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Installation (Wordpress Part): Steakhead's Atlanta Eats Blog: August 2006

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

New Restaurant & Brewery for the Northsiders

Thanks to Ashley Freeman who sent me the following press release regarding a new midscale restaurant and brewery in Alpharetta called Embers Grill. A place that that focuses on meats and beer will definitely attract Steakhead’s attention. The Warm Ale House Cheese Fondue looks yummy too. I don’t think my cardiologist is going to approve of this, but I may have to pay this place a visit soon. The address is 3655 Old Milton Parkway, and the phone number is 770-751-8880.

Embers Grill Opens In Alpharetta
Restaurant Features Grilled Cuisine with Georgian Twist, Handcrafted Beer Recipes

Alpharetta, Ga. (August 28, 2006) – Embers Grill, a new restaurant concept featuring all-fresh grilled cuisine using native Georgia products and ingredients recently opened in Alpharetta.
Specializing in innovative grilled dishes and original beers brewed on-site at the restaurant’s own brewery, Embers Grill offers a welcoming dining atmosphere at affordable prices. The unique and masterful menu offers only fresh ingredients, many of which are grown and produced in the state of Georgia. Brewmaster Julie Baggett has also integrated her art into the menu and is featuring many menu items flavored by Embers own specialty beer.

“My lifelong dream is finally coming true, and I couldn’t be more impressed with the team we have assembled at Embers Grill,” said owner Gilles Maillet. “We are committed to offering our customers a higher standard of personal service – a level of service they cannot experience at traditional chain restaurants. This is the goal of our entire team – from the kitchen to our service staff.”

Gilles Maillet knows what it takes to run a successful restaurant, as a seasoned restaurant veteran who has had extensive international experience in the industry. After training in France and Switzerland, Maillet was responsible for the successful operation of various chain restaurant divisions in South America including Pizza Hut and TGI Friday’s. After moving to Atlanta he oversaw multiple Panera Bread locations through the metro area. His wife, Cynthia, is also involved with the operations at Embers Grill.

Embers Grill features fresh grilled dishes throughout its lunch, dinner and bar menus, many of which utilize their own in-house brewed beer and native Georgia ingredients. House specialties include grilled meats, including various cuts of steak, pork chops, poultry and seafood. Appetizers range from $5.99 – $10.99 and main entrees range from $12.99 - $24.99.

Menu highlights include:
· Warm Ale House Cheese Fondue
· Georgian Seafood Chowder
· Embers House Salad with a Georgia Peach Vinaigrette
· Embers Peppercorn House Angus
· A Variety of Grilled Meats accompanied by your choice of sauces including: Peppercorn, Black Cherry Ginger, Thai Chili, Mango Ginger, and Hollandaise
· Homemade Gelato

Beer highlights include:
· Ka-Chung Kölsch – the lightest selection, a light German ale
· Dunkfest – a German-style brown ale, with specialty German malts
· Embers Pale Ale – a British-based malt, dry-hopped with Willamette and Horizon hops
· Disorder Porter – an imperial honey-oat porter

The newly renovated restaurant interior gives off an upscale “ski lodge” ambiance, with heavy wooden décor highlighted by contemporary accents, including a fireplace centerpiece. The décor creates a welcoming dining atmosphere throughout its large dining room and bar area. The in-house brewery has also been upgraded to a 15 barrel pub system. Wireless Internet service will be available in the restaurant.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Good Egg- Old Meat Packing Plant Transformed into Trendy Cafe

The West Midtown area is quickly becoming one of my favorite restaurant neighborhoods in Atlanta. I have already written about very positive experiences at Spoon and Real Chow Baby, and have been a long-time fan of Taqueria del Sol for years. Last week, I had the pleasure of checking out the West Egg Café for the first time at the suggestion of my former boss. Another winner!

West Egg Café on Howell Mill and 14th St. is a breakfast and lunch café that follows the loft concept that is prevalent within the area. While some lofts are new construction, the West Egg is actually situated in a 1930s addition of an old meat packing plant (it appears we have a trendy Meat Packing District as well!). The menu is presented on large colorful chalkboards located behind the counter. Lunch is primarily salads and gourmet sandwiches.

I had my eye on the Turkey Meatloaf from the moment I walked in, but when I saw a Fried Green Tomato BLT on the specials board, my world went into a tailspin. Decisions, decisions. In the end, my Southern upbringing (well, okay, I am not from the South, but in reality, who in Atlanta is??) pushed me to the Fried Green Tomato BLT and a decision I did not regret. And trying to be a little healthier, I love the fact that all sandwiches are served with your choice of a side salad, soup or fruit cup.

I recently wrote an article of there not being a ton of choices around Centennial Olympic Park. I still am standing by that statement (look for a future write-up on SideBar, for another option in this area). However, a short drive up Marietta St. to Howell Mill Rd. will uncover a plethora of good eateries perfect for lunch hour. Add the West Egg Café to this list.

