Lucero is chef de cuisine at Pompano, one of Sandoval's many restaurants. Pompano specializes in coastal cuisine...
This is Inman Park Restaurant Week. There are some real bargains to be had at Kevin Rathbun Steak an Sotto Sotto, among others. Restaurants offer prix fixe menus of $15, $25 or $35. It runs through Sunday, Sept. 25.
And speaking of Inman Park, I grabbed a quick meal at Victory Sandwich Bar Monday night. I declined the special $15 menu and ordered a couple of the recently added $4 sandwiches. The Koreuben messily and deliciously combines pastrami with sriracha mayo and kimchi. I also tried the Muffler — kinda, sorta like a muffaletta — which I liked even more. I also couldn't resist the $3.50 chocolate bread pudding. So much pleasure for so little money....
Two of my more perfectionist foodie friends recently dined at No. 246 in Decatur. They whined that the entree portions were way too small. "The obvious intent," one of them said, "is to compel people to order appetizers."
I don't recall finding the portions small at No. 246, but the phenomenon they are describing is certainly real. Appetizer prices are obviously climbing at many restaurants, apparently to compensate for the economy's effect. On the other hand, app portions themselves often seem to have increased to me. So, just order one and share it.
By the way, Christiane Lauterbach gave No. 246's cuisine a positive review in Knife & Fork, but panned the restaurant's name. I totally agree.
Actually, I have never regarded my opinion as definitive. That's why, as I've explained a zillion times, I've always included other opinions in "Grazing." It's also why we have a lead dining critic who writes more definitively. Anyone at Creative Loafing who's been around a while can tell you that I've been offered that position several times and always declined it.
But I'll grant that if people choose to read an opinion as definitive, the critic can't change that. Then again, critics do put their names on their commentary. If the critic's importance is fading, it's odd that most commenters don't use their real names, which too often is about personal agendas. So I'm not so sure that formal critics don't still have a role to play.
The latest critic to be hammered is Tom Maicon of Food & Beer Atlanta (formerly Atlanta Cuisine). Maicon did not like the beers he sampled at the new Wrecking Bar Brewpub. Predictably, he was attacked in ad hominem fashion. An example:
I've made no effort to hide my annoyance with a certain brand of service that's become pervasive in recent years, the kind that keeps your waiter at the table for the first ten minutes of your stay, where you get their name and that ubiquitous question, "Have you dined with us before?" If you answer no, you get a lengthy explanation of what exactly a restaurant is and how you go about ordering from this crazy thing called a menu. Even if you answer yes, the server will often read much of the menu aloud to you, noting that almost everything is "exceptional." The server will also tell you his favorite menu items, the restaurant's specialties, and maybe, a few off-menu specials.
Inman Park Mon., Sept. 19-25, Restaurant Week. The Fall Inman Park event will feature three-course dinners at fourteen different restaurants. This year, Restaurant Week will benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB). Details
The Family Dog Tues., Sept. 20, Martinis for Mutts. In support of Atlanta Pet Rescue’s Paws in the Park, The Family Dog will be donating 10 percent of the evening’s sales to Atlanta Pet Rescue. Details
I happen to live near a Houston's, and drive by most mornings as they are getting their wood-burning oven going for lunch. A more powerful marketing message does not exist. The smell of a fire, good seasoned wood, has to be one of the most compelling things on earth. It's primal, registering somewhere in our subconscious as a source of something good, something necessary for survival.
Atlanta will soon be getting our first Lime Fresh, a Miami-based burrito and taco joint. Lime Fresh offers homemade salsa, humanely raised meat and the like plus a handful of healthy options (or as healthy as Mexican food gets). Lime, whose expansion is partially due to a licensing agreement with Ruby Tuesday’s, will be located on West Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead and is planning on opening in early to mid 2012. They will move in to the Johnny Rocket's space - which is set to close soon.
Construction permits filed for demolition in the former Sweet Devil Moon/Nonna Mia building in Midtown, with a new spot listed as Bistro 980 moving in to the location some say is cursed.
MODERN, a restaurant, tasting room and market, will move in to the former Copeland’s location in Buckhead. In an announcement by We Sell Restaurants, who brokered the MODERN deal, the restaurant is described as serving New American cuisine in a casual, elegant dining environment. The Tasting Room will feature a nightly multi-course tasting menu and a chef’s table overlooking the kitchen. MODERN’s Market will be a coffee shop with homemade baked goods, plus prepared meals and sauces available for purchase.
Der Biergarten Sat., Sept. 17 and Sun., Sept. 18, 12 p.m. Oktoberfest Kick-off Party Weekend. Oktoberfest takes over the Luckie Marietta District as Der Biergarten celebrates Germany’s famed beer festival. Details
Muss and Turner's Sun., Sept. 18, 6-9 p.m. Barnyard Feast and Local Produce Harvest. A five-course dinner featuring Gum Creek Farms, Riverview Farms, Farmers Atlanta Road Market, Athena Farms. Overalls and straw hats encouraged! Details
At the news of New York Times restaurant critic Sam Sifton's departure, chef Eddie Huang became traumatized. On Wednesday he wrote a moving tribute to Sifton's time as the Times critic, with sentences such as: "Sifton was the perfect guy at NYT because he WAS New York." (He also has sentences such as "The only things I wanted from America were Eddie Murphy Raw, Barbecue, and shawties with pink nipples," just so you know what you're getting into here.) I'm of the mind that you usually latch on to the critic at the Times who was in residence when you began paying attention. I lived in New York during William Grimes' tenure, and he had my grudging and total respect as a result. It took a long time for Frank Bruni to win me over when Grimes left the position. My friend, colleague and predecessor Bill Addison lived in New York during the years of Ruth Reichl, and he will forever measure all NYT critics against that tough standard. As Huang says, "For the first 1/3 of Sam Sifton's tenure at the Times, I didn't know who he was." This is the guy that had the power when Huang started paying attention. And so, for Huang, all others must measure up to Sifty.
Get your food thing on at the Atlanta Food Rave next Friday. The event benefits the Atlanta Community Food Bank and features the cuisine of Chef/Owner Alex Friedman of P’cheen, Executive Chef Monique Barrow of Buckhead Bottle Bar, Executive Chef Ryan Delesandro of Nava, Executive Chef Shane Devereux of Top Flr and Executive Chef Willie Box of Straits.
Last year's winner of the Rave's competition was the returning Alex Friedman of P'cheen. Here's an interview with him:
Tickets ($67.50) may be purchased on the Food Rave's Web page, where there's also an explanation of the event's attempt to provide a total sensory experience — you know, like a rave with mind-blowing food instead of X.
Love pork belly.
Some food just doesn't photograph well, even if it is tasty.
Nothing wrong with grease on the walls if the burger is tasty.
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