Monday, September 22, 2014

Chops Lobster Bar

I have not been here for years. I always thought the food was well prepared and totally acceptable. What's not acceptable is the price you pay for some of the dishes here. It ain't cheap to eat here, so, I expect the highest quality for my rotation back to this joint after a long hiatus. We all know most people who come to eat here are not really in it for the grub, it's for the show and tell factor. Their website even have a gallery dedicated to celebrities who dined here... Back in the 90's. Now, the place is a hotbed for the fucking Millenials that's ruining the world... How the fuck are they affording this with no job? Oh, wait, we know how... Thanks mommy and daddy and the trust fund account you set up for me with your hard earned dollars that I will blow on the hookers and cocaine and well done filet mignon as fast as you can say, "It isn't gonna suck itself." 

Speaking of sucking... Let's see how this joint still stacks up to the competition in these modern times of mediocrity.

LOBSTER, SEAFOOD CEVICHE. Cute dish and tasted ok but for a joint of this caliber I expected more flavor, more pop... Because ceviche hasn't be overdone at all.

ALL JUMBO LUMP CRAB CAKE. Big hunk of tasty crab puck. I thought it was meringue on top at first then realized it was shoved into a salamander to brown the top.

EAST MEETS WEST. Oysters tasted just ok but the shucker really didn't do a clean job, a few of them were mangled all up. For the amount they charge, you would think they would be perfect looking and the brine still intact.

JUMBO MARYLAND SOFT SHELL CRAB. Batter/crust is too thick, what are they trying to hide in there... Jimmy Hoffa? But it tasted better than it looked. I look at this and all I think is Po'boy.

THAI CHILI RHODE ISLAND CALAMARI. Fried calamari rings can be found on any menu, even at some fast food dumps. I admit I kinda like this low rent dish if it's done right. They did an ok job on this, I kept eating more so that's a good sign.

BONE-IN RIB EYE. This is where they shine.. Or suppose to. Their butcher did a good job trimming this for proper even cooking and presentation. Medium-rare temp requested could not be any better... I fucking hope so at a "steak" joint. Manmeat with a big boner gives me one as well.

BONE-IN FILET. Now this is cute... A filet with a bone. Don't see that often. You know this wasn't a bunch of scrap pieces of meat reformed together with meat glue. Tasty shit.

KUROBUTA PORK CHOP. So, the whole theme tonight was with hunks of meat with their boners sticking out. If you wanna pork a girl after dinner the proper way this is the dish you need to order for them. Perfect temp with medium minus with a slight pink center... The pork not the girl,well it could be. Very nice piece of pork. Use the drippings on the plate for throat lube if the other white meat is too dry. I inhaled this beast because I'm an expert at swine-llowing. 

THIN GREEN BEANS. Haricot vert.. Can't screw this up if you tried. Oh, wait, Cafe Alsace fucked this up the last time I went and they gave me canned green beans and they're suppose to be a Fronch resto, pathetic. This joint nailed it.

BRUSSELS SPROUT LEAVES & MUSHROOMS. It wasn't all leaves, there were some sprout chunks in there as well. I'm ok with that and the shrooms killed it.

LOBSTER MAC & CHEESE. I know, I know, this shit is way overdone and the last time anyone gave a shit about this dish was when they were watching the Fonz jump the shark in 1977. But I'll tell you what, this shit was still tasty.

BREAD PUDDING. Not a big fan of bread pudding but it was semi edible to me.

RED VELVET CAKE . The color was off to begin with and ended up not being the promised red velvet pushed by the server. It was just some sponge cake with Vidal Sassoon red dye #5 all up in this piece. Vanilla ice cream, eh, werd to your mother... This dessert sucked.

This expense account resto still has what it takes to command the expense account crowd and the ho bags that love to be taken here to see and be seen. Stick to the meats and sides, pick your apps wisely and skip dessert totally. Even though, I do love the Grand Central Station look and feel of this joint... This visit will prolly last me another 5 years with the amount of food the pouch just ate... Hopefully, these millenials will be broke by the time I return.


