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Installation (Wordpress Part): Steakhead's Atlanta Eats Blog: June 2005

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Doctor Is In

Now normally, a place that is based on the novel concept of healthy eating would not be close to a place you would find Steakhead. But when said concept comes from the folks who brought you Moe's and MaMa Fu's, well, I just had to try Doc Green's on Ponce de Leon. And you know what? Its pretty darned good!

"Healhty As You Wanna Be' is the motto of Doc Green's on Ponce de Leon and salad is the main attraction. In typical Moe's fashion, you direct how its ultimately made, including the type of lettuce, toppings, dressings and meat. Signature salads have Moe-like names such as the Dr. Rosen Rosen and Doctor Detroit. But for those looking for more substance in their meals, Doc also offers flatbread sandwiches. Of course, I highly recommend the sirloin steak sandwich.

Though Doc Green's does offer soup, a Roasted Tomato Bisque, which is outstanding, I was sort of hoping for more of a selection here. They used to have NE Clam Chowder, but removed it since the opening due to lack of sales.

The easy comparison here is to Atlanta Bread Company, and each has their own advantages. But Doc succeeds in creating a fun atmosphere for healthy lunches that will satisfy both the hungry and health conscious. And its proximity to Intown neighborhoods of Virginia Highlands, Inman Park and Midtown will help in creating another successful launch for the Raving Brands restuarant group. Grade: B+.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Chops is Tops

Steakhead celebrates two anniversaries this week. First and foremost, this weekend was the one year wedding anniversary of Lady Steakhead and yours truly. Second, this will mark the second month of writing the Atlanta Eats blog. To celebrate, we went to our favorite restaurant in town- the Lobster Bar at Chops. It was about time. I mean seriously, with a name like Steakhead, how could it take me two months to finally reveiw a real Steakhouse???

For those not familiar, Chops and Lobster Bar are actually two different restaurants that share the same menu. We start off at the bar at Chops for a couple of G & T's. This place is all about the service. "Good seeing you again, Mr. Steakhead!", "Shall I inform the Lobster Bar you are here, Mr. Steakhead". Love the personal touch. After a couple of drinks, we take the elevator downstairs to the Lobster Bar. Being from New York, I absolutely love the decor of this place, as it is modelled after the Grand Central Oyster Bar- arched tile ceiling, tile floors. However, unlike the Oyster Bar, this place is top notch in terms of ambiance. No long communal seating tables here.

We had a slight delay before getting seated and being greeted by our server. However, once this was rectified, we were waited on by two servers the rest of the night. Feeling like splurging, we started with the cold seafood tower, that includes 2 shrimp, 2 oysters and a half a small lobster for each person. The presentation of this is half the fun, but the real gem here are the shrimp. As a college friend once said, "they are the size of a pig's foot". I never understood this comment fully, but I think he meant they were large. Definitely the case here. The lobster was good, but a tad messy for this kind of meal, and I probably will look at just the shrimp and maybe the steak tartare or smoked salmon next time (can't do oysters, so that part is wasted on me).

For the main course, I went with my old standby, the bone-in rib eye. This continues to be the best steak I have had. Chops has an option for adding a blue cheese, bacon and garlic drizzle to their steaks, and while usually not a "sauce" guy when it comes to steaks, this is actually a great complement to the meat. And when you add the quality of the meat, the marbled texture of the ribeye, and the tenderness that comes with a bone-in cut, you are left with an extraordinary carnivorous experience.

Lady Steakhead opted for the veal chop. For me, it was another reminder that I had asbolutely married the right woman. No petite filet or crab cakes for her, bring on the veal chop! The cuts were both ample, so Fenway (our Boston Terrier) was lucky enough to received two bones and meat for two days. Our servers were great and even brought us some chocolate cake to celebrate our anniversary on the house.

There is no doubt that this is our place. We won't come often, because its not the cheapest night in the world. But for special occasions, this place is at the top of our list. Food, service, ambiance- this place has it all. Grade: A+.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Barbecue & Blues Bash in East Cobb

Ok- I know I just published a BBQ Top 5 list, and I say I am an Intown guy. But I stumbled across Same & Dave's BBQ 1 joint on Lower Roswell Rd this morning and I feel I need to post this. This hole in the wall BBQ joint is outstanding. Not the kind of place to eat at (though we did at one of their 3 tables), as it is more of a take out place. Their award winning claim stems for numerous BBQ Contest trophies they have proudly dispalyed, including the king of contests, the American Royal in Kansas City.

This Saturday July 2nd, they are hosting their first Barbecue & Blues Bash in their parking lot. From noon til "late" they will have All You Can Eat (Steakhead's favorite words) pulled pork, ribs, chicken, corn, Brunswick Stew and more. Live blues from the Blues Barons. Cost is $20 per adult and kids under 12 eat free. Sam & Dave's BBQ 1 is located at 49444 Lower Roswell Rd, just east of Johnson Ferry.

