Alex: Breakfast has always been one of my favorite meals, but it does suffer from a certain lack of creative flair. There’s simply a finite amount of ways to fry up bacon and eggs, combine pancakes with fruit, or toast bread and apply butter. At Biscuit Head in Asheville I learned that this limitation does not apply to their biscuits and various other biscuit accessories.
Inside is comfy, with plenty of community tables to rub elbows with strangers. If you can’t share your eating space, there are a few refurbished classroom tables that make egg-xcellent seating. There is almost always a line winding through the place to the register, but don’t let it discourage you. The turnover is fast, and you’ll find yourself ordering in no time. Good luck trying to decide on one thing once you get there, even if you planned ahead you’ll probably be tempted to add a few items. If the regular menu didn’t lure you in, then Biscuit Head also offers half a dozen completely unique gravies.
We ordered three things: the Chicken and Biscuit, a Biscuit with the “Gravy of the Day” (yes, they have a gravy of the day and a bacon of the day!) – Duck Confit Vindaloo, and threw in a strawberry rhubarb crumble at the last minute. While we waited, we decided to check out the jam and butter bar, which is just as fascinating as it sounds. Standing there was the only time I had ever regretted not just getting a plain dish, just to lather it with all of these amazing creations. All the regulars are represented, but things like Sriracha honey, candy corn butter, and cinnamon marmalade really stood out. You can even buy jars of some of the jams and butters – a perfectly delicious momento!
Back at our desks, the food had arrived and no regrets were had. The mimosa fried chicken was sandwiched in a massive fluffy biscuit on a pile of Sriracha slaw, topped with a sweet potato butter and an over easy egg. It was everything I could have asked for in a chicken biscuit and more. The meat was tender on the inside and crispy on the outside, but I couldn’t taste any special flavoring that made me think of a mimosa. The slaw was outstanding; the cool crisp cabbage and other veggies instantly cooled the heat of the hot sauce. Once mixed in, the sweet potato butter provided just enough sweetness to keep the whole dish balanced out in savory flavors, while the egg was gone in one swift sweet-potato-buttered bite.
The Duck Confit Vindaloo gravy was just as impressive, if somewhat overwhelming. It was delicious and completely unique as a breakfast item, but might have found a better home on a bed of rice than a biscuit. On the other hand, the strawberry rhubarb crumble was deliciously sweet, with a scoop of berry flavored ice cream on top. Eating ice cream before noon was an odd feeling, but it was one I could get used to.
It is great to see such culinary exploration going based around something so simple. Biscuit Head was the first signal that Asheville was ready to tantalize our tastebuds and leave us wondering how we ever got along with only one recipe for breakfast gravy.