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

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Little Part of Japan on Buford Highway

There has been a lot of buzz lately about a sushi place on Buford Highway called Sushi House Hayakawa. This authenticly Japanese sushi bar is located on Buford Highway several blocks north of 285. When we first pulled into the parking lot, I got all excited about the bright neon sign next to the 'Grand Opening' sign that read "Karaoke Bar". Wow, I thought, this place is authentic! But alas, the karaoke bar was the next door establishment.

But with or without karaoke, this place is truly Japanese. If you call during non-business hours, the answering machine greeting is in Japanese. Our waitress, an American, was the same person who I was passed on to when I called to make my reservation. While she was very good, I couldn't help but think she may be the only English-speaking staff in the place. And the clientele was 50% Japanese. Always a good sign.

When I go into a place like this, I almost always order Omakase to see what new experiences the sushi chefs can throw my way. While the fish quality was amazingly fresh, I was a little disappointed in the actual selections, especially since I ordered the more expensive $65 version. The sashimi and nigiri selections were your typical tuna, yellowtail, cooked shrimp, octopus, squid. There was even a tuna roll. In all, it didn't seem too different from a chef's choice selection at your run-of-the-mill sushi bar. I was especially disappointed with no toro in any form in any of the courses. The last course, a bowl of a dapping of rice topped with a generous portion of salmon roe was the most distinct course of the Omakase. Other than that, I thought the dinner sort of lacked creativity. I wondered if being gaijin that I got a more pedestrian version? We didn't speak with the sushi chef ahead of time, to let them know we wanted an adventurous selection (and toro), so that may have been a mistake. But again the fish quality was outstanding, so I will definitely give it another try some time.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What Exactly Is a Gastropub?

Considering I never heard of the word "Gastropub" a year and a half ago, I am beginning to think it has already lost its meaning. I have been to three so-called Gastropubs in Atlanta and they are all completely different. The first, Tap, is a nice bar with a great patio. The food wasn't all that inspiring. The second, Holeman & Finch, has a menu that can best be described by this layman as odd. Given the term comes from England, their interpretation is probably fairly authentic. The third was my visit today to The Glenwood. Their take is apparently "smoky dive bar" with food.

I needed more info so upon looking at wikipedia, it apparently is merely a bar with high-quality food, above "pub grub". Pretty vague. I suppose, The Glenwood fits this description in several ways. First, it is first and foremost a bar. While the food may be decent, you would never mistake it for a white tablecloth establishment. No separate dining room, cigarette smoke lingering in the air, a shuffleboard table in the corner. Second, the menu does provide more upscale chow than a typical bar. The menu isn't as off-the-wall as Holeman & Finch, which I found to be a plus, but there are a few intersting takes, such as the Turducken Burger and Rabbit Brunswick Stew. I went with the Eastern NC BBQ Sandwich, a generous portion which had a great blend of vinegar and spice.

Unfortunately for me, though, the place just looks too much like a divey bar to want to spend a couple of hours eating there. There are just too many good choices in Atlanta to give up that much on atmosphere. But if I happen to be in the area late night and want a brew or two, no problem.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Samaritan House's Cafe 458 Now Open for Dinner

Samaritan House's Cafe 458 is a remarkable establishment that does great work in the City of Atlanta helping the homeless men and women in our city become self-sufficient. For years, they have used a Sunday Brunch to the public to help fund the great work they do every single day in helping to feed those less fortunate. Beginning tomorrow, they will expand their public dining hours to offer Dinner every Thursday and Friday night from 5:30-8:30. I got a peak at their menu offerings that include Fried Green Tomatoes, Coconut Shrimp,Lobster Ravioli, Filet Mignon, and Key Lime Layer Cake. There is even a 3-course, prix fixe menu for $28. For more info, go to