The Philly cheesesteak has an international reputation---I found a purveyor of them at a highway rest stop in Korea---even though it was invented remarkably recently. It shouldn't be surprising that Atlanta has a large selection of Philly cheesesteak vendors. Pennsylvanians are moving to Atlanta by the busload, bringing their tastes with them. I've been intending to evaluate Atlanta's offerings in this area and today was truly the first day of the rest of my life, so I went to Philly Connection in Decatur. I've been to Philadelphia's shrines of cheesesteak: Pat's, the inventor of the cheesesteak, and their archrival Geno's. I've also had a number of cheesesteaks in the Philadelphia area; naturally, their average level of competence in this dish is very high. I'd rate Philly Connection as fine but not exciting. They chop their steak a la Pat's rather than leaving the bigger chunks; they do serve with onions and give you your choice of cheeses. But I didn't find their cheese or their meat to be quite as rich as I had hoped. Pat's is known for using high-quality meat, and if you think that is a waste in a lowly sandwich, I suggest that you stand out in the snow at Pat's and find out what a cheesesteak should taste like.
Trev, Jan, and Karem took me to a wonderful evening at West End Grill located, appropriately enough, in the West End. The restaurant still has its old tin ceiling festooned with stained glass chandeliers. I was too hungry to take a picture of our appetizers: crab cakes and bleu cheese tarts. The crab cakes had just a bit of heat to them, something you don't always find in a crab cake but which worked very well. The bleu cheese tarts lived up to their intriguing premise, rich and tangy. This is my caprese salad. The mozzarella, tomato, and basil were all outstanding. The balsamic vinegar had been very well aged, giving it a thick consistency. My main course was tuna, perfectly prepared to a medium well. The tuna left just enough room for a chocolate lava cake paired with decaf coffee. The cake was rich and moist. I kept scraping my plate to be sure I retrieved all of the chocolate.