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Installation (Wordpress Part): Steakhead's Atlanta Eats Blog: Asian Street Food with a Twist…It’s Expensive

Monday, November 10, 2008

Asian Street Food with a Twist…It’s Expensive

I think the new W in Midtown is a great example of the continued progress in making Atlanta more of an urban destination. With a signature restaurant and one of the hottest clubs in the city, the non-stop parade of well-dressed, beautiful people (yours truly not included) parking their German imports at the valet and entering the chic hotel seemed endless. Spice Market had been on my list for a while not only because of its Asian-inspired menu, but also due to the reputation of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s New York original, and my constant desire to go to the “in” places.

The Spice Market knows they are hot right now, and they let you know it by some standard “hip” restaurant annoyances. First, the mandatory wait at the bar, even though there seemed to be plenty of tables available and we had a reservation. Second, the “thump-thump-thump” of a hidden base speaker that seemed to be situated right over my head. The room they had us in was cool, however. A small, tucked-away nook down a flight of stairs that featured an Asian water feature in the middle of the room. Third, they find some bizarre, unique way to describe their concept. In the case of Spice Market, it’s “southeast Asian street cuisine”. Now I have not been to Southeast Asia, but my hunch is that street cuisine there doesn’t cost $50+ per person, so I had some immediate price/value concerns.

Since we were celebrating a profitable year for fanBunker, my business partner and I decided to splurge a little (also, I needed material for this blog, which has NOT been a profitable venture…but heck, I do it all as a labor of love). We ordered four appetizers for the four of us, which were quite hit and miss. A couple of the more exotic choices- such as the Lobster Roll with Dill and Sriracha and the Tuna Tartare were useless. The Lobster Roll was so over powered with dill, you could not taste the lobster at all. This may also have something to do with their lobster, which was rubbery and not flavorful to begin with. Same could be said for the tartare, which looked nice with small chunks of tuna over radish, avocado with a ginger vinaigrette dressing. But if you were to have told me the tuna was diced tomato, I would have been none the wiser. Other flavors just took over and the fact that it was tuna was lost on me. The lesser-expensive calamari and chicken samosas were much better choices (and probably more passable as “street food” than lobster).

Things did improve with the entrees, however. Lady Steakhead ordered the best here, selecting the Cod with Malaysian Chili sauce. My strip steak with garlic and sesame was tender and nicely seasoned. My friend ordered the short ribs, which was served in a bowl with egg noodles in a broth. He did have to inquire as to how to eat it, with which led to a ridiculous answer to take the meat out of the bowl and pour the noodles somewhere. I forget, but it seemed like a lot of work with no purpose. Speaking of service, I have had better. Our waitress was nice enough, but there were long stretches where we were totally ignored. It seemed like once we received our appetizers, she thought that was it for us.

The total bill for our group of four was $240 which definitely puts it in the pricey category if you are not on an expense report. We didn’t go nuts with the alcohol, and we didn’t order dessert, though we did go a little overboard with the appetizers so while you may be able to do it somewhat cheaper than us, probably not that much cheaper (staying away from the expensive appetizers will help). I’m on the fence as to whether I would give Spice Market a thumbs up or not. It was good, not great. And while there are plenty of places I would recommend over Spice Market in that price range, it is good to see a place that is trying to add to the Atlanta city vibe succeed.

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Blogger sethroatl said...

As a participant in the meal, I agree with all your comments. I also want to add that my short ribs were excellent, and a unique taste for me even though I am certain I ate them incorrectly with the odd instructions I was given.

I did like the environment, especially since I have not gone out a lot since kid #2, it did have a more chic feel than a lot of the nice atlanta restaurants that I am used to. Thus, I might recommend it to a friend who wanted to get a friend who wanted a light meal, and wanted to get a few drinks in a hip scene, but I'd recommend elsewhere for a great meal experience.

Lastly, you are spot on regarding their description of the cuisine -- 'street cuisine' in a 3rd world country hardly seems like it should be edible let a alone as pricey as it was for us. Next I imagine going to a fancy meal where they say they were inspired by KFC...

8:18 PM  

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