70 West Paces Ferry Rd NW
Atlanta, GA 30305
404-262-2675
http://www.buckheadrestaurants.com/chops-lobster-bar/

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Craft Izakaya

The Sushi Huku guys have been working on this concept for a bit and now it's open for business. Izakayas got some attention the last few years with Miso and Shoya introducing this late to the game town on this Japanese concept. Miso is not really a true izakaya but what they did was great because it introduced the hipster crowd to what it was all about with baby steps. Shoya is still one of my top restos in this town and their menu is sick, I still haven't eaten everything on there because they keep coming up with new shit every other week. And now Craft is doing what I call a mini-Shoya intown. I know they hate me calling and comparing them to Shoya but Shoya is pretty much the tits when it comes to mass consumption of an extensive variety of izakaya vittles.

I waited awhile before I came here because I wanted to see what the online fuckers had to say about their California rolls they got up in this piece. Most of them were complaining about how expensive it was and that their sushi roll selection wasn't as extensive like Ru San's and why they didn't have more cream cheese in them. You know who these fuckers I'm talking about are and it's a laugh riot to read how unsophisticated their palates are when it comes to ethnic cuisines. It makes them sound like the village idiot in Acworth and I don't even know where that shithole is, but it just sounds very rural. I'm not saying Craft is authentic in the true sense of the word but they do a nice job on bringing the essence of an izakaya. Yes, it's pretty pricey for some of the items but there's a lot of things here you just don't order at an izakaya, it's more for the uninitiated crowd who wants to be at the cool places without having to compromise on their El Azteca tastebuds. Let's take a look at the dishes I had and it should give y'all a good idea of some of the classics.

Takoyaki. Ahh, the infamous octopus balls that many places have tried and failed at. Here, you get a piece of octopus in every bite, so not much to complain about since they tasted pretty good.

Chawan Mushi. A little different version with a more silky tofu kinda texture like you find at a dim sum joint. Dig down and mix up the shrimp, scallop and ginko nuts hiding at the bottom. I liked this enough that I would order it again.

Fried Chicken Wings.  If there's fwied cheekan on the menu, it's going in my pouch. They tell me these are some of the best wings in town if not the best... That's a bold statement to say it in front of my marsupial pouch. He takes that as a challenge. The batter is well seasoned, crunchy and breaks away pretty easily while it does it's job on sealing in the juices inside. These were pretty good but Sobban's KFC wings still the king of the wings. The spicy sauce was nice but not hot enough. I would prolly not get these again because it was quite pricey for four wings at almost $9.. You know how many pieces of incredible cheekan I can get at Popeyes for nine-friggin-dollars!!

Fried Oyster. Plump and juicy. Great panko crunch and lava hot inside. Awesome.

Baby Octopus. Who doesn't lurv some deep fwied wacky wall crawlers. Love these things.

Japanese Sausage. Great natural casing snap and dericious smooth meat grind inside.

Chicken Hearts. Some of the best cheekan hearts I have ever eaten, super tender with a little char on the finish. Looking at this shot, it kinda looks like a wang. Hey, it ain't the first time I ate penis and balls from a steamy dreamy strapping fine young animal... Wait, that didn't come out right. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Remember, no teeth.

Chicken and Pork Belly. Tender, flavorful, delish. The trio of hot sauces were great... The lighter the color, the hotter it was. But not spicy enough for da pouch.

Hamachi Kama. Definitely one of the better versions I have had in this town. Crispy skin and fins with steamy flakey tender flesh inside.

 Scallop. Feed me now.

Japanese Yellowtail Belly. Like buttah... It's like the butter face you make before you come, you look like a retard but it's oh sooo good. 

Salmon. Nice cut with a little belly showing, gives it that extra buttery taste to it. Shit, now my muffin top is showing... At least my stump isn't. No wants to see that tiny thing. I'm talking about my outty bellybutton, of course... You sickos.

