Tag Archives: atlanta restaurant

TAP: A Gastropub in midtown Atlanta

Thursday evening, I was looking for a nearby restaurant to have a small dinner before a basketball game. After convincing myself not to go back to La Pietra Cucina for the 4th time in 3 weeks, and not being able to obtain a Tamarind Seed reservation, I secured an easy Opentable reservation at TAP.
Located at the corner of Peachtree and 14th, TAP is in the center of the Atlanta midtown scene. The al fresco patrons can watch the rooftop deck at Shout, the comings and goings at the 14th Street Playhouse, and the illegal parkers outside of Starbucks and Chick Fil-a. A self-proclaimed “american gastropub,” TAP aims to supply a “convivial place to have a pint or glass of wine”. Sounds aight to me, but what about the food? To answer that question TAP promises “seasonally driven innovative comfort food”. Let’s get to it –

To start we shared the black bean hummus and pita bread:

As you can see, the pita was charred and had just come out of the oven(or off the stove). It was hot and a wonderful device to scoop up the thick and creamy spread. The black bean hummus was topped with feta cheese and sliced jalepenos – the cheese wasn’t plentiful enough and therefore didn’t add much of anything, but the peppers provided a bite and a spice level to help the unexciting dip.

We dipped, scooped, spread, and wiped until there was no more:

I'm empty inside

We also shared an entree:

Seared trout with rapini and white bean ragout in a parsely, butter sauce. The fish was cooked well and tasted mild. While the barely flavored fish needed a strong sauce as an accompaniment, I felt the parsely/butter sauce was not the right fit. The sauce was green, and led me to believe it would be full of herb-y goodness, but the butter flavor overwhelmed the whole shebang. I absolutely love the combination of rapini (a bitter green) and white beans, but again, the sauce was a distraction (but not a fun one – sort of like cotton candy flavored fluoride the dentist fools you with in order to clean your teeth).

My portion:

The portion was quite large and conducive to sharing. As long as I wiped off a good amount of the sauce, I enjoyed the food.


I am

not beer

Obviously, I did not visit TAP for the intended purposes. A gastropub concept is lost on me, unless the food is stellar. The ever-shrinking menu makes it difficult for me to venture back over and over, but that’s not to say I adamantly disliked my food. For the time being, TAP will remain somewhere in the middle for me – not too much to rave about, but there is also no reason to write it off.

Plus, I can pretend I’m cool and say I go to a place that makes its own beer and has a ton of barrel wine selections (is that a cool thing to say?).

A glimpse of how it’s done below:

Tap on Urbanspoon

(404) 347-2220
1180 Peachtree St NE
Atlanta, GA 30309


Octopus News at La Pietra Cucina

Big changes for all octopus lovers over at La Pietra Cucina. The restaurant has recently received larger and more tender varieties of octopi. The new octopus product is directly represented in the lovely soup appetizer – Braised Octopus & Chick Pea Soup with escarole and olivastro. In the past, the soup had a nice amount of thinly sliced, shaved, and chopped octopus (see pic here). Now, the octopus shines through in large chunks that peek through the luscious, rich broth.

Take a look for yourself and then go test out the extra chunky soup at La Pietra Cucina (while it lasts).

I'm chunky and beautiful

La Pietra Cucina on Urbanspoon

La Pietra Cucina
One Peachtree Pointe,
1545 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA

Mediterranean Grill for surpise dinner night

Late last week, Lauren called me on her way home from work and asked what we were having for dinner. Since our fridge was almost empty, our pantry was unappealing, and our freezer was filled with [obviously] frozen foods used for lunchtime, I took a risk. I suggested, “Why don’t you pick something up and surprise me?!?” (I sure know how to spice up a boring week)

Lauren agreed and I came home to this:


what can it be?


still not sure but getting closer

Any guesses (maybe from the title)?


greek feast

I was graced with a greek spread that covered all of my favorites – greek salad with all the fixings, grape leaves (dolmas), hummus, warm pita


for 2


for me

A large salad covered in varying toppings makes me happy: it’s large enough to filler up, takes a long time to eat, and covers the vegetable quota for the day. I definitely indulge in the topping area with feta cheese, cukes, tomatoes, olives, hot peppers, tahini sauce (sesame), spicy chile sauce, hummus, and last but not least…..grape leaves:

dolmas is a word reserved for a special set of people

Hot, with a slight crispy outer layer (leaf) and a soft ricey innard, the grape leaves make for a wonderful topping on a cold salad. The rice is intensely seasoned and adds chaos to an otherwise neat plate of food.


can't have greek without hummus and pita

Hummus and pita are necessities – creamy chickpea spread generously dolloped into a warm pita pocket completed my meal with a bit of heft and carb-i-ness.

