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Installation (Wordpress Part): Steakhead's Atlanta Eats Blog: June 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Maxim Prime- A Prime View, But Little Else

Reading the initial reviews of Maxim Prime, I was expecting a lounge that resembled a brothel, an expensive but fully satisfying steakhouse, and a very guy-oriented experience with Maxim Magazine's name attached to it. I got none of these. The lounge is much more Fur Bus than Whorehouse, the restaurant was nothing special, and is definitely not a "guys" steakhouse. The only saving grace about this place is the rooftop lounge with a fantastic view of the city.

The lounge on the ground floor of the Glenn Hotel is bizarre. Maybe this would be trendy as some speakeasy in the Village, but just outside the elegant bar of the Glenn Hotel, it seems very out of place. It's not very big, and as I mentioned above, the decor is very reminiscent of the inside of the Fur Bus. Two top shelf drinks cost $23, and they were out of Bombay Sapphire. How can a bar be out of Sapphire at 8pm?

The main restaurant is located on the second floor, and is a definite step up decor wise. According to our waiter, its supposed to be a "steakhouse you can take girls to". Odd that Maxim has attached its name to the place if that's the concept. And since when can't I bring my wife to Lobster Bar or New York Prime? The steak offerings were limited but not overly priced. A couple of filets, a strip, a skirt and a flat iron, all priced in the $20-30 range. No bone-in ribeye for one, but there was a 32-oz. bone-in for two, which a friend and I split. Unlike Kevin Rathbun's porterhouse which is a great dish to share, the ribeye doesnt really work as a "for 2" dish. The slices are too inconsistent when precut, with some being outstanding, and others containing too much gristle or fat.

The menu also features "threesomes" where you can pair a cut of meat with seafood and a veggie. Neat idea, but they are not pairing their best steaks IMO, and each selection has some funky way of preparation, such as "bitter orange, tamarind and honey marinated skirt steak". C'mon.

For appetizers, we split the tuna and yellowtail crudos, which were described as a marinated form of ceviches. It's actually more like sashimi with 4 small slices for each plate. I found the yellowtail with rum, lime and jalapeno to be very salty. The tuna with avacado and grapefruit was decent, but not in anyway filling.

So, unfortunately, Maxim Prime will not join Steakhead's list of top Atlanta steakhouses. However, there is one big caveat to this review. The upstairs deck may have the best nightime view of the Atlanta skyline. Drinking a mojito upstairs in the comfy lounge chairs was all good, and is a place I will definitely revisit.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Decadence, Style and Great Food at MF Buckhead

With the wife and kid out of town for a few days, I am taking advantage of the open schedule by hitting some mighty fine restaurants. Last night, I left a bar crawl to hit up the new MF Sushi in Buckhead. I fugured it would be a good choice since 1) the wifey can't eat sushi at the moment, and 2) I figured it would be half the cost since I was going solo (by the time I was done, it wasn't).

First impression when I walked in- Wow!. The place is huge- 8000 sf ft. The sushi bar alone can comfortably seat at least 20. The feel is completely different than the MF in Midtown. Where as that place feels soothing and sedated, this place screams at you. I felt I had walked into the trendiest place in LA or Vegas. I started with a couple of appetizers, a seaweed salad and a dish with yellowtail, lemon, cilantro and wasabi. Outstanding. And it got me in a creative frame of mind, so when the sushi chef suggested Omakase, I immediately jumped on it.

The chef put together a great blend of old favorites of mine as well as some more creative elements. On the traditional side, they offered a great spicy tuna roll, melt in your mouth salmon nigiri, and golden eye snapper sashimi (I had never had this before). One interesting dish they presented was a miso marinated duck. All of this left me clamoring for more, so I ordered more nigiri including Toro and yellowtail. By this time, I have been soaking up this experience for 90 minutes and had gotten on the good side of the sushi chefs. He then showed me the kobe. I remember a scene from Sixteen Candles when Anthony Michael Hall shows a bunch of high school freshmen a pair of girls panties. Their reaction was probably similar to mine in this case: "Ooooooooooo." He cut off two thin medallions and then sears them with a blow torch (the beef, not the panties). I was in heaven.

The experience at MF Sushi Buckhead rivals the experiences I have had at Nobu and at Morimoto. The Omakase is a little more planned at those locations - you know the # of courses and the price ahead of time. But the MF selections spanned the perfect blend of traditional and creative. And the feeling that you get when sitting in MF is as big and bold as the food you are eating. You know you are at someplace special. And for sushi, whether its Atlanta, NYC or wherever stateside, you are.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Steamhouse Lounge Re-opening in Midtown Next Month

For those fans of old school Buckhead, you will be happy to know that Steamhouse Lounge will be reopening its doors next month in Midtown at the previous location of Element. From the looks of things, all the old menu favorites are returning, including the Lobster Bisque. Here is the press release:

"Atlanta, Georgia, June 10, 2008 - Steamhouse Lounge is proud to announce the reopening next month at 1051 West Peachtree St. in the former Element location in Midtown. Rediscover great fresh seafood and ice cold beer chilled on ice 364 days a year! Keeping with the true character from the Buckhead location, the relaxed atmosphere will be similar including the original bar, tables and booths inside the two-level, 100 year-old house, wrap-around outdoor deck seating shaded by a 200 year-old oak tree and patio dining complete with a palm tree and outdoor bar.

"We are excited to reopen our doors to Atlanta and all of our loyal customers throughout the years," said Steamhouse Lounge managing partner Sam Weyman. "We always intended to move to a new location and we know we found the perfect spot."

