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Old Europe Bistro
41 N. Lexington Ave.
Asheville, NC 28801

The concierge at the Biltmore Inn directed us to the main downtown district for dinner on Labor Day eve, not always the easiest time to find worthwhile noshables in a smaller city. But she recommended this Old Europe Bistro and after wandering around a bit to see if there might be something else that struck our collective fancy, we went on in.

The place is owned by Hungarians (which is why we choose it; Mary feels genealogical loyalty), and it was a pleasant surprise.

The menu is casually eclectic - sandwiches, salads, pasta, some entrees that change weekly (everything from trout to filet). They have a lovely sounding brunch with eggs benedict, bagels, Belgian waffles, and quiche that made us wish we had been visiting on a weekend to try it. It's all very reasonably priced with most things under $10 and the entrees almost all under $20.

A mini crab cake, some bruschetta, a pressed French dip sandwich with melted cheese and caramelized onions and a flatly terrific salad of field greens, wild blueberries, gorgonzola and raspberry vinaigrette, plus two Euro-style pastries made for one of the most satisfying meals of the trip.

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