Weekly Specials Now Available!

Monday Wine Night – Join us every Monday for 1/2 price bottles of wine (all bottles under $50).

Buck a Shuck Tuesday – Join us every Tuesday for $1 gulf oysters and 25% off our specialty oysters.

air-passport-2015

2015 AIR Passport Makes Gift Giving Easy

The Asheville Independent Restaurant Association (AIR) is once again offering its AIR Passport in plenty of time for the holidays. The 2015 Passport, which includes buy-one-get-one free coupons at 46 of Asheville’s locally-owned, farm-to-table restaurants and breweries, can be pre-ordered for $60 at the AIR website (www.airasheville.org) or purchased in December at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce gift shop.

“The AIR Passport is the perfect gift for anyone who enjoys Asheville’s vibrant culinary culture,” said Kim Murray, chair of AIR’s Marketing Committee and managing partner of The Lobster Trap, a long-standing favorite among residents and visitors. “The AIR Passport is more than just a great value. It’s a way to support independent restaurants like The Lobster Trap, and the farmers who in turn support us. I like to think of it as just another way to ‘buy local’ for the holidays.”

The 2015 AIR Passport applies to either breakfast, lunch, dinner or brunch at the following restaurants: 32 Ice Bar, Amborzia Bar & Bistro, Avenue M,  The Bier Garden, Bouchon,  The Cantina at Biltmore, Chai Pani, Chestnut, City Bakery Café,  Corner Kitchen, Creekside Taphouse, Creperie Bouchon, Daugherty’s American Kitchen, French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Glass Onion, Grovewood Café, Jack of the Wood, Jerusalem Garden Café, Karen Donatelli’s Café, Kathmandu, King James Public House, Korean House, Laughing Seed, Lexington Avenue Brewery, Little Pigs Bar-B-Que, The Lobster Trap, Luella’s Bar-B-Que, Mela, Nightbell , Oysterhouse Brewing, Pack’s Tavern, Plant, Red Stag Grill, Rosetta’s Kitchen, Roux,  Sante Wine Bar, Scully’s Bar & Grill, The Social, The Social Lounge & Tapa, Strada Italiano, Tupelo Honey Café, Ultimate Ice Cream, Village Wayside Café, Vincenzo’s and Vinnie’s Neighborhood

AIR, which was founded in 2004, is an association of local, independent restaurants dedicated to keeping Asheville’s food scene eclectic, interesting, fresh and flavorful. Its more than 100 members contribute richly to the city’s reputation as a culinary destination. In the process, AIR members have made Asheville a national leader in culinary innovation and sustainability through farm-to-table sourcing and environmentally-sustainable operations.  As a result of their work, Asheville was the first city in the U.S. to be named a Green Dining Destination™. In 2014, three Asheville restaurants were named to the nation’s list of Top 20 Greenest Restaurants by the Green Restaurant Association.

If It’s Autumn, It Must Be Oyster Season

For oyster lovers everywhere, Labor Day means the arrival of fall and an abundance of these salty mollusk delicacies on the half-shell, steamed or roasted, tucked into luscious sauces and baked, in delicately seasoned stews or fried in cloud-light batters and served on salads and in sandwiches. For non-oyster lovers, there is curiosity about this treasure of the ocean. Yet history tells us that humans have been harvesting and eating oysters since our earliest days. They are rich in zinc, selenium, iron, Vitamin A and D, which contribute to their reputation as an aphrodisiac.

For today’s oyster aficionados, it’s important to know where oysters come from, and no one knows that better than Kim Murray, managing partner of The Lobster Trap in Asheville, NC.  “Just like in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. Oysters feed by filtering phytoplankton-rich water through their gills. These single-cell plants flourish in salty or brackish waters where rivers and oceans meet,” Murray said. “The rivers bring a steady flow of sediment-filled water that is rich in the nutrients the phytoplankton need to grow.”

Couple those nutrients with light and warmth, and you have the perfect environment for oysters, Murray noted. “There’s just one problem. If the river sediment contains pollutants or the ocean water is contaminated, there can be problems for the oysters and anyone who eats them. That is why it is critically important for restaurants to know where their oysters come from and for consumers to ask.”

The man responsible for answering these questions at The Lobster Trap is Executive Chef and Partner Mike McCarty.  “In any business, you build your success on strong relationships. And because The Lobster Trap has been bringing fresh seafood to Asheville for a decade, we’ve gotten to know local seafood purveyors across the U.S. These people know what’s going on in the oceans, bays and inlets where they harvest seafood, live and work, sometimes for generations.”

This fall The Lobster Trap is featuring oysters from the Gulf Coast, Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Ware River, Virginia;  Sweet Jesus, Maryland;  and Rappahannock, Virginia. “Each location produces oysters with different qualities,” McCarty said. “Rappahannock oysters, which come from the Chesapeake Bay region, are less salty than other East Coast oysters. Gulf Coast oysters, on the other hand, don’t change in flavor during the year like northern oysters do. They are fatter in the winter and thinner in the summer but always mild.”

Fans of Lewis Carroll’s poem The Walrus and The Carpenter will recall that the two oyster-lovers ate them, every one, with bread, vinegar and salt. McCarty’s pairing are far more flavorful and include a raw oyster appetizer with lime caviar, pear mignonette and micro greens, as well as a distinctive twist on Oysters Rockefeller using Pernod, Swiss chard and hollandaise sauce. For the purists, The Lobster Trap’s oyster bar includes an array of freshly made sauces. And for all their customers, The Lobster Trap offers a robust selection of local beers and wines that bring out the best in seafood.

“For us, good food isn’t only about farm-to-table. We do that, but we also do what we call catch-to-table. We like to think of it as bringing the ocean to the mountains of western N.C. We’ve done if for ten years, and it’s why we love coming to work every day,” Murray said.

The Lobster Trap first opened its doors in downtown Asheville in 2005. Since then, it has earned the reputation of being one of the city’s premier restaurants and one of the top seafood restaurants in the Southeast.

The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
      To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
      Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
      And whether pigs have wings.’

Lobster Trap Shrimp & Grits Recipe

Note: The grits used by The Lobster Trap are an heirloom corn from Peaceful Valley Farms.

For the grits:

3 cups of heavy cream
1 cup of water
1 cup of grits
1/4 of whole butter, unsalted
Salt and pepper to taste

For the shrimp:

1/2 pound of 31-35 size shrimp sustainably caught from a specialty market. Shell on or peeled and divined depending on preference.
1/4 pound of of cherry tomatoes, cut in half.
3/4 cup of white wine
1/2 cup of smoked bacon cut into small dices
1 teaspoon of chopped garlic
1 teaspoon of chopped shallot
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

For the grits, combine cream, water and butter in pot and bring to boil.  Once at a boil add grits and reduce heat to low and whisk frequently for 20 minutes until grits are tender and thick.  Keep grits warm.

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and set aside in fridge.

In sauté pan add oil, enough to coat the bottom and heat at medium heat for approximately 45 seconds.

Add bacon and render out fat for about 30 seconds then add shrimp and cook turning over after about 10 seconds on each side.

Add the garlic, shallots and tomatoes and cook for approximately 45 seconds.

Take the pan off the heat and pour the white wine, once wine is poured replace pan back on stove.

Reduce the wine in pan by half

Once wine is reduced, turn heat down to low and add the butter.

Whisk butter until completely incorporated and dissolved.

Spoon grits into bowl and pour shrimp over and serve.  Garnish with chives or green onion.