“This is the best shrimp taco I've ever had.”
— Paddy Riels, Asheville Food Tours
My friend Paddy and I eat a lot of lunches together, and we like to visit as many different places as possible, hitting up all the new spots, and of course, touching on old favorites and visiting our friends who work in the kitchens and dining halls all over Asheville. Last week, we went in to say hi to our buddy Chef Matt Grush, who recently took over the kitchen at the Grey Eagle Taqueria in the River Arts District.
I have been a fan of this funny little taqueria located inside of Asheville’s oldest live music venue for years, and have seen a few chefs & cooks come and go from the kitchen there, while the menu has remained consistent and solid. When I found out that Chef Grush is currently in charge, I was excited and curious and suggested to Paddy that we take a lunch-junket, which turned into two lunch junkets, which turned into plans to return as often possible.
Needless to say, we have been super impressed so far! On our first visit to see Chef Matt, I ordered, devoured, and then wrote about his daily special, a “Mexican BBQ” chicken taco, that I absolutely loved. On our second visit, I decided to go traditional with one borracho chicken taco and one carne asada taco.
Both tacos were pure perfection in my opinion. In fact, the carne asada was perhaps the best I’ve had in Asheville, in terms of the quality of the meat, and the way it was cooked medium rare on the grill. Cut into cubes larger than a sugar cube, but smaller than an ice cube, each piece had a very nice sear on the outside and was warm and pink on the inside. The beef was very tender, and delicious, the Mexican flavors were subtle, yet present. This was an excellent taco all around, as was my borracho chicken taco, which I found to be tender, juicy, and flavorful.
I enjoyed both of my tacos very much, but the big story here is actually how much Paddy enjoyed his shrimp taco. He. Raved. His face got all serious, and at first, I was, like, “Oh no. Not good?” But then he looked up at me and was all, like, “This is the BEST shrimp taco I have ever had.” Paddy doesn’t say stuff like that unless he really means it. I asked for one shrimp off of his taco, and yeah, it was fantastic. I will be ordering it the next time we go for sure.
For all of you, I highly recommend a trip to the Grey Eagle taqueria for lunch! Grab yourself any number of tacos, traditional or special, and with Chef Grush in the kitchen, “Grushin’ it” daily, you will not be let down!
UPDATE: As I was writing this post, Chef Matt and Team Grey Eagle took second place in the 2019 Asheville Taco Takeover. Congrats to them!