Steakhead Recommends: Yes
Price: $

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Grant Park Summer Shade Festival- Corks & Forks

There is an all-star food event taking place this weekend August 26th and 27th at the Grant Park Summer Shade Festival. The event is called Corks and Forks, and from 12-4pm each day, you will be able to taste offerings from a veritable “Who’s Who” of Atlanta chefs including: Sheri Davis – Dish, Michael Tuohy - Woodfire Grill, Jason Hill – Wisteria, Karen Hilliard - Georgia Grille, Scott Serpas - Two Urban Licks and Kevin Rathbun - Rathbun's. Wine and beer will also be served.

Tickets are $25 in advance (call 404-521-0938) or $30 at the gate.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

High Flair and High Prices at Rosa Mexicana

Today was one of those days I really wished I had a camera phone (my new Treo is due to arrive tomorrow). I had lunch with an old colleague at Rosa Mexicana at Atlantic Station today, and presentation is one thing this place does very well, and unfortunately, I was not able to capture that moment. Even the iced tea, which is served individually in a small pitcher with a side of vanilla for sweetener, is all about effect.

Everyone I know that has been to Rosa talks about the tableside-prepared Guacamole, so that was a must for starters. It’s quite impressive- they wheel a large cart up to the table and mash all the ingredients right in front of your eyes. The good news is I now know how to make guacamole- chopped jalapenos, cilantro, salt all mashed together, then add chopped onion, tomato and spoon out one avocado, mash a little more and voila! It’s definitely worth trying once, and while its maybe worth the hype, it may not be worth the $10 price tag. (It does seem pretty easy to make- maybe I’ll open a small little guacamole stand outside the restaurant and sell for $5). The guacamole is served with chips, soft tortillas and several salsas that are also quite tasty.

For our entrees, we each had the beef tacos. Again, the presentation is king. Your tray has a small plate of medium-rare bites of beef, several small dishes with beans and corn, and a small spout of salsa. One small “beef” with this dish is that the meat is served in a dish with a layer of melted cheese. After a while, the grease from the meat and the melted cheese mixes into this unhealthy, “make an appointment with the cardiologist” layer of goop. I think it would have been better to have the cheese separate from the meat, even if it means the cheese isn’t melted.

The downside of Rosa Mexicana is price. With each entrée priced above $10, and guacamole costing $10, I wound up spending $25 for lunch. I could almost eat a week of lunches for this, and it’s not like I had lobster. I’d like to try it again for dinner to see how the margaritas are, how the menu expands for the evening hours, and most importantly, to see if I get out for less than $100 for two.

Steakhead Recommends: Jury Still Out
Price: $$$

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Best of the Big A???

For those new to town, do yourself a huge favor and completely avoid the AJC's "Best of the Big A" results that have just been released. I don't know who is voting for these categories, but they are wrong on just about every one. Take for instance the love of the megachain restaurant. Maggiano's is NOT the Best Italian. PF Chang's is NOT the Best Chinese. Benihana is NOT the Best Japanese. To be honest, these places shouldn't have even been on the list. I would definitely argue with Ruth's Chris as the Best Steakhouse. RuSan's is a complete joke as the Best Sushi.

I know this is a Reader's Choice poll, but c'mon people. The folks that voted on any of the aforementioned restaurtants, need to get out more. Or, perhaps we can introduce a requirement that only those who know what they are talking about are allowed to vote. Hmmm. That actually may not be a bad idea for our choosing our elected officials as well...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Guys Beware at Metro Fresh

Metro Fresh in the Midtown Promenade is not your typical Steakhead kind of place. But after my annual physical last week, and Steakhead’s need to lower his cholesterol, it’s the kind of place I was willing to try. You see, I still believe I can find a healthy eating option that I will enjoy going to. Unfortunately, Metro Fresh is not that option for me.

The first thing I noticed upon walking in was that I was that the place was packed with women. If you’re single and in a bar, this is a good thing. If you’re in a restaurant, I get nervous. (No offense, but women tend to have different tastes- and appetites- from me.) Metro Fresh is definitely a “chick” place. The menu, which changes daily, is dynamic enough- today they had several hot and cold soups, a couple of salads, and two sandwiches. However, the sandwiches are pre-made so there isn’t any room for improv. They tend to be fu-fu, such as brie with turkey, so if you want simple, you'll be out of luck. Portion sizes are not large, so with my Steakhead appetite, I needed an appetizer of tomato with mozzarella salad (which was good, mind you) along with my bowl of soup (and no combos, guys, so you’ll pay a la carte prices to have both).

Look, I’m all up for the healthy eating thing. But if I am going to have a sandwich, send me to a good ole’ fashion deli any day of the week, where they make the thing the way I want it at the time I order it. Places like Atlanta Bread Company and Panera do this well, while still offering soups, salads and a degree of fu-fu for the women-folk.

Steakhead Recommends: No
Price: $-$$