Burial Beer has never been content to offer food that is merely OK. Its approach has never been to assume the beer will impair your judgment enough to not notice if the food is bad.
The first permanent food truck contracted to cook onsite at Burial now is a restaurant in the River Arts District. What better place to look for a restaurant where you can eat well but on a budget than the Outpost at Forestry Camp?
The Outpost is situated on the lower floor of the same building as the main Forestry Camp restaurant. The seating is communal with long tables allowing you to space out as desired. You will also find plenty of covered outside dining available up the stairs in the bar area or on ground level next door.
The beer menu delves beyond Burial brews, though you’d be remiss not to look closely at the home team options. You may miss out on something spectacular, like its red wine barrel-aged Barleywine. They also list rare selections on tap like Hudson Valley’s aged foudre-fermented sour farmhouse ale. Should beer not be for you, cocktails, wine and nonalcoholic options all exist at the Outpost.
The menu is more casual than what you’ll find upstairs. You can sit down with a snack of grilled olives, which you really should want to do. Or you can find yourself with a sandwich, a charcuterie board or even a whole smoked trout or roast chicken. The options are few, but well curated and change with the season or product availability.
Except for the olives and a grilled bread and cheese plate under the small bites menu, prices are reasonable and begin at $12 with most items hitting at $14. Of course, you can surpass this with the charcuterie board, whole trout and whole chicken.
I started with an order of grilled flatbreads. Three round grilled flatbreads, roughly the size of a store-bought pita, come with this plate. The flatbread was still warm from the grill, beautifully marked with bubbles of crisp golden crust and small flecks of char from the grill that added exceptional flavor. The top glistened with brushed-on butter.
A side of shiso mayo in a small ramekin sits unassumingly next to the flatbread like it was a glug of Duke’s, when in actualization it is a bright herbal sauce that you will repeatedly go back for more. Thin slivers of fresh scallion are juxtaposed next to thin slivers of pickled peppers so tender it’s as if they were freshly roasted.
The star of the show was the generous scoop of smoked trout. The smoke is present in the dip, but not overpowering. The pickled peppers found again inside the dip add a welcome acidity to the dish. There is enough here to carry you through all three flatbread, but I could easily have scarfed double the amount.
The sandwiches are obviously crafted from someone who knows and loves a good sandwich. Expect housemade Italian sausage with smoked tomatoes on brioche or sorghum rubbed smoked ham with looking glass cheddar on sourdough. The sandwich I chose, after much internal debate, was the pea fritter.
This sandwich makes its first impression with the baguette. Producing two sizable halves, the baguette is deep brown, warm and toasted, You could eat this bread on its own with a pint and be content. Inside the baguette showcases thick pea fritters with a crunchy exterior and perfectly seasoned, soft interior. The sandwich is then layered with smoked carrot hummus and hazelnut dukka and lightly dressed greens adding to an already flavorful bite.
Sandwiches come with a side of tossed greens or garlic potatoes. The garlic potatoes are not a pedestrian mashed potato with garlic lost unless sitting aside prime rib. No, these are deeply roasted, skin on potatoes that have been rustically smashed and spiked with shards of equally deep roasted garlic cloves. Soft and tender, with crisp bits interspersed, the resulting texture is extraordinarily more interesting than mashed garlic potatoes. There was a lack of salt, but even as is, you will be searching for a long while to find a better side of potatoes. With more salt added, they instantly become the potato other potatoes are judged against.
And, that’s not just the Barleywine speaking.
The Outpost at Forestry Camp
• 828-505-4452, www.forestrycamp.com, 10 Shady Oak Drive.
Atmosphere: Modern, rustic and casual.
What to try: The grilled flatbreads, so simple, yet produce so much enjoyment. Whether sharing or serving as a snack for one, it pairs perfectly with a pint.
Beverage notes: Beer, wine cocktails and nonalcoholic options.
The bottom line: When it comes to beer, you are not without choices in the greater Asheville area. Focus on breweries that also serve food you would have without drinking a beer, and the list gets much shorter. The Outpost at Forestry Camp celebrates the combining of good food and good beer in a uniquely Asheville environment where you simply want to hang out.
Matthew DeRobertis is a chef, writer and father to a kid who loves food more than her dog. Contact him at [email protected]