Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Oct. 25, 2008 - TWO Urban Licks

TWO Urban Licks
820 Ralph McGill Blvd
Atlanta, GA 30306

After an attempted September meeting, the BTSC is back again for October. Our venue was TWO Urban Licks, part of the Concentric family of restaurants.

We had 7 people in attendance for our Saturday night meeting, so there was much sharing of food. A couple of BTSC members knew the bartender, so we had an "in" for what items were most popular with patrons and staff alike.

- Thai Tuna Tartare
- Empanadas
- Lamb Lollipops
- Fried Green Tomato Salad
- Mini Corn Dogs

Originally, we were going to have the top four on this list, but upon the recommendation of our waitress (a very patient girl from Washington state named Vanessa) we added the Corn Dogs.

The tuna tartare was quite nice. Wonderful texture with only a hint of spice from the Sriracha aioli. The wonton chip looked more like a chip from a Mexican restaurant. Mango and avocado made for a good palate cleanser.

The short rib empanadas were the best appetizer of the bunch. The meat was tender and flavorful. The empanadas themselves were huge - easily dividing up for the whole table.

Lamb lollipops were disappointing. Very small and little on the dry side. I must have missed the grape chili jam and goat cheese.

The fried green tomato salad was recommended by several staff members and did not disappoint. Tomatoes were light and slightly tangy, with the goat cheese adding to the effect. The herb vinaigrette was strong but not overpowering. I'd consider getting a plate of that by itself.

The mini corn dogs looks delicious, but I did not like the taste as much as I had hoped. They seemed rather average to me.

Main Course
- Bronzed Scallops (Gouda grits, smoke tomato broth)
- American Shrimp (Low Country style, Andouille sausage, corn, potatoes, okra, toasted ciabatta)
- Tuna (seared, avocado-edamame salad, spicy sesame dressing)
- Pork (braised, NY backed cheddar macaroni, pork jus)
- Tanglewood Farm Duck Breast (Italian sausage stuffed, Cayenne sweet potato puree, ancho BBQ jus)

Sampled only a piece of the ciabatta dipped in the Low Country boil stock of the American Shrimp dish. Nice flavor, but seemed to be a lot of work to eat.

The duck breast and sweet potato puree, each by themselves, were wonderful. The duck and potato together made for an odd combination of flavors I'm not sure really went together. I couldn't reconcile the tastes and I have to say would probably not order this again.

The tuna was very well prepared. It definitely needed the sesame dressing (which was special ordered on the side). The edamame salad was a nice change from the typical vegetable medley.

The braised pork was so tender, you didn't need a knife. Fall off the (non-) bone good. Flavorful and a good match with the mac-n-cheese, but you can't go wrong with mac-n-cheese.

If the two BTSC meetings are any indication, the rule of the day should be "always get the scallops". Huge scallops, cooked so well. So buttery and tender and a perfect match with the grits. Not sure I could have eaten a whole plate of this, but definitely my favorite combination of the night.

After Fun with the bill (computers were down, then "I'll pay for 2/35 of the Empanadas, please."), we went to Spoon for dessert. I won't comment on that for now as I know at some point we will go back there and I will write a full review.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Aug. 14, 2008 - Eurasia Bistro

Eurasia Bistro
129 E Ponce De Leon Ave
Decatur, GA 30030

The first meeting of the "Black Thai Supper Club". We decided to go to Eurasia Bistro in Decatur after reading their special menu for Taste of Asia Week. Two courses for $28, but when you see rack of lamb on the menu, you go for it.

Appetizer was the Black Plate - a sampling of three different appetizers:
- Crab Spring Roll w/Lettuce Wrap and Tamarind Dipping Sauce
- Grilled Bamboo Skewered Chicken Satay
- Stuffed Shrimp w/Asparagus and Shiitake Mushroom

The spring roll was average - good but not tremendous. The satay was surprisingly tender and the carrot and cucumber sauce in lieu of peanut sauce was a nice change. But the stuffed shrimp was the winner of the plate. Crisp, flavorful and served on a mini-salad with a wonderful plum sauce dressing. I'd definitely order the shrimp again.

On to the Main Course! The four of us got the three different choices:
- Roast Boneless Cornish Hen Marinated in Five Spices w/Baby Corn and Asparagus
- Char-broiled Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb w/Thai Basil Aioli
- Sea Scallops in Rice Batter with Broccoli

The cornish hen was good, but not excellent. As with most small birds, there were pieces that were cooked to overly dry. The meaty parts were nice and the skin had good flavor. The baby corn and sauce were nice, but the asparagus tended towards bitter.

Cooked to medium rare the large portions lamb did not disappoint. Mushrooms, onions and rice soaked up the aioli nicely.

The winner of the main course fare was definitely the sea scallops. Tender with a light crunchiness from the batter, fresh and flavorful. I would certainly return to eat a plate of that again.

Even though dessert was not part of the fixed menu, we decided to indulge. We got four desserts that were from Alon's:
- Green Tea Cake
- Tiramisu

- Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake
- White Chocolate Mango Cake

The green tea cake was a nice idea, but poor execution. The mint garnish was overpowering and the cake seemed at times bitter. The tiramisu was nice, but not the best I've ever had. The chocolate raspberry mousse cake was sweet almost to overpowering, but still worth the money. But the surprise dessert was the white chocolate mango cake. Sweet but not too sweet, good flavor, quite refreshing. A nice finish to our meal.

All in all, a successful first outing of the Club. I'll post as we continue our Page-by-Page Culinary Tour of Atlanta.