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

Monday, July 30, 2007

An Evening of Celebration and Poetry at Nakato

Saturday night, we celebrated Lady Steakhead’s birthday at Nakato on Cheshire Bridge. We reserved one of their Tatami rooms, a private room where you take off your shoes and sit on the floor. This particular room seated 14, and thank God, had a hole in the floor under the table where you could put your legs, so you did not need to sit cross-legged for three hours!

When you reserve this room, there is an option for a prix fix menu, but we went with the $15/pp. room charge (which includes two appetizers), and let everyone order a la carte. We even ordered a few sake-bombs, which was much more accepted than at Tomo. Our waitress set the shots of sake on two chopsticks over the glass of beer, however we separated the chopsticks by hand at the big moment (vs. banging the table very hard and have them fall in on their own).

As you would expect, Lady Steakhead and I ordered from the sushi menu with another couple. I thought the yellowtail, maguro, scallop, unagi and our assortment of rolls (rainbow, super-crunch and spicy tuna) were all excellent. We even splurged on the Toro. But for those not interested in sushi, there is an extensive Japanese menu of cooked items as well.

For this gala affair, Nakato offered everything I was looking for. It was different, and certainly fun. The private room allowed us to be goofy. And the service was very accommodating. I did miss the big spectacle when they brought the cake out, as I was in the bathroom at the time, but I won’t dock them too much for that, as they were really great in every other aspect of our dinner. (Next time, they should check with the person in charge before bringing the cake out.) And for those that came, here is one last haiku for you:

Thank you for coming,
And for all those great poems.
Yes Nick , even yours.

Steakhead Recommends: Yes
Price: $$$

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tomo: Nobu Protégé in Atlanta

Tomo may be one of the better kept secrets for Atlanta sushi. Chef Tom Naito worked for world renowned Master Sushi Chef Nobu Matsuhisa in his Las Vegas restaurant for three years, and has now opened his own place in Vinings. Located in a Kroger shopping center just south of Cumberland Mall on Cobb Parkway, it doesn’t ooze of hipness like the Nobu’s of Vegas or Tribeca, or the clubby feel of Morimoto’s in Philadelphia. We tried ordering some sake bombs, but the waitress made it pretty clear that such behavior was frowned upon. (She did bring us beer with our sake, but the sake glass wouldn’t fit all the way inside the beer glass, so it didn’t really work.) But make no mistake; the sushi is the real deal.

We started with the Yellowtail Serano Sashimi, which included six pieces of fish, each adorned with a small jalapeno slice. My friend told me this was one of Chef Nobu’s signature items, and I wouldn’t doubt it. Excellent. At that point, we decided to live large and go with the Omakase dinner. At $50 per person, half the price of a Nobu Omakase, it’s a relative bargain.

This Omakase featured about 6 plates, and I couldn’t even begin to describe most of them. The “Live Scallop” dish was extremely memorable, if for no other reason, the waitress said the mollusk was alive no more than an hour ago. Most plates are fairly small, so I was a little concerned if we would need to order more at the conclusion of the Omakase. The final plate is a fairly large assortment of sushi, so leaving hungry is not a concern.

The sake menu is fairly extensive, and we sampled several of their varieties (which probably explains the lack of detail in this review). So bottom line, I would like to take Lady Steakhead here and try this again sometime. Being on Cobb Parkway, there is no need to go ballistic on the sake again, so I may remember a little more (and spend a little less).

Steakhead Recommends: Yes
Price: $$$

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Those Silly French

There's a reason why I state on my blog that I rarely eat French. They just do things in a restaurant that I don't understand. I met a friend yesterday for lunch at the French American Brasserie, and for the most part it was pleasant enough, although, both us being sports-loving, steak eating guys, we found only one thing that sounded attractive- the roasted lamb sandwich. But for me, the whole meal will be remembered for one thing- no refills for our Diet Cokes.

I know this seems really trivial to harp on, but c'mon. A) It wasn't like they were giving us bottles or cans, these were fountain drinks. B) It's lunch time, and its not like I had the option of nice white from the Loire valley. C) This place can be pricey- Ordering off the lunch menu, with a roquefort and peppercorn oil for a bread (by the way- don't order this- totally not worth the $6 charge), and paying $5 to park we each spent over $25 for lunch. At dinner, you will be lucky to get out for under $50pp with a glass of wine and sharing an appetizer. Is there really a need for this kind of nickel and dime move when you are paying this much?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Blackstone- Good Steaks in Smynings

Amidst the pouring rain last Thursday night, I paid my first visit to Blackstone, a steakhouse in the growing Smynings area around South Atlanta Rd. I gotta say, I was pretty impressed. It was pleasant to go to a place in this area that appears to be a stand-alone establishment, instead of the Smynings version of another popular intown establishment. Once Atkins Park opened up there, I can’t get my friends who live in Smynings back in town anymore. (Oh, and now, McCray’s just opened a location on S. Atlanta Rd in the West Village complex, so this task will become infinitely harder.)

The service was decent, though we felt a little rushed when we first sat down. And I was a little annoyed at his insistence to take the extra napkins from our table when I needed them to dry myself off after walking in from the monsoon. But once the meal got going, he did fine.

For an appetizer, a friend and I split an order of the Asian Calamari which was outstanding. Lightly breaded, very tender and served with not an overpowering sweet plum sauce. For my steak, I ordered the “Cowboy Cut” bone-in ribeye. The meat was well marbled and very tender. The au poivre sauce I added was outstanding- full of peppercorns and I liked the fact that it was not as thick as some others I have had recently.

While some of the cuts will compare price-wise with the big boys in town, the meal in total wound up being about 15-20% less than a comparable meal at the high-end places. For example, while my steak was $39 when the au poivre sauce was added, my friend had the standard rib eye, which was only $28. You do get one side with your steak, so there isn’t a big need to order a la carte. And you can’t get into too much trouble with the appetizers here- no seafood tower on the menu.

With so many friends living in Smynings today, I can see hitting this place fairly frequently. The steak is definitely worthy, and with the extra $20 saved, that will at least pay for a couple of drinks at the Smynings versions of Atkins Park or McCray’s.

Steakhead Recommends: Yes
Price: $$$