Thursday, December 23, 2010

South City Kitchen

In the mood for something other than the usual lunch, Xiaoli and I decided to try South City Kitchen for lunch.  It's one of those restaurants tucked in between the skyscrapers of midtown. These places attract a very different crowd from the Georgia Tech experience.

We started with the fried green tomatoes, which were my favorite part of the meal. The crust was very crispy and the tomatoes inside were tender; combining those two can be a delicate balance.  They were garnished with some goat cheese and tomato sauce. The tomato sauce had a nice collection of herbs.

I tried the BBQ pork sandwich and salad for my main course. The BBQ wasn't bad but the sauce was a little sweet. I read an article on BBQ the other day that pointed out that the Kansas City sweet sauce is the style of BBQ most tolerant to lapses; I wish this sauce had been a little less sweet so that I could enjoy the pork more. The salad was very fresh and the potato chips were fresh and crispy.

South City Kitchen Midtown on Urbanspoon

South City Kitchen Midtown

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Holeman & Finch

Holeman & Finch is the gastropub creation of superchef Linton Hopkins, who also created Restaurant Eugene next door.  (And who, by the way is Eugene?)  It's on Peachtree (where else?) in the lower Buckhead restaurant corridor.  This place has been on my agenda for awhile; last night the place was thick with 30-somethings having a good time.
The menu consists mostly of small plates, which suited me fine because I wanted just a little pickup.  My first choice was a cheese plate which was served with a dollop of apple sauce/butter and a squiggle of honey.  Two out of three cheeses really caught my fancy, which is a pretty good ratio for blind choices.  I particularly liked the blue cheese with a little bit of honey and apple.

I finished up with the apple pie. No, it isn't a warmed-over Hostess pie. You also can't see the ice cream underneath.  It was exquisite.  First, the pie has a very clear note of fried---not greasy but something more like lard, an ingredient near and dear to all Southerners. The ice cream was also very rich with a clear, refreshing taste of vanilla.

At some point I'll make it back here for their signature dish, the special burger.  It is served in limited quantities as a late night experience, so I will have to plan my evening around it.  But the burger is supposed to be worth it.
Holeman & Finch Public House on Urbanspoon

Holeman & Finch Public House

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sandy Springs: Bishoku

Category: Drive-worthy for people who enjoy Japanese food and culture.
Verdict: Excellent food and wonderful, attentive service.

I learned about Bishoku from a Georgia Tech student who lived in Japan for many years.  He told me that Bishoku is his favorite Japanese restaurant in Atlanta.  That was good enough for me. It's on Roswell Road near the perimeter. The interior has the spaciousness that Americans like but the decorations have a distinct Japanese touch. It also has a large sushi bar complete with a staff of sushi chefs.
I've been there twice now.  On my first visit, I concentrated on sushi and sasimi. This is the sushi and sasimi omakase (chef's choice). The selections weren't particularly exotic but all the fish was of very high quality. I'm always a sucker for fatty tuna.

For balance, I went for cooked food on my second visit. My favorite was the grilled eggplant in miso sauce. The eggplant was beautifully tender. The sauce was sweet, almost like a candied sweet potato but more subtle. The resulting combination of taste and texture was something totally unexpected by me and very enjoyable.

Bishoku on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tasty China

Category: Atlanta Chinese favorite
Verdict: Worth a drive.

Tasty China, and more particularly its chef, have received a great deal of attention from both the Atlanta foodie world and the local Chinese community.  I've eaten there a couple of times myself.  More recently, Yu, Fumin and I had dinner there together.  That allowed us to try more dishes and me to avail myself of their expertise.

On my solo visits, I was drawn to the "Hot and numbing" dishes, such as hot and numbing beef.  This is clearly not a name bestowed by a restaurant marketing consultant.  These dishes were fascinating and something I hadn't tried before.  The beef had a crunchy crust and was served with whole red chiles.  The complete dish looks like this:
http://www.tastychina.net/wordpress/
I really enjoyed it.

But I wanted to try more.  We tried several things, including a bean curd soup (very good), beef with chile (good), and my absolute favorite, tea smoked duck.  The duck was succulent and the smokiness came through perfectly---an excellent counterpoint to the duck without being overpowering.  Overall, Yu made an interesting point: Mexican hot food has a long burn while Sichuan hot food has a burn that goes away in a few minutes.  Yu and Fumin agreed that the menu tries to please both Chinese and American palates, which is a good thing in my book.  The choices are unusual even for a jaded Chinese food-addicted programmer.

Tasty China on Urbanspoon