If the Mediterranean Grill excels at one thing, it’s consistency. I have had this salad/hummus meal more than 25 times at different locations over the past 7 years and it always hits the spot – the yummy, healthy, satisfying, eat a lot of food over a long period of time spot.

Mediterranean Grill on Urbanspoon

Mediterranean Grill
2126 N Decatur Rd
Decatur, GA 30033

Sushi House Hayakawa……Again?

It has become quite clear to me that my eating at, thinking about, photographing, and spending money at Sushi House Hayakawa has become a bit much. And, to add fuel to the fire, I’m heading back there tonight at a friends request (and because it is absolutely delicious, fresh, and reasonably priced). In order to refrain form repeating content on this infant of a blog, I will quickly highlight some of the new bites of Japanese food that have entered my belly.


ikura, ikura, galora

Sushi rice topped with chopped seaweed and ikura (salmon eggs). Simple, but intensely flavored with the sweet (from a soy/wine marinade), briny egg goo. When this arrived, I asked for a plate upgrade and got a few plops of uni (sea urchin).

oh how a lil uni can change a dish

It tastes as good as it looks – superb.

I’ve covered parts of my trio in the past (think Would You Eat This? and Dreaming About), so here is the big picture:


salty ikura with creamy uni, sour umeboshi flavored jellyfish, spicy wasabi raw octopus

It’s my version of a well balanced combination platter.

Lauren ordered a couple of rolls and I helped eat them:


spicy tuna


I'm special tonight!

The special roll had shrimp tempura, crab, tobiko (flying fish roe), eel sauce, wasabi mayo – while the size of each roll made it difficult to tackle, the taste made up for it.


blow torching

As always, the personable Chef Hayakawa, provided some entertainment with his blow torch act.

After tonight, I will most likely decrease my frequency of visits to Sushi House Hayakawa – if only to up the anticipation/appreciation ante.

Sushi House Hayakawa on Urbanspoon

Sushi House Hayakawa
5979 Buford Hwy. Red & Green Steakhouse Shopping Center A-10
Atlanta, GA 30340

Flip Burger Boutique: Lunch on Howell Mill Road

It’s no wonder it took me many, many months to visit Flip Burger Boutique – I don’t eat burgers. But when a work friend suggested a lunch trip and showed me the milkshake menu, we headed right on out onto I-75 North to Howell Mill Road. Located in a hustly bustly part of Atlanta in west midtown, Flip is a loud scene (both visually and aurally). It almost seems like a constant party within the restaurant walls. It was crowded when we arrived and jumped at the chance to sit at the interactive chefs’ bar. We were on top of the action:


working the busy lunch hour


plates waiting for burgs

We decided to order different milkshakes for all the more tasting.


impossible to choose

Inevitably, we went with the most popular shakes – nutella + burnt marshmellow & krispy kreme:


follow the smoke signals

You can still see the smoke coming off the krispy kreme milkshake from the liquid nitrogen – so very cool.
The creative director, Richard Blais (of Top Chef fame) definitely thought this one up all by his lonesome.
The nutella shake had a mostly chocolate flavor with only a hint of nutella/hazelnut. And the lightly scorched marshmellows added a dipping element to an otherwise ‘sipping only’ pleasure. Oh how I enjoyed eating this with a spoon rather than a straw – no complaints here!
The krispy kreme took a couple of sips to get the full donut-y flavor. It was tasty, as most iced cream mixed with donuts would be.

After the double milkshake action, I attempted to go the healthy route with my entree (which may have been my biggest failure at Flip):


we don't look much like burgers

I nixed the bread for lettuce wraps and the mayo for nothing. On the left you see the tuna burger made with spicy yellow fin tuna, pickled ginger, vietnamese herb salad. On the right is a ‘po boyger’ which is a shrimp patty, shaved lettuce, tomato, fried lemon, tabasco.
I’m sorry to say the tuna burger was a disaster. It was completely overdone to the point of no return (which is weird because the waitress asked if I would be okay with a medium rare cook and I said “the rarer, the better”). Looking back, I should have sent it back and pointed out the mishap but I was on a lunch break and didn’t have the time for that. Plus, it was kinda fishy tasting – it went almost untouched 😦
The shrimp, on the other hand, was a plump, tender patty that fell apart with every bite (and I liked that – it made it messy). The tabasco was the shrimp’s best man in this wedding of flavors and fell hard for him. He lit up my mouth (read: heart).