Snapper. Lightly seared with a hand flamethrower. The light char gave it a whole new level of umami. Mmm, I lurv all kinds of snapper... Blondes, brunettes, redheads.. Did I say that out loud? Nevermind, nothing to see here.

Tuna. Look at that color. It was like color of my first girlfriend's mulva in middle school. Can't get any younger and fresher than this... Ok, maybe in grade school. Dolores!!!

Omakase. Just look at this display, it's more mesmerizing than Marsellus Wallace's soul in the briefcase... Wait, it coulda been Richard Gere's golden gerbil in there. But little furry rodents don't taste as good as this... Maybe except in the back door. Jey could not have picked a better selection of my favorites... Uni, sweet shrimp, toro, aji shima, etc, etc.. He sources some of the best sushi grade fish in town me thinks and tasted.

And of course, you can't end a platter like that without eating the bones (no KFC pun intended because that shit is garbage) of the deep fried shrimp heads and whole fish skeleton. The fucking eyeballs rule. These are some of my favorite parts to munch on and it did not disappoint. Crunch.

I'm glad I waited for the "I gotta be the first" crowds to die down because if I went during the California rolls rush in the beginning, the other dishes would have suffered and then I would have to take a big shit on this place. But it all worked out perfectly in the end. The service was spot on, the special cocktails for the discerning taste of the pouch made by Nate were perfect and Jey's hands with the skills of a Rabbi created a great ensemble of sashimi and nigiri that were delicious and memorable... Shit, I'm still thinking about it. It's definitely on my top 10 list... Go motherfuckers and don't you goddamn order a fucking whitie roll. I will kick you in the ball sack or ovaries if you don't have those... Some times you just can't tell with people in this area. Drive, don't run here because it could be unsafe.

Pump Pump Squirt X 3.

99 Krog St NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
(470) 355-9556
http://craftizakaya.com/ 6

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Pig & The Pearl

Spotted: A Porsche Panamera covered in black VELVET parked all crooked on the street. Take one guess where I am... Yep, Atlanta Station. I know, I know... The Freaknik of the westside. I was a little surprised that The Shed peeps would want to open a joint in this sketchy development. Even a change of management did little to change it's troubled past. I woulda figured they would want more of a real neighborhood feel for their new project... And not in the projects. Ok, obviously, I'm not in love with Atlantic Station but restaurateurs are starting to give this area a new shot.. Like the upcoming Diner by the angry chef which seems like a snoozefest to me like his other restos. Don't even get me started about his pizza joint. Anyways, The Shed has always been solid throughout the years and they know what they're doing so I'm willing to put my life and pouch on the line and enter the Thunderdome of Atlanta. I hope my two cojones enter and both my boys leave intact.

Their name is quite interesting because it sounded familiar to me before they even started the build out. There's another resto by almost the same exact name up in Richmond, VA. But their menu is very casual compared to here. This menu reads well but it's quite extensive... A big gamble for a new resto with a large menu to keep the quality up... Let's take a peek.

Smoked Deviled Eggs eggplant caponata, crispy shallots. Nice presentation, tasty caponata, the yolk mixture was kinda bland but when you eat it all together it worked out nicely. 


Oysters. Chef's choice and don't remember where these came from but they were cleaned very well and tasted pretty damn good.

Chicken Liver Paté blackberry preserve, brioche. This potted meat butter portion was very large, they really need to give you more bread/"brioche" because you'll be asking for more in 2 minzies. The pate was very nice, smooth, creamy, flavorful, fresh and with a hint of mineral. It's worth it.

Smoked Trout Spread lavosh, egg, capers. Another very nice spread. I did not find one tiny bone in there, good job. The lavosh paired very well with this spread. Another hit so far.

