Polanco Restaurant at 10 N Market St, Asheville, reservations at 828-575-2576, is not your typical Mexican Restaurant. Heck, we shouldn’t even stereotype it into a particular category.
Just like you would be wrong to label Chef Ricardo Carrasco as merely a chef.
Both are a neo-fusion of everything with a sultry Mexican soul.
Ricardo first wanted to be a lawyer in Mexico. One of the youngest ever and bucking the trend, he didn’t become a lawyer because his family was wealthy and wanted to hold on to their riches. Ricardo paid his own way, working lots of jobs, owning his own places, and graduating top of his class – with an eye to change his country (which he still intends to do) alongside the current senators, mayors, presidential hopefuls of his mother country.
It was when he opened a small bar with a friend that he fell in love with food that showed him a new way to change not only his country but the perception of his people.
After graduation and the success his first bar, he immediately entered into culinary school. Then opened up a second small bar in Monterrey, Mexico. Then after it’s success two years later, he opened a fine dining Mexican restaurant that expanded into another location.
In a few short years, Ricardo had a small food empire.
Polanco is now his sixth restaurant – five others in Mexico – and Polanco being his first in the United States.
Wikipedia defines Polanco as: The Beverly Hills of Mexico City.
And indeed, Chef Ricardo is focusing on creating an exceptional dining experience that engages all the senses that lives up to the restaurant’s name.
His number one goal is to create an environment where people of all backgrounds and eating preferences can coexist. And the first obstacle he wants to overcome is vegans versus meat eaters. Ricardo has fashioned his menu that every item that is listed has both a meat and vegan alternative – with no sacrifice of quality or taste.
Ricardo is a towering 6 foot something man with light skin and often people don’t believe he is Mexican – which he takes as both an insult and a compliment. It’s only when he speaks – that his Antonio Banderas accent shows. He also has a hobby of sketching and drawing that you can see on the black ceiling of the ground floor of Polanco. It is tattooed with drawing, Spanish sayings that inspire him.
Even the logo of Polanco is an image, vision he himself dreamed up to represent his restaurant (one day to be a chain of restaurants):
The logo is many things but the overall image is that of a lion. You can see the logo on the ceilng as you head toward the baño (bathroom) in the back.
What is Chef’s Table?
For $35 per person, Chef Ricardo personally comes to your table to introduce a four course taste extravaganza. It’s a perfect couple’s night out.
The co-founder of Asheville Date Night Guide, Jenn Gordon, and myself were invited personally to partake in the experience. We recorded the entire encounter in 360° / virtual reality courtesy of VRNOIR.LIFE.
The four courses were –
- Empanadas – organic corn masa presses around cheese or vegan cheese, and fried.
- Fajitas – grass fed ribeye with jumbo shrimp and seasonal veggies. Experience in 360°.
- Ribs – chef’s original recipe, ribs glazed in a honey garlic ginger and morita chili fired with mezcal. Experience in 360°.
- Chile en nogada – wither pork or plant based protein with apples peaches pears cinnamon topped in a nut based cream sauce with pomegranate seeds.