Saturday, March 19, 2011

Decatur: Sprig

Category: Local date-night-out spot.
Verdict: Long on style, not as much substance as I had hoped.

Sprig opened a few months ago on LaVista Road in the spot where Quinnie's used to be. One couldn't come up with a bigger change in atmosphere. Sprig is another buzzword-compliant Southern restaurant: local, organic,  etc. The decor is very nice. I sat outside where I had a nice view of a small stand of trees and could largely ignore the parking lot. I had high hopes for this restaurant, which was started by an up-and-coming chef who has attracted a fair amount of local attention. And while I think the place is good for a date night out, I didn't think the food was as exciting as it should have been. (Date night restaurant is, by the way, my term for a restaurant that is primarily designed for show, some place that puts more emphasis on the words on the menu and not enough time into executing what's on the plate.)

This seems to be my week for cheese and chops.  I enjoyed this cheese plate which had cheeses from Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia, as I recall. I wish that the olives had a little more pucker power and that I had a few more---they make an outstanding complement to the cheeses.

Since Sprig is a Southern-themed restaurant, I tried the pork shank. I thought this was a particularly good choice given their emphasis on roasting.  The meat didn't have quite the interesting roasting artifacts---charred bits, etc.---that I would have expected.  The cut of meat itself just didn't seem to be as porky as I had expected. I decided to try to jazz things up with a little dark mustard.  The waiter brought a serving of a Grey Poupon-like smooth mustard, not the grainier, more interesting mustard that I expected.  I quickly gave up on it and went back to the meat. I did really enjoy the black eyed peas.

I found the service to be a tad supercilious. I've complained before that high end American restaurants often treat customers as if they are privileged to be allowed to be served. This certainly wasn't the worst service I've had but it certainly didn't meet the standards of warmth and comfort that I would expect from a truly Southern experience.
Sprig Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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