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Asheville NC: 12 Bones Smokehouse

12 Bones in the River Arts district is a happenin' place. The line when I arrived took about 10 (15?) minutes; by the time I finished the line was over twice as long, curved around the edge of the building. They do keep things moving and have plenty of both tables and parking.

This is my wedge salad, which is a great spin on the steakhouse standard. As you can see, it comes with loads of onion crisps. The dressing is a spicy ranch. The heat is perfectly balanced---it gets your attention, then lingers, but never becomes unpleasant. My only critique is that the dressing was served on the side and much of it ended up on the onion crisps; I would have preferred to have more of it land on the iceberg. The cornbread is great; is that molasses I taste and see in the bread?

I couldn't come to a restaurant named 12 Bones without ordering ribs. I ordered without sides since I wanted to try the salad. The rib meat pulled off the bone with just the tiniest amount of effort. They have a daily choice of sauces for the bones. I went for nekkid, which is just a rub. This allowed me to try two sauces: the Carolina vinegar and the spicy mustard. Both were great but I found the vinegar sauce to be a great complement to the pig.

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