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Spain in Asheville: Chef Katie Button Talks Cúrate

To capture that atmosphere, they incorporated a 20-foot long marble bar into the design so patrons are never far from the action in the kitchen. “That vibrancy reminds you of being in the frenzy of service and seeing all the food that’s being prepared in the moment brings up the energy of the whole place so you feel like you’re walking through the Boqueria," Button said.

Standbys like patatas bravas, gambas al ajillo, and fried eggplant drizzled with wild mountain honey and rosemary have become favorites but there is always room for innovation. Their take on guisantes con jamón is made with razor clams, fava beans and serrano ham served with a fish stock fumée to amplify the flavor. A vegetarian version of migas comes with brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and a celery root and yogurt mousse. White asparagus is served with an airy mayonnaise espuma. Taking the place of Spanish calçots, seasonal ramps are grilled and served with romesco sauce.

Finding a balance between their past and present, the menu combines authentic Spanish ingredients, like the unmistakable cured hams from black-footed Iberico pigs, with locally sourced and sustainable products from the surrounding area.

This February, the family opened Nightbell, a speakeasy-style nightclub. They started developing the idea soon after opening Cúrate when customers asked where they could get a drink beforehand or go dancing afterwards. “I love the idea of moving from one place to another to keep your dining experience dynamic,” Button said. It was also an opportunity to try new twists on classic American bar food and craft cocktails.

With so many new stories to tell, Button has started work on her debut cookbook due to be published by Flatiron Books in 2016. The Cúrate cookbook will explore the connections between Spain, Asheville, and the Blue Ridge mountains they’ve discovered. Button and Meana will take a group from Cúrate to Spain this year. “The only way to get inspired is to travel and to see the different regions and to be there,” Button said.

Their efforts have been well received. “It felt like the entire Spanish community of Asheville came out of the woodwork because they wanted a piece of home,” Button said. They’ve also been embraced by the larger food community. Button has been a James Beard Rising Star Chef Semi-Finalist for the last three consecutive years.

“We’re just kind of working hard at what we’re doing and what we love and trying to create something unique for Asheville and for ourselves,” Button said.

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