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Installation (Wordpress Part): Steakhead's Atlanta Eats Blog: April 2007

Monday, April 23, 2007

Shaun Doty Saves the Evening

Friday night was looking like a complete loss. The SweetWater 420 Fest in Candler Park was by far the lamest festival I have ever attended in Atlanta. Parking was a nightmare. With only two trucks, the beer lines were easily 30 minutes plus. One of the bands (and I use that term loosely) was so bad, the person or committee in charge of booking the talent must have been stoned out of their mind when listening to their demo tape. Actually, judging by a good number of the patrons, this would have been fitting.

After about 2 hours, Lady Steakhead and I decided to try to salvage the night with a trip to Shaun’s in Inman Park. And salvage it, we did. After bouncing from executive chef gigs at Mid-City Cuisine and Table 1280, Shaun Doty opened his own restaurant in the space previously occupied by The Patio. The first thing I noticed is how big and open this place is compared to The Patio.

Our server, Lindsay, was outstanding. I really gave her free reign to provide us a meal that would showcase the Shaun’s experience. She started us off with the Crispy Sardinian Flatbread, a wonderful concoction of flatbread, arugula, sliced parmigian, and oil. After quickly polishing that off, we ordered the beef tartare as a second appetizer. While this was very good, I like the pomp and circumstance of the table-side preparation at Chops, and would probably leave my tartare cravings for those visits going forward.

Lindsay did such a great job on ordering our appetizer, I let her have a go at my main course as well. She came back with the pork chop “schnitzel”. Much like a German Wienerschnitzel, the chop is a very thin cut with a tonkatsu-like fried breading. I loved this choice, not only because it was so good, but also because I probably would have looked right past it if I ordered on my own. Lady Steakhead went with the shrimp and grits. She quickly proclaimed that dish the best shrimp and grits she has ever had. Too often, shrimp and grits is a very bland and dry dish, but Doty’s version, served with a poached egg, was full of flavor, and not in the least bit grainy.

By the end of our evening at Shaun’s, I had forgotten how the night started. Shaun’s gets high praise from me on all accounts- food, service, atmosphere and price. For those heading down to the Inman Park festival this weekend, this would be a worthwhile addition to your day.

Steakhead Recommends: Yes
Prices: $$-$$$

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sweetwater 420 Fest- Today in Candler Park

Now that the weather has finally taken a turn toward Spring (wtf- I moved from NJ to get away from Aprils like this), nothing could hit the spot better than being outside for some live music and good beer! To celebrate Earth Day, be sure to check out Sweetwater 420 Fest in Candler Park from 2-11pm today. I am not a tree-hugger by nature, in fact, far from it. But I look at this much like I do St. Patrick's Day or Cinco de Mayo. I'm not Irish or Mexican either, but if it means drinking good beer, I'm in! After the Fest, I'll be looking to check out one of the area restaurants in Candler or Inman Park, so look for a new review this weekend.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Let's Go Thrashers!

I got my first Thrashers season ticket plan when they moved here in 1999, looking ahead to this game tonight. Mind you, it has taken a bit longer than I probably thought back then, but tonight we celebrate what will hopefully be the first of many play-off home games for the Boys of Blueland.

I will be enjoying a pre-game brew at McCormick & Schmick's around 6pm before heading into the game. But for those looking to take advantage of the McCormick's Happy Hour menu- including the best bargain around the arena...the $1.95 cheeseburger- I would advise getting there around 5pm. Unlike many other Thrasher games, this one will be a sellout, and will be an early arriving crowd.

Go Thrashers!!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Not Hip Enough for Fune Sushi

Bert Weiss of Q100 fame recently listed Fune Sushi as one of the best things about living in Atlanta. Bert Weiss also didn’t think a free promotion to Six Flags during Spring Break would be too popular. Maybe the pollen has gotten to his senses. To get right to it, Fune Sushi should be avoided by anyone over the age of 30.

Fune Sushi, located in the Spire building in Midtown is following the all-too-popular theme of nightclub/sushi bar. Club music beats on and on in this place, where neon lights constantly rotate on the arching walls and ceiling. The sushi bar sits in the middle, with two conveyor belts rotating around the chairs and tables that surround the bar. Let’s talk about the conveyor belt for a minute. I’ve seen several of these kinds of places in LA, and the places that have them are more about the gimmick than good sushi. Unlike those places though, at Fune, only rolls are served on the conveyor belt. From our vantage point, it was impossible to tell what kinds of rolls they were and you had no idea how long they had been on the belt. So, since you had to do the majority of your ordering from the waiter anyway, the belt seemed completely useless. I didn’t really see anyone adventurous enough to take anything off of it.