Couple of things to have in mind. One- they didn't take credit cards today, so this is a cash deal. Two- I would not expect alcohol. But this place is making me seriously rethink my Top 5 list.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Unpretentious Imari is a Sushi Hit

Chances are you've driven by it countless times and never knew it existed. Located in a bland strip mall on Peachtree St near Peachtree Battle, Imari delivers the goods in terms of top notch sushi in Atlanta.

I first heard about Imari about 2 years ago, when an article in the AJC stated the local Japanese contingent had migrated from Soto to Imari when Soto was temporarily closed. The first thing you will notice is the very basic Japanese themed interior. This is not an LA club disguised as a sushi bar. Imari places their emphasis on other areas of the dining experience, instead of an eclectic or fancy decor. The next thing you may notice is that it never seems too crowded. Don't let this distract you. The sushi is amongst the best in the city, with slightly better prices than the pretentious MF Sushibar and the reknowned Soto.

The menu is an extensive assortment of sushi and traditional Japanese fare. Lady Steakhead and I started with a bowl of miso soup and some seaweed salad. We next moved to the rolls. The Dynamite Roll (formerly called Gekkikari Roll) is the best spicy roll in the city. Crunchy spicy tuna with an extra topping of hot sauce. We also tried the Volcano Roll. Not a traditional roll, the Volcano features a California Roll in a bowl, covered with a concoction of partially cooked tuna, clams, spciy mayo and rooster sauce (the spicy red sauce served in Asian cuisine- named for the rooster sketch on the bottle).

The Nigiri is also amongst the best in town. The yellowtail being the best of the best. We splurged on the Toro (fatty tuna from the tuna belly), though it was just a tad rubbery and not worth $5 a piece price tag.

So, you ask- How did the bill compare to the pricier places in town? It is definitely more reasonable than MF or Soto, but you can get into trouble when ordering a la carte. Imari does offer several complete sushi and sashimi dinner options that may be a better deal at the end of the day. But we like the rolls so much, that it wouldn't be a huge saver for us.

Bottom line is this place is a must for the true sushi lover in Atlanta. I have been to the places that consider themselves the best, but this place is truly it. Grade: A.

PS- Steakhead finally reviews a steakhouse. Coming this weekend!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Chocolate! 2005

This Thursday night, some of the finest dining establishments in Atlanta will be joining hands in the fight against Cystic Fibrosis for the fifth annual Chocolate fundraiser. The venue is Villa Christina off of Ashford Dunwoody Rd. A great opprtunity to taste desserts from some of the finest chefs in town, while supporting a very worthwhile cause. The press release is below...

ATLANTA (May 2005) – It’s a wonderful way to support a cause but a sinful way to support a diet! Chocolate! 2005, the fifth annual fundraiser for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), will be held on Thursday, June 23 at Villa Christina in Dunwoody from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $55 in advance and $65 at the door. For more information and to place ticket orders, visit, or contact CFF at 404-325-6973. Villa Christina is located at Perimeter Summit off Ashford Dunwoody Road.

Atlanta’s top bakers, chefs, vintners and caterers will be featured at the festival, providing hundreds of chocolate delicacies for attendees to enjoy. Participants include Aria, Atlanta Chocolate Fountains, Buckhead Bread Company, Buckhead Wedding Cakes, Canoe, The Capital Grille, Chef Eric Catering, City Grill, Fifth Group Restaurants, Max Lager’s American Grille and Brewery, Murphy’s, Park 75, Pura Vida, Rainwater, Rathbun’s, Royal Cup Coffee Company, Roy’s, The Café at East Andrews and Villa Christina.

Although chocolate tastings take main stage, a chocolate martini bar sponsored by Grey Goose and a full dinner buffet presented by Villa Christina will be served, along with live entertainment by The Dave Bass Ensemble, a silent auction and a cash bar.

Honorary Chair of Chocolate! 2005 is George McKerrow Jr., co-owner/CEO of Ted’s Montana Grill and partner in We’re Cooking Restaurants, Inc. Host Chair is Wes Moss from “The Apprentice 2.” Corporate sponsors include the The Coca-Cola Company and Solvay Pharmaceuticals.

Chocolate! 2005 is a unique Atlanta event that expects 650 attendees and has a goal of $60,000 net for cystic fibrosis research.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was established in 1955 to assure the development of a cure and to improve the quality of life for those with the disease. Cystic fibrosis is an aggressive, genetic disease that affects approximately 30,000 children and adults in the United States. In the last two decades, research funded by CFF has almost doubled the median survival age for people with cystic fibrosis from 18 years to the early 30s. Successful events such as Chocolate! and the generous contributions of volunteers and sponsors are responsible for funding this state-of-the-art scientific research.

Help Needed: A Decent Deli

Okay, its time for audience participation. Born and bred in New Jersey, there were two things I never had to look to far to find- a good deli and decent cheesesteak. Having lived in Atlanta for almost 10 years, I am about to throw up my arms and admit defeat. I can't find a good deli. The best Italian sub I have found to date comes from a chain aptly named Jersey Mike's. Someone put me on to Jason's Deli, but after a visit this weekend, I left disappointed. Don't get me wrong, the food was okay, but it wasn't a Northeaster deli. No Italian subs unless I made my own, and the meats selection didn't have names that sounded like they came from Tony Soprano's refrigerator (no mortadell capicolla).