The Steamhouse Lounge menu accommodates every appetite ranging from fresh seafood to salads and classic burgers. Some menu favorites include the award-winning Lobster Bisque, Oysters on the Half Shell, Frogmore Skillet with oysters, shrimp, corn, potatoes and sausage in a spicy butter sauce served in a steaming hot skillet with garlic butter and the Lobster Roll filled with ΒΌ pound of Maine lobster meat served on a hot bun with drawn butter and a side item.

Nightcap, LLC. Food & Spirits owns Steamhouse Lounge along with their other restaurants that include Fontaine's, Vickery's, Highland Tap and The Depot. Proclaimed as "The Best Little Dump in Buckhead", Steamhouse Lounge originally opened its doors in 1986, only to close due to the Streets of Buckhead project. The renowned restaurant won many awards throughout the years including the Best Lobster Bisque, Best Outdoor Patio, Best Oysters, Best Seafood and more.

Steamhouse Lounge will be open daily from 11am-2:30am and Sundays from 11am-12am. For more information, interviews, photos, menu or press kit, please contact Lorrie Dixson of Eskimo Advertising at 404-441-3473 or For more information about Steamhouse Lounge, visit"

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Hudson Grille Opens at Perimeter

The transformation of the old Garrison's at Perimeter Mall to Hudson Grille has been completed. Although there were was still ongoing construction in the main entryway, the restaurant soft-launched last week.

Hudson Grille considers itself and "upscale sports bar", and the furnishings and surroundings of the place seem to support that. The place is beautifully appointed, with the bar and some seating on a main level, and a more elegant restaurant section up a brief flight of stairs. And unlike your typcial sports bar where waitresses adorn tight, breast-accentuating t-shirts and shorts (not that there is anything wrong with this), the staff at Hudson Grille wear shirts with collars and pants. Even in their first week, the staff was incredibly friendly and helpful.

Like your favorite sports bar, there are flat screen tvs at every turn of the head, and the menu is much more sports bar than fine dining. The two sided menu is 50% appetizers, 25% dog/burgers/sandwiches, and 25% entrees/steaks/seafood. We started with an order of the chips and guacamole, and Little Steakhead and I made quick work of it. We also split a cheeseburger and an order of wings. The burger was great. We had two flavors of wings- wasabi/ranch and the asian Samurai wings. The wasabi ranch, while sounding interesting, was a horrible choice. First they look unappealing, with a thick yellow sauce. The taste was equally as uninviting. The asian wings were better, but if I want wings while watching a game, I will almost always go to the Taco Mac across the street.

Herein lies their challenge. If you look at what I ordered, chips, a burger and some wings, I might as well have gone to Taco Mac. The thing that Hudson Grille has going for it, is it could be a destination where someone wanting to watch sports and get a good meal can go. If the menu pushes the apps, burgers and 6 flavors of wings, they are playing in Taco Mac's wheel house, and will likely lose. In fact, I went in leaning towards getting a steak, but was scared away because the price was too low at $15. Believe it or not, if it was priced in the low-20s, it may have instilled some confidence.

I will go back to Hudson Grille to try out a couple of their entrees next time. I am also interested to see if they expand the menu at all. Being so close, I really want to see this place succeed. Upscale dining and sports would be a great combo for me.

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Not Jazzed About Parish

Going out these days involves much more than the actual cost of the night out. There is also Opportunity Cost, in the fact that true nights out are so few and far between for us right now, the price of a bad meal is exacerabted. My experience last night at Parish, a new Concentrics concept that claims to be Cajun, had me questioning why I was wasting my time at places like this when I could be going to any one of the many places in Atlanta that I KNOW are good.

I will give Parish some props in that the building the restaurant is housed in is beautiful. Apparently, it goes back to the 1890's, though for the life of me, I can't remember what this place looked like before Amick and Company got their hands on it. The whole area has changed 1000% in the past 2 years, with condos, apartments, shops and restaurants lining both sides of Highland Avenue, which until recently was a barren wasteland.

So, back to the restaurant. First complaint, they cram too many tables and people in the space they have. Second, all those people account for a boatload of noise. Third, and most annoying, there are no menus! The food items are listed on several blackboards, and good luck if you don't have a decent viewing angle of them. Our waitress told us the menu would be a "verbal presentation". Her idea of "verbal presentation" was to say the "menu can be found on the blackboard" and "any questions?". When I asked about a tuna entree, something called ahi tuna tournedos, she gave me zero insight as to what it actually was. Turns out, it means cooked with pieces of ham and very salty. Who knew? Obviously not the waitress. Nice "verbal presentation". If they printed a damn menu, I may have ordered better. Fourth, the entire meal was way too rushed. The entire dinner took only 45 minutes, and this includes appetizers.

As for the food, mediocre to poor. First, don't be fooled, this isn't a cajun place. It may be Cajun themed, but don't think Paul Prudomme is back in the kitchen. The barbacue shrimp was nothing special. Not enough black pepper in sauce, and serving it with the baguette toasted made it difficult to mop up the broth. Wifey, a Louisiana native, had the Gumbo for starters, which was so chalky she needed to douse it with hot sauce to give it flavor. I already mentioned the tuna, which was neither cajun nor was it very good (and as explained, poorly communicated).

I am not one of those folks that has a thing against Concentrics restaurants. In fact, Two Urban Licks, as I have stated many times, is one of my favorite places in Atlanta. But they really missed the mark with Parish. Seems like they are trying to be different just for the sake of being different, without any thought to implementation. They have a nice theme, but lack the execution to deliver upon it.

But the night wasn't a total loss. First we strolled through the neighborhood and found Zaya, a promising looking Mediterranean place. Second, we stopped off at Cafe Intermezzo on the way home, and I still have half a piece of Oreo Cheesecake in the fridge for tonight!

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