It’s maybe the most important co-worker for all of us. You feel very close to your food when you cook this way. It’s very intimate,” she explains. “You have to spend time with it, and you really have to think about your process — how you’re going to start, where you need to be in two hours, where you need to be in six hours — and caress that fire as you go to make sure it stays where you need it.”
Back in May, the Mountain Xpress explored how Rosenstein and Bailey collaborated on the menu and constructed a kitchen with wood-fired ovens and grills. Of particular note was the Le Panyol, a French heat-retaining oven, which differs from conventional convection-style ovens in that it relies on heat radiation. At that point, Bailey was just beginning to learn that oven and the techniques for using it.
Smoky Park Supper Club will at first open only for dinner with plans to expand to lunch service in the coming months. Eventually, Bailey hopes to offer a late-night bar menu, but that is still a month or two away. On the supper menu, look for items like syrah-braised lamb leg and bone-in pork chops. The seasonal bar menu feature offerings like brisket and blue cheese empanadas, a house-ground Apple Brandy Beef burger or handmade bratwurst.
Following is a preview
of menu items and prices from a press release from
the Smoky Park Supper Club
The Smoky Park Supper Club Menu
which is subject to change based on seasonal availability, will be divided into four parts:
($4-$7) like spicy crackerjack (popcorn, peanuts, bacon, caramel, chili flake), wood-roasted cashews and regional cheeses
($4-9) such as seared tomatoes with goat cheese and pickled mustard seed
($8-$18) like wood-grilled burgers and cast-iron grilled cheese
($13-$45) like salt-baked snapper, roasted chicken, braised leg of lamb and wood-grilled, bone-in pork chop
Smoky Park Supper Club
is at 350 Riverside Drive, Asheville, NC.
It is scheduled to open for dinner on Friday, Sept. 11.