So I am seeking input from anyone in Atlanta that can help satisfy my cravings for a taste of New Jersey. And I am willing to hear suggestions that are OTP (this will become clear in a future post). Until this weekend, when I review the best steakhouse in Atlanta, have a great week!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

June Top 5 List- Best Barbecue

Now, before I write this, I know that Atlantans and Southerners are about as loyal to their particular flavor of barbecue as they are to their college football team. And telling someone from Texas that a Carolina barbecue joint is the best in the city, well, you might as well tell them that the Tarheels would kick UT any day of the week. But the great thing about Atlanta is that we have just about every flavor of barbecue represented, and Steakhead is here to break it down for you.

5- Fat Matt's. Personally, I think this place is overrated. The ribs are often more gristle than meat, the parking situation is atrocious, and when the band is playing you can't hear yourself talk. But it does offer some amenities. The Morningside location makes it easily accessible to numerous locations and it does have character.

4- Rolling Bones. A newcomer to the Atlanta barbecue scene, Rolling Bones specializes in Texas style barbecue. They are housed in a converted 1940 gas station on Edgewood Ave. near downtown. The full menu offers ribs, plates and sandwiches for eat in or take out, though the ribs are really their centerpiece. The meat is "fall-off-the bone" and the sauce is rich enough to please the most discriminating Texan.

3- Williamson Brothers. This Marietta-based barbecue joint has the look. From the road, you can see the smoke rising from the pit where they specialize in traditional Southern barbecue. And the wood-paneled exterior resembles something you would expect to find in rural Alabama (owners are from Taladega), than suburban Marietta. Their specialty is the sauce which they sell from their location and via numerous local retailers. The all you can eat special for $8.49 will leave you full for a week.

2- One Star Ranch (formerly Rib Ranch).The barbecue shack in the parking lot of the olf Rio Bravo has been a Buckhead mainstay for 20 years. Get a bucket of Lone Stars and the pork plate and you'll think you're in Texas! Add the 'Tub O' Rings' to add insult to injury.

1- Dusty's. Located at the corner of Briarcliff and Clifton near Emory, Dusty's specializes in Carolina style barbecue. While I admit this style of barbecue is an acquired taste, Dusty's does it about as good as anyone. With numerous vinegar-based sauces to augment your pulled pork, and of course the hushpuppies, Dusty's has earned the top spot in Steakhead's Best Barbecue list.

Of course, feel free to chime in if you're from Alabama and can't fathom why Dreamland didn't make the list, or for any other comments or concerns.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Ciao at McCray's

Several months ago, I heard about a new Irish bar in Midtown that served very good Italian food. At first, I thought I misheard. It just seemed absurd. My first trip to McCray's 6th Street Tavern was after the Park Tavern St. Patrick's Day party, and to be honest, while I know I had fun, I didn't remember much about the food. After a return visit on Friday night, I know why. The food isn't really that memorable.

Now, don't get me wrong. McCray's offers many beers on tap, a good-looking clientele, a couple of plasma TVs and a rumor of a beer garden coming in the back and has established itself as one of the best bars in Midtown. I will definitely go back to drink a few pints. But, this isn't necessarily a blog about fun bars. Its about food, and McCray's isn't worth the trip for the food alone. Its a fun bar, that has better food that your standard bar fare. But to call this "very good Italian food" is a big-time stretch. First, the menus is fairly limited. And the items that are featured you would expect to find in a Holiday Inn's "Italian Night"- spaghetti and meatballs, rigatoni with meat sauce, chicken parm and you pretty much have it covered. Not that the rigatoni is bad, but its sort of average as far as Italian food is concerned. With the plethora of other dining options in Midtown, I would definitely hit a place like Little Azio's or Baraonda first, and then hit McCray's around 10 or 11- when the place begins to fill up. Of course, after an all-day alcohol-centric event like St. Patrick's Day or this weekend's Music Midtown, a trip to McCray's may actually hit the spot. Grade: C+

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Grand Opening at The Real Chow Baby

Tonight was the official Grand Opening Party at The Real Chow Baby, and Steakhead was one of the lucky ones to receive an invitation. By all accounts, owner Mike Blum has to be pleased. Valet parking was full by 10pm, and it was standing room only of good-looking twenty and thirty-somethings sampling the sake, enjoying various munchies, checking out the Mongolian Grill in full operation and hanging to the tunes of the house DJ. It was as if the usual weekend scene at Compound had shifted for the night around the corner to Chow Baby's 11th and Howell Mill address. Panoz Motor Sports even had one of their American Le Mans cars adorned with the Chow Baby logo parked outside. If creating a scene in the trendy Westside location was his intention, Blum succeeded. In any event, Chow Baby continues to be one the good new stories in intown dining in 2005