Brunswick Stew “Pot Pie” cornbread cracklin’. I fucking love Brunswick stew and I love pot pies... Put them together and it's a win in my book. But sadly, this dish sounded great on paper but execution was a miss. It was overly sweet and the cornbread cracklings were just crumbled up bits and pieces from the pan. If they reworked this, it could be outstanding but it looks like they are taking this off the menu... Might be for the better.

½ Slab Spare Ribs. When I see slab of ribs, I expect a slab of ribs... I like cutting them apart myself. But I get what they're trying to do here, they want to present it nice and pretty, so the broads don't have to cut them apart. These ribs were pretty good, nice rub, smokey and tender.. The amount of meat of them were average. It's definitely a passable set of ribs but no where near the top of my list.

1/2 Smoked Springer Mountain Chicken. I don't usually order chicken at a sit down resto unless it's Popeyes but I had to see what the fuss was about with their smoked version. It wasn't bad, had nice smoke to it, the skin was nice with a light rub and the meat was moist inside. Can't complain but in the end, it's just another "roast" chicken.

Smoked Pork Shoulder. This was a nice piece of the other white meat. Tender and flavorful, it just looked all covered up in the presentation like they're trying to hide something. If it is good, show it off and it was good. Don't need all the stuff on top of it.

10 oz Brisket. I don't get why they have to give you the weight of it. For $14, I expected a little more than 3 slices... And that's without any sides. But overall, they were pretty good. Smokey and tender but I do miss seeing the bark and smoke ring when it's sliced to order and not finished off on a grill top and presented in a cast iron for looks. Brisket is not meant to be fancy, it's a working man's piece of undesirable cut.. I like it presented simply.

Creamed Corn serrano pepper. Yeah, I liked this because it had a lil kick to it. Could use a little more cream but it was still good.

Duck Home Fries. Anything in duck fat is good, anything. But with home fries you're gonna need a lot more duck fat because those chunky spuds absorb that fat like a sponge. It needed to be more crispy but overall, it was still very tasty.

Campfire Treat. Ok, I have no clue WTF this is. It is revolting looking. It looks like some type of alien insect's close up shot. Stop trying to be like the dessert course at Alinea. This ain't no campfire treat, more like a enema treatment. This was pretty bad... I can't believe someone actually made this and prolly said, "Yeah, it's pretty fucking awesome."  ...Ah, no it's not. Don't ever put 2 cups of brown ooze in a white porcelain bowl in front of a customer unless you're Modern Toilet in Taiwan or Magic Restroom Cafe in L.A... But I heard that one crapped out after 8 months. Flush. This is why I don't eat dessert.

Churros. Maple bourbon sticky popcorn, apple cider-earl grey sorbet. Ok, they're not churros, they kinda look like Krispy Kreme's mini crullers. Churros were decent but I don't get the Fiddle Faddle wannabe popcorn. It seemed like they struggled to put together a dessert menu.

I am still not in like with their location, that's just me. But the interior was quite nice (except the oyster shells above), at least they're in the corner of the complex and away from all the riff raffs. The last thing they need is some incident and then it's all downhill from there. The service was good and attentive. The menu is on the right track, there's a lot of things to like about this place with a little more tweaking (smoked meats and potted meats) and some not so much (dessert menu). I do want to try the duck next time but nothing is making me rush back here for it. It's a nice addition to this area, hell, anything that is not a celebrity wannabe driven concept would make this complex even better. But for now, it's still the same old Atlantic Station to me and I avoid it unless I have a reason to go there... And this joint was the only reason I entered the Thunderdome this entire year.


380 Atlantic Dr NW
Atlanta, GA
(404) 541-0930
http://www.thepigandthepearl.com/

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tin Drum Asia Cafe

I think this chain has been around for a few years. I never paid much attention to it. If I did even for a second, there was probably a reason why I never went inside. It looks just too comical and student mess hall like (which is why they are strategically opened near schools). But since they are opening more locations around town, I had to take a peek after all these years... I know what you're gonna say and you will probably be right. But the main draw was their new Korean bowls they're pushing like a cheap pimp with a weak bibimbap hand. I don't mind a quicky every now and then, it's usually a cheap date with a happy ending.

