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

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pig Roast in Midtown

This Saturday, July 26th, between 3 and 7, the new Cypress Street Pint & Plate will be hosting a Pig Roast with live music. The wifey used to live across the street from this when it was Toast (pretty forgettable), and the new name alone tells me I probably would have spent many a night here back in the day. I am really curious as to how they are going to do this in the middle of the city. Are they closing the street? Where are they setting up the spit? It does sound very tempting. I am going for lunch on Thursday and can report back on the food (as I have not been here since Toast closed), and this event. Meanwhile, anyone from CSP&P that reads this, feel free to reply with details.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Steakhead in San Francisco

There are so many reasons I love coming to the Bay Area, and the fact that San Francisco is my favorite eating city in the US is probably at the top of the list. After having spent three days here this week, of which I carefully researched and planned my food itinerary well in advance, I am dedicated this post to covering my adventure. As you will see below, I went a little heavy on the Asian cuisine, but it’s so good here, it was hard to resist.

Night 1- Crustacean- San Francisco
I bet a friend who claims to be a Pats fan (he has like 3 or 4 favorite teams, so its tough keeping track) that the Giants would beat them in the Super Bowl. Mind you, the Giants were a 13-point underdog, and being a real fan, I offered the bet straight up. Winner picks the restaurant, loser pays. Karma rewarded my faith, and we hit Crustacean. Crustacean is a family-run Vietnamese seafood house. Their signature dish is their whole dungeness crab prepared 3 different ways- the Roasted Crab (garlic), the Drunken Crab (wine, scallions and black pepper), and the Tamarind Crab (red Vietnamese sweet and spicy sauce). This night, I went with the Drunken Crab, but I have had all three and probably lean toward the Roast Crab. But seriously, it’s not like you can make a bed selection. We started with numerous appetizers- the salt and pepper calamari were excellent. But the absolute must here is getting the An’s Garlic Noodles as a side dish to whatever you get. There is a secret kitchen in each Crustacean location, protecting the family recipes, and my guess is that the Garlic Noodles is the dish they are most concerned with protecting.

Night 2- Tamarine- Palo Alto
Monday night brought me further toward Silicon Valley and Tamarine in Palo Alto. Once again, Vietnamese, but probably a little more traditional (and cheaper) than Crustacean. Tamarine is located right in downtown Palo Alto on University Ave. We started with the tuna tartare appetizer, which is presented more like a ceviche, and served with fried wontons. While the entrees are called “small plates”, that really only means that you order the veggies and starches separately. The dishes are meant to be shared, so for 2, we ordered one entrée and a veggie and rice dish and split everything. So yes, that means Steakhead ordered a vegetable- the black bean asparagus, and they were awesome! Cut up into short pieces, with a terrific Asian black bean glaze and very crunchy. The tamarind shrimp entrée was served over a bed of crunchy noodles and very tasty. The rice dish- the empress rice- came with garlic, leeks and served with a fried egg on top, and mixed tableside. Another winner. When looking for a decent Asian place in the Palo Alto/Mountain View area, I highly recommend it.

Night 3- Kiss Seafood- San Francisco
This was the meal I was really looking forward to. I discovered Kiss Seafood online- a very intimate sushi bar in Japantown that seats only 13. I was not looking for a run of the mill sushi place- what I would call a “piece and roll” sushi bar. I was looking for a sushi experience where the sushi chef could really show off his skills and introduce me to some new things. Kiss Seafood did not disappoint when judged on that criteria.

As I mentioned, the place is small. The only two employees I saw was the one sushi chef and the hostess (I think it’s a husband and wife team). I was actually able to make a reservation for 1 at the sushi bar a week in advance. Good thing too, as people who tried to walk in were turned away for the night. I had been told the Omakase is the way to go here, and at $60 for the “Special Omakase” (as opposed to $42 for the “Regular Omakase”), this was an easy choice. The meal entailed 6 courses starting out with a tray of octopus, king mackerel, and some kind of Japanese root vegetable. The sushi and sashimi courses were to die for. There was a great mix of fish I was familiar with (tuna, yellowtail, toro, and clam) and some that I was not as familiar with (baby sea bass, halibut, amberjack and the king mackerel). The tuna nigiri already comes having been soaked in soy, so I was given explicit instruction not to use any of my own soy/wasabi with it. All three sashimi/sushi dishes are pictured below.

My only reservation on this Omakase is that 3 courses were some form of soup (including one concoction of custard, broth and clams that I really wasn’t a fan of at all). If I were to go again, I may just order the sushi/sashimi dishes and skip the Omakase completely. The fish was what I came for, and what I really liked about this dinner. The clam custard soup, yeah, not so much.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Move Over Taqueria del Sol- Lime in Smyrna Impresses!

On a recent visit to Taqueria del Sol, I asked the owner if he had any plans to expand north of the Perimeter. The question was scoffed at, and the answer was unsatisfying. But after a visit to Lime, a new taqueria in the West Village complex off of Atlanta Rd and I-285, I no longer crave for lunchtime lines on Howell Mill Rd.

Lime is an appropriate name for this place as you will see the theme played out over and over again in decor and menu. The name alone had me craving a tall margarita from the moment I walked in. Comparing Lime to Taqueria del Sol may be easy, but I'm not sure if it's very fair. After all, there is much more to Lime's menu than tacos. And besides the $3 a la carte price, the taco selections aren't even that similar. I found Lime to be much more robust and daring in its taco offerings. For example, we went with the fried catfish, carne asada, chorizo, and grilled lobster tacos. There was even a chicken mole taco, though we didnt try it. Each taco has its own take on salsas and accoutrements. For instance, the fried catfish taco is served with mango jalapeno slaw and lime.

While there are full entrees available at Lime, we stuck primarily with the smaller dishes this night. The margarita helped wash down the 4 Salsa and Chips, which included several spicy offerings. To accompany the tacos, we also ordered the ceviche of the day and a tamale. Both were excellent. The ceviche was a shrimp and talapia dish, served in a margarita glass, with diced pepperes, jalapenos, cilantro, tomato and avacado. The tamale was traditional featuring braised steak, cornmeal and wrapped in the corn husk.

All aspects of Lime were excellent. The atmosphere (I hear they have salsa dancing on weekend nights), the drinks, the food, the service. We will definitely be going back!

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