247 Craven -- a small bistro reminiscent of downtown Asheville -- boasts a menu specializing in Southern soul/Mediterranean cuisine. Five of us were excited to try this newcomer and enjoy a top-notch lunch, as Chef Ashley Moser has some enviable credentials: Culinary Institute of America, followed by cheffing at New Bern Country Club and finally spending two years cheffing in Asheville. Moser seemed ready to open a restaurant downtown and knock our socks off.
He certainly has created ambience. All the old walls were taken down to create an inviting, if small, dining space, with the bar as the central focus. Two large windows create natural light and make the place feel less confining. The wait staff provides very good service. This has all the makings of a great dining experience.
Specials are posted on a chalk board to the left of the bar.
We had a nice table (actually 3 tables pushed together) by the wall, out of the way of traffic, and couldn't wait to try the food.
The crab melt was brought to the table as a cold sandwich with cold crab and cold cheese. When the server was advised that this was not a crab melt, she answered, "I don't know why he changed that." A salad and pistachio brittle accompanied the sandwich. Some of the ladies liked the brittle and others didn't.
My shrimp and crab gumbo came by itself. The grits were inside the gumbo. It was good, but I didn't finish it.
Micki's poached chicken salad with sunnyside egg, bacon and gorgonzola had balsamic dressing. She said it was good, but the chicken was dry.
Micki's mom ordered the shrimp linguine, but had to send it back because it had bacon in it. (She's highly allergic to pork). She got the 'shroom panini, and said she enjoyed it.
We were all a bit disappointed. Some of us want to try the dinner service to see if it's better, but we're a bit leery now. If the food here could just match the decor and service, this would be a great place to eat.