Let's see if I can get off up in this piece... I like how they give you the origin of each dish kinda like how Giada tells you how to pronounce Spah-geh-tee... Because we're all too dumb to figure it out.

Kickin' Kimchi Steak Bowl (Korea). So, the poster advert looked pretty decent on the front door and hanging on the walls around the joint (they're not pushing it much) but what you get in real life is a disappointment like everyday of my life. That egg has been cooked off like 4 hours ago and the yolk had this impenetrable layer like Taylor Swift's gash. It was like a diaphragm to keep the yolk from entering your mouth... Guess there's no facial yolk shot for me in this scene. The kimchi wasn't even kimchi, it was a bland ass slaw that barely had any Korean influence, perhaps Nashville. The cubes of unmarinated steak meat were more like Vietnamese style Shaking Beef than thinly sliced bulgogi doused with some ultra sweet brown sauce that tries to mask the chewiness and unseasoned meat dice. The nori seaweed strips on the egg looked like Snoopy's brother, Spike with his molester stache. The rice was the best thing and it wasn't even Korean style rice nor was it even hot, it was tepid and clumpy. Looks like they nailed this Korean dish.

Panang Curry (No origin). Look, this doesn't even have an origin... Maybe it's Alaskan, those silly Eskimos look Asian enough. They claim it's a creamy red curry coconut sauce, it ain't red but it sure is creamy... I hope I'm not swallowing any of the short order cook's DNA, I don't want any Juan with every spoonful. When did Panang curry come with salsa? I was looking for the tortilla chips but to my dismay none were to be found. The spice level of this curry was non-existent, the powder coconut milk/cream they used in this bowl had more spice... As did the frozen broccoli. They did give you a decent amount of previously frozen chicken tenderloins though, but biting in to that piece of cartilage hanging off the end of the tenderloin every other bite gets annoying. At least the bowl of rice was warm this time.

Pad Woon Sen (Thailand). First of all, make sure the staff knows how to pronounce this without laughing like it's some A&F racial t-shirt... Because we all know two Wongs can't make it white. It's actually the Dong brothers who can make it white... With a nice facial. But anyways, back to this crap in a bowl. If you can find me a Thai person that has actually eaten this, I will give you a Thai massage... To make you evacuate or ejacuate what you just swallowed. This bowl of cellophane noodles were so stuck together it seemed like they used horse glue instead of oil. The cinder block-esque chicken chunks could be used as a foundation corner piece for the pyramids. This bowl was such a flavorless mess that I think the cook lost count of the ingredients and left out some main ingredients and replaced it with some other ingredients for another dish. Was it edible? Yes. But only if you're a goat.

Pho Noodle Soup (Vietnam). Ok, so I had to give them one more shot and tried the Pho to go... Who the fuck am I kidding here? I give them props for including the bean sprouts, jalapeno, lime.. And giant Italian basil leaves? Ok, I can over look the crotch covering basil leaves but the over cooked Shaking Beef style meat cubes once again was just plain wrong. The broth, I have no clue what it was made of... Maybe a combination of dirty wok water, Thai tea and Black Berry Shasta. The rice noodles were actually decent like the rice when it was warmed up. They did have Sriracha available but not the Hoisin, hot chili oil and fish sauce... Those little extras could have made the difference, along with a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 grape flavor. 

