Posted by eemilla on December 14, 2009
To celebrate my little brother’s graduation, we ate lunch beforehand. With two vegetarians in the party, it was decided that downtown Asheville would be better than Black Mountain (the ceremony was at Montreat). Much like many a downtown restaurant in which space is at a premium, Mayfel’s doesn’t have much room to wait, and it seems to pretty much always have a wait. Fortunately, our wait was promised to be ten minutes, but we were set before my brother could park the car. The atmosphere is Southern kitschy and energetic, with copper wire spirals holding blackbirds and Mardi Gras masks and bright walls adorned with serving platters.
In lieu of the Bloody Mary bar, I started with Bell’s Porter ($3.50 which is a reasonable price for a good bottled beer), but for the sake of appearances I only enjoyed one. My main course was the eggplant panini which consisted of eggplant (without any breading!), red onion, goat cheese, and tomato on a crusty sourdough bread and served with choice of white fries, sweet potato fries, and coleslaw (I believe the third was coleslaw). The sandwich was a thick portion, and I received plenty of fries. I requested white fries, but I received sweet potato fries; my grandmother pointed this out, and our server said the kitchen already had the correction working. It also comes with sweet pickles, which my mom applauded. Mayfel’s won her over when she asked about the grits before ordering the Blue Plate; their grits are yellow stone ground grits made with heavy cream and butter (two of my mom’s favorite ingredients for pretty much any dish). Our server mentioned that many customers don’t like their grits, thanks to people not eating real grits. My mom and my Nanny Goose raised us on real Southern food, and I still love my grits (even if I cook them with veggie stock and water); but I despise that Cracker restaurant which serves tripe (like instant grits) in the guise of Southern food. Everyone’s portion was hearty, and we all cleared our plates (I took half of my sandwich to go). My brother’s shrimp and grits was a large bowl of grits with several good sized shrimp topping it, and his girlfriend had a large plate of huevos rancheros with plenty of beans on the side. Bravo to Mayfel’s for letting my ever fussy grandmother picnic (her religious convictions prevent her from spending money on her sabbath).
Although the weather prevented it, they also offer outdoor seating with a great view of Pritchard Park as well as a late night patio where one can enjoy drinks and live music (I don’t know if you can get to the patio from the main dining area, but the patio entrance is off of Wall Street).