This is usually the time of year I try to target at least a restaurant or two in Sevier County. In the off-season, the traffic isn’t that bad, which makes the experience a lot less stressful. However, when one hears of a new upscale eatery in the easily accessible heart of downtown Sevierville, the excitement for venturing into Tourism Central increases dramatically.
So I felt like I was trying The Appalachian, which is on Bruce Street not far from the courthouse. The Grub spouse and I made reservations for a final week and were greeted by one of the owners who held the front door for us and greeted us warmly. From there we were escorted to a table in the main dining room. An adjacent bar area offers additional table seating.
The menu is prone to variation during the week and includes products and ingredients sourced from partners across the region and in the greater Appalachia area. These include household names like Cruze Farm Dairy and Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Ham, as well as the more distant Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork in North Carolina and JQ Dickenson Saltworks in Charleston, West Virginia.
Starters the night we had dinner included fried chicken shells, butter bean hummus, and smoked trout dip. We tried the Buffalo Frog Legs ($ 12) served with blue cheese and spiral celery. The stack of eight legs was covered generously in flavorful buffalo sauce, and each leg was remarkably meaty. The taste struck me as more fishy than chicken-like, and it was distinctive enough not to be overwhelmed by the sauce.
The Appalachian serves half a dozen different steaks, including a cowboy ribeye, a prime porterhouse, and a Kansas City strip. I ordered the 10-ounce (and oxymoronically named) filet mignon on the bone ($ 45), which was actually one of the less expensive cuts. I asked for my medium-rare, no additives like sautéed mushrooms or blue cheese. However, since steaks don’t come with side dishes, I ordered potato cakes a la carte for $ 6. Other sides are grilled broccolini, roasted garlic cabbage, french fries, and mashed potatoes.
The spouse chose from the other main dishes. That night there was duck breast, roast chicken, pork tenderloin and grouper. The spouse got the rainbow trout ($ 30) served with baby greens with spring onions, grilled strawberries, chive flower vinegar, and flavored pecans.
While we waited, we toured the dining room, the walls of which were adorned with the colorful and imaginative artwork of Maryville College art professor Carl Gombert. Overall, the dining room lets in lots of light from the street side, and the back end of the room is dominated by the open kitchen concept. The tables were sufficiently spaced and the staff was well masked.
Our two starters were excellent. The large trout fillet offered a mild but tasty experience for the palate, and the green mix embedded between the fillet halves was uniquely multi-sensory in appearance, taste and texture. My steak was cooked as requested, and even the 10 ounce serving turned out to be more than adequate. The cut itself was tender, juicy, and full of bold flavor. I also liked the two pan seared mashed potato cakes I ordered and the free serving of iron pan breaded cornbread was second to none. I can usually take or leave cornbread, but this perfectly prepared sample earned me kudos. The two wedges I cut out weren’t too sweet and benefited from a generous scoop of melted butter served on top.
We barely had room for dessert, but we tried two different ones – the cherry Coca-Cola cake for you and the strawberry shortcake for The Spouse ($ 10 each). The shortcake, strawberries, and Chantilly cream served over a buttermilk biscuit were a fun and tasty twist on a classic. I liked the Coca-Cola cake even more. The cherry and cola flavor of the cake was unmistakable, even when topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a pinch of candied peanuts.
The service was top notch as one would hope and expect in a venue at this price point (our three course meal with tax and tip was around $ 150, no alcohol). Our waiter was very polite and helpful and made sure our food ran at a relaxed but comfortable pace.
The Appalachian doesn’t seem like a big draw for the typical Smoky Mountain tourist, but I suspect it will make it more attractive to locals and visitors like me from neighboring counties. I would hope that that would be enough to keep it here in the mountains for a long time to come.
The atmosphere: 4.5
A total of: 4.5
Address: 133 Bruce Street, Sevierville
Complete bar service
Hours: Tuesdays to Thursdays from 4pm to 9pm; Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
This downtown Sevierville restaurant’s upscale approach to Mediterranean cuisine and impeccable service make it a must-see in the Great Smoky Mountains.