Speaking of the waiter, ours was so bad, it was somewhat comical. He ignored us for at least the first 15 minutes, with the exception to ask if we were still waiting on people. He brings the sushi out without plates. And he forgets part of the sushi order. Then there is the thing about the table décor. Each place setting has a small dish, about the same size as a wasabi dish, with a white tablet in it. I was about to pour soy sauce in it, but figured I would first ask why the wasabi was white. The waiter says, “Hold on a minute and I’ll show you what that is.” He comes back with a pitcher of water, pours it in the dish, and low and behold, the white tablet begins to rise and turns into a hot towel. I can’t make this stuff up. WHY NOT JUST GIVE ME A HOT TOWEL AND BE DONE WITH IT??? He did bring us free shots, so I’ll give him some props for that.

As for food, there were actually a couple of winners here. The Hamachi was outstanding, and the Kamekaze Roll with spicy hamachi was a great call. The salmon nigiri was very smooth, although cut a little too big. The maguro, unagi, tai and spicy tuna rolls were good, although not spectacular. The prices are fairly standard for sushi bars these days- $5 for two pieces of nigiri, $10-$12 for specialty rolls.

Someone suggested I’m just not hip enough for the place, and I’m not going to deny it. The bar area was buzzing when we left, so maybe it’ll become more nightclub than sushi bar, and for those looking for that kind of scene, I suppose it will suffice. But to call this one of the best things about Atlanta? Hardly.

Steakhead Recommends: No
Cost : $$-$$$

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Small Plates, Smaller Tables at Krog Bar

For a place without a stove, Krog Bar serves some pretty amazing food. But when they say “small plates” they aren’t kidding. Lady Steakhead and I met some friends there Saturday, and I tried to warn them this is tapas in its truest sense (meaning, don’t come hungry). Maybe I should have done a better job of warning myself, since I needed a drive-thru stop at Steak n Shake on the way home!

Krog Bar is a Kevin Rathbun creation and is literally a tin shack in the parking lot of his reknowned restaurant in the Stove Works in Inman Park. I would say Krog Bar is a wine bar first, and the wine menu is relatively easy to navigate. The wait staff was very helpful in directing us to glasses of red that satisfied our varied tastes. The seating, both inside and outside was limited. We sat outside, huddled around two tiny tables that could barely fit our glasses of wine , and maybe one or two plates. I don’t know what the word for small table is in Spanish, but that may be a better descriptor of this place than “tapas” (small plate).

As I mentioned, there is no stove at Krog Bar, despite it being located in a place called the Stove Works. Usually at tapas places, I figure two plates per person will fill you up. At Krog Bar, you’ll need to increase that. Our party of four had nine plates and two desserts, and it wasn’t nearly enough.

I would call out the plates that stood out for me, but really they all did. I liked the beef carpaccio so much, I had a second plate for dessert. We had one plate with these nuggets of tuna sashimi with a soy glaze. There was this special with pieces of smoked salmon topped with anchovy that was aces. The chorizo finger sandwiches and the hot salami were also big hits.

I doubt I will return to Krog Bar for a full meal again. Between the four of us, we spent well over $200, and still left hungry. However, the atmosphere is wonderful, and it is definitely worth a pre- or post- dinner stop for a glass of wine and a plate or two. I know I will plan on stopping by after a meal at Kevin Rathbun Steak when it opens in early May!

Steakhead Recommends: Yes (but not for a full dinner)
Cost: $$-$$$

Monday, April 02, 2007

Go Buckeyes!

Steakhead will be rooting strongly for Ohio State tonight for several reasons. First (and foremost), I win my bracket pool with a Buckeye win. Second, I have been hanging out with a group of Ohio State fans all weekend and would like to see them go home happy. Speaking of happy, eight of us did a marathon session at Fogo last night. Two and a half hours...a new Steakhead record. Let me tell you, these guys are some serious eaters! Once the cards turned green, the only breaks these guys took was a bathroom break. As for me, I think I consumed a months worth of fat and sodium. It may be days before I eat again.