Avant-Garde Tapas in the Smoky Mountains
Up-and-coming chef Katie Button is bringing the creative energy of the Barcelona avant-garde to her new cocktail-and-dessert bar in North Carolina.
Katie Button's story would make an excellent movie. Once a promising neuroscience PhD candidate, she parlayed a waitressing job at José Andrés’s Café Atlántico in Washington, DC, into a pastry internship at the famed El Bulli in Spain—then transformed that into a budding restaurant empire in Asheville, North Carolina. Her tapas bar Cúrate brilliantly tweaks classic dishes (a ribbon of the airiest mayonnaise accompanies white asparagus). Her new place is Nightbell, a dressed-up bar with terrific desserts and snacks. There, she channels her El Bulli mentor, Albert Adrià, creating snacks like spiced caramel corn and drinks like a root beer float with a snowball of shaved ice, house-made root beer syrup and vanilla-infused bourbon. It’s Barcelona meets the South. Nightbell, 32 S. Lexington Ave.; thenightbell.com.