The pouch's instinct knew why to stay away from this place after all these years... This joint makes Makan seem authentic with their pseudo Asian street food. Always trust the pouch, he has never failed. This place has a niche just like Tattletales has theirs... One smells funky with flashing colored lights and you don't ever want to eat there and the other was mentioned in a Mötley Crüe song.


http://tindrumcafe.com/

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Southbound

They got balls to open a joint like this in the middle of nowhere Chamblee... And I'm glad they did. It's on the other side of the tracks from Oriental Pearl and the Chinatown Mall/Food Court. They did a great job renovating a pretty big space and retained some of the character of the original space which was a Masonic Lodge... I wonder if there are secret passages, dungeons and virgins to sacrifice. The overall look inside is nice, simple, rustic, southern... I like it a lot. There's a long bar, upstairs, downstairs, a side room and an outdoor patio seating space... It's a big space and table turn over is still pretty speedy due to the efficient kitchen and staff. Just because you can pump out the grub doesn't mean it's quality... The place is getting a lot of attention and no shortage of customers especially on the weekends even though the area is like a ghost town. Let's take a first look with a few samples.

Octopus Salad, taters. I love octopus but I'm not in love with this presentation. It's very sloppy looking.. Everything is pushed to one side like emptying out the plate before going into the dishwasher. For $12, I expected a little more octopus than a few slices but they were tender and tasty enough for me to not stop eating it. I have yet tried an octopus dish in this town that wowed me... So, I made one with uni and wakame, it was killer (see below).

Boom. All mine, suckaz.


Boiled Peanuts, pork broth. Sounds like a great idea but the pork broth doesn't give it that kick as much as you think to these nuts. They were good but somehow I was expecting a much more porky flavor punching at my nads.

Beef Tartar, shallot, capers, creole mustard, olive oil, quail yolk. Even though they spelled tartare wrong on the menu, this was still a very tasty tartare. They seasoned the meat well and the quail egg is standard issue now which was great. The only gripe I have is that they didn't clean the meat as well as they could before grinding. You get a bite of sinew every now and then but it doesn't affect the overall dish.

SB Burger & Fries, mayo, beer mustard, dill pickles, hook’s cheddar, shaved red onion. Spot on temp at mid rare. I have been on a kick to find the next great burger in this town because lately all the burgers have been pretty lame. General Muir might be the only one that I would go back specifically for it. This burger here was pretty good, the bun needed to be toasted because all the grease turned the bottom bun mushy so you basically pick it up once and eat until it's gone.. If you're really good at eating you can use one hand for the burger and the other for fries. I'm on the fence on getting this again with all the other dishes on the menu yet to try.

SB Hot Chicken, cilantro, arbol chili, garlic, lime. I had to get this, save the best for last right? First thing right off the bat, it ain't no hot cheekan and it's also boneless (not that there is anything wrong with a boneless hot cheekan if it was made the right way, Jim N Nick's BBQ had a killer boneless hot cheekan). It's not quite red, spicy and glazey enough. This was their lackluster vision of the spicy chicken dish that I grew to love and adore like a crackhead.. And their version was just ok. This was not bad if comparing to spicy chicken tenders found at local fast food joints but definitely not a hot chicken. The heat/spice level was very low. It was more like a dry rub of spices and then floured and deep fried a tad too long because some parts of the flesh was tough and chewy. I understand they want to do a different take on this dish but sometimes when it ain't broke, don't fix it... Just add a little of your style to it to make it a little different. I would have to pass on this dish on the next visit even though I want to give it another shot, I just don't want to be disappointed again like the time this hot broad ditched me to go see Road House with some other dude... I wasn't cool enough to be a cooler.

Even with some hits and misses (nothing was bad just needed fine tuning), I still like this place a lot and will be back to try some other dishes I saw going around... Like the ginormous bone in ribeye and the behemoth ribs. Could this be the start of a new Chamblee southern dining screen that doesn't consist of ethnic grub every corner in this town? I hope so but not at the expense of these great ethnic spots being dumb down. If they keep working at the menu and make a few tweeks, this place could be a very consistent resto. Plus, they have a bunch of Big Green Eggs on the patio, so that's extra points for them.

5394 Peachtree Rd
Chamblee, GA 30341
678-580-5579
http://www.baconsnobs.com/baconsnobs/welcome.html