My coworker was wise and went beefy. He ordered the philly and the rBQ:

2009-11-10 12.48.23

atta boy!

and here’s the detailed review (thanks, Andrew!)
“The philly had french onions, green peppers, American cheese whiz and ketchup and the rBQ had pulled brisket, coleslaw, rBQ sauce and smoked mayo. In hindsight I think I should have eaten the philly first because the cheese whiz had congealed into a semi…-solid state by the time I got to it. The rBQ was great! I was impressed that they actually cooked the burgers med-rare. With the assembly line of burgers and their smaller size I was not optimistic that they would be the correct temperature. Flip had a trendy feel which made me feel a bit out of place. Kinda like the time I wandered into Hot Topic looking for some khaki pants. I WILL go back, even if it is only to try another one of their decadent milk shakes!”



pillars of health

Hand cut french fries and vodka battered onion rings balanced out the rest of the meal. They were perfectly crisp, salty, and delicious.

I’m with Andrew- I am more interested in going back to Flip to taste out the rest of their interesting milkshake flavors, rather than the burgers. Or to sit at the chef’s bar and watch the hardworking guys use gadgets to create a tweaked version of classic American fare.


squirting mayo from a cannister

2009-11-10 12.30.01

they love this technique


eggs and BBQ sauce in an immersion circulator

FLIP Burger Boutique on Urbanspoon

Flip Burger Boutique
1587 Howell Mill Road
Atlanta, GA 30318

Chateau de Saigon Take Two (Continued)

So…..let’s get back to the main act of my meal at Chateau de Saigon. Well, it wasn’t exactly my meal but I did get to take part in the awesome experience that was La Vong Sizzling Fish. On the menu, it’s stated as ‘sizzling marinated fish filet chunks with sauteed onion & fresh baby dill served with lettuce, fresh seasonal herbs, and our House dipping sauce along with rice paper for rolling wraps. Cooked at the table’. Get ready for the Disney World ride of Vietnamese food. It is, in fact, a small world after all.

Explained best via photographs:


tableside cooker


onions and dill join the party


waiter brings over a pan of marinated fish and gets to work


squeezing in fresh lime juice


needs a lot of lime


time for herbs and veggies


stir it all around


necessary elements to create the wraps


dip the paper into water


put lettuce, fresh herbs, cucumbers, apples onto rice paper


throw on some noodles


and the cooked fish

We also added peanuts and super spicy chilis.

Let’s get rolling:


time to eat!

As you can see, this dish is uber interactive and a lot of fun with a group (or with people who are food nerds, i.e. ME!)

Chateau de Saigon
4300 Buford Hwy NE
Suite 218
Atlanta, GA 30345
ph: 404.929.0034

Chateau de Saigon on Urbanspoon

Chateau de Saigon Take Two

My first meal at Chateau de Saigon was excellent. I craved the Lemon Grass Tofu dish everyday, so I was pulled back for a visit a few days later.

Of course, I had to get the tofu:


must snap a


photo before


diving in

It was just as delightful as I remembered: crunchy outer layer with a silky smooth innard, topped with a nice bit a heat.

My friend, Lindsey combined her Jewish roots with traditional soup and ordered the Pho with brisket:


meat - check, broth - check, noodles - check

It came with the expected herbs, sprouts, and flavor enhancers:



I caught her picking some of the white fat off the meat, but I believe she enjoyed the broth.
Meredith (of the home-made blintzes fame) had a salad and noodle entree:
Goi Xoai Tao Tom Thit – Shrimp (no pork) Apple Mange Salad with mint leaves, fried onions, crushed peanuts. The salad was only ok – it does not live up to C’om’s version but it is passable.


noodles, where are you?



Crispy Fried Egg Noodle with chicken – the noodles were crunchy (as advertised) and the chicken was tender. I did not love the sauce, but there was nothing wrong with it. It was just a bit glossy and a touch sweet.

I ordered the Seafood Clay Pot or Hai San Tay Cam:


covered with herbs



It came with shrimp, scallop, calamari, calamari ball, fish filet, and tofu – for the most part, the seafood was cooked correctly, slightly veering on overdone (read: rubbery). I bet this tends to happen in clay pots since the bubbling sauce continues to cook your protein as it sits in front of you at the table – you gotta eat fast!

I had a love affair with my favorite bite:


meant to be together forever


just me and you


ahhh, life is good

The main event of the meal was Lauren’s order of La Vong Sizzling Fish. There’s a lot of ground to cover so it’s coming up next………

Chateau de Saigon on Urbanspoon