Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Dinner in Asheville North Carolina

…continuing with our early October brief exploration of Asheville with Laurie’s sister Bonnie and Bonnie’s husband Bill.  Following a couple of adult beverages at The Loft Hotel in downtown Asheville, we discussed possible dinner destinations.  Once Bill discovered a reputable restaurant that served seafood…his favorite food…the decision was made.

Our destination was Jettie Rae’s Oyster House, which is quite close to downtown Asheville.  Parking in the neighborhood was a bit challenging and it was no surprise that we had to wait a bit for a table.  Jettie Rae’s was quite busy.  Like the rest of the restaurant, the busy bar area has that industrial ‘look’.   

The reason for the architectural look is that Jettie Rae’s occupies an old time renovated Gulf Gas Station.  A restaurant of note has occupied this location for almost 70 years.  The seafood served at Jettie Rae’s has been inspired by Gullah Geechee, French, Native American and Spanish culinary traditions.

I took this photo of our happy wives…who had just finished a long day of browsing through countless stores.  No photo of Bill and me though.  It was not a good photo with both of us looking whipped and grumpy.

I’ve never been ‘into’ oysters, raw or otherwise.  Bill and Bonnie love fresh oysters though so they ordered this platter of ice and condiments along with six (6) fresh oysters. ($24.00)

Laurie and I ordered this appetizer without understanding what it meant.  Called a “Tin Fish Selection”, this was our canned octopus starter… ($13.00 but $16.00 currently) We like octopus…but not canned!  The chips were OK and Laurie liked those olives.  FYI, Jettie Rae’s also offers canned or ‘Tin’ mussels, sardines, tuna, scallops and razor clams.

I do like fried clam strips.  These are ‘Chubby’ Woodman’s clam strips from Essex Massachusetts. ($10.00/now $11.00) The clam strips were very good and the portion was more than fair.  The only problem I had with this appetizer is that it took about 10 minutes for our waitress to bring some cocktail sauce as I’m not into tartar sauce.

Very few restaurants provide bread gratis to the table like they used to.  Jettie Rae’s Bread Service ($7.00) was this dark OWL Bakery ciabatta accompanied by whipped butter and sea salt.  The crust was so hard it was almost not edible…but the center was nice.

Jettie Rae’s menu isn’t huge by any means.  I’m guessing that many diners order cocktails and browse through the menu.  We did a bit of that too, in this case ordering the Blue Cheese Potato Chips with Danish blue cheese, buttermilk and chives. ($8.00) The amount of blue cheese drizzled over the chips was underwhelming…but the quality was decent.

It took forever to get our entrees…and the restaurant had partially emptied out after we were seated.  Our waitress continued to ignore us most of the time. 

This particular offering was the Gullah inspired Crab Rice. ($33.00) It included Carolina gold rice, bacon, fresh jumbo lump crab, basil and corn.  I don’t remember what Bill and Bonnie thought about this entrée but it seems overpriced to me.  On the other hand, I’m not a big consumer of jumbo lump crab meat...

If Bill can order seafood, especially a variety of seafood in an entrée, he’ll always do it.  We’ve watched him order towers of seafood in Charleston South Carolina as well as on Loch Leven near Ballachulish Scotland.

In this instance, he ordered Jettie Rae’s Fisherman’s Stew. ($28.00/now $32.00) It included both fish and shellfish…all in a tomato and fennel broth, and accompanied with some bread to sop up the broth.  He said that it was OK but unremarkable...

Laurie stayed safe, ordering what she knows she likes.  Her “Proper Fish and Chips entrée, with fresh cod in a light and crispy beer batter was just what she hoped for…satisfying and just the right amount of fish for her. ($24.00) The French fries were just OK.  I can’t remember having fish and chips with just one fish filet for the price we paid…and it’s something we order more often than most standard items.

I also stayed safe with my entrée selection… This was my Shrimp Po Boy on Leidenheimer bread. ($16.00) The usual sides included with the Po Boy are French fries or chips but I ordered the succotash…which is priced the same as the French fries.  I was fairly happy with my selection…perhaps a bit too much bread to shrimp ratio, but everything, including the succotash hit the spot.

Despite the fact that it is very popular in Asheville, we just weren’t crazy about Jettie Rae’s Oyster House.  Pricing aside, the kitchen was really slow…it took an hour to get our entrées after our starters…and our waitress didn’t understand the word ‘service’.  FYI, a 3% kitchen appreciation charge is automatically added to your bill.  It is clearly stated on the menu.

Try it yourself if you’re in the area and let me know what your experience was like.  Jettie Ray’s Oyster House is located at 143 Charlotte Street in Asheville North Carolina.  Closed on Mondays.  Phone: 828-505-4499.  Website: https://jettieraes.com/.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. WOW, $4 per oyster. When I first visited my parents in FL, they were a dime each. Shows what supply and demand will do.

  2. Sorry to hear that the food and service ain't up to the standard. 24 dollars for 6 oysters...that's quite expensive. That's why I prefer to eat at home :-))

  3. Yikes! Sorry, Dave, I'm not going to experiment with them. Thanks anyway. So sorry a good sounding restaurant was such a disaster! I haven't tried most of Asheville's cuisine, because I can get what I like here in Black Mountain. It's much simpler fare, I'm sure. I have a frozen piece of fish which is half of my order a week ago of fresh fish which is trucked in from the Outer Banks each weekend. Our fresh fish place is only open Fri and Sat. So I get my fresh seafood fix from Roger Queen and his wife's Fairfield Seafood.

  4. Sorry, I thought I commented before...but I just wanted to say I'm so sorry you had a bad experience at that restaurant. Never been there, and probably won't!