Shaun’s Atlanta

August 23, 2008 · 3 comments

in dining out

Last night Katie and I tried to go eat at Holeman & Finch Public House, but apparently so did half of the other cool people in Atlanta. There was a 2+ hour wait for a table for two around 8PM. I do plan on trying again though, because it looked really swish inside (air cured meat hanging everywhere) and it appeared to be a fun place to grab a drink.

Thus after some on-the-fly decision making we decided to try somewhere else that is new to me – Shaun’s Restaurant on Edgewood (East Atlanta-ish). I had heard of this restaurant (and the eponymous Chef) but have never been and once I got over the fact that it was a half hour drive there from my side of town, I was pretty excited about it.

The exterior of the restaurant is unimposing and quaint, with a main street feel. There are a few tables in the window, which I thought would be a great place to sit if I had the chance. The inside of the restaurant had a real “down-home” old-fashioned southern style, but with some modern twists that I thought were very odd and resulted in a disjointed sense of style. You walk into the bar area, where we had to wait for a few minutes while our table was prepared, and the restaurant seems very trendy (like a One Midtown Kitchen). The long bar had metal stools affixed to the floor, was dimly lit, and there was an unattended DJ table setup on the far wall. There were no party goers at the bar at 8:30, but when we left at 10:30 it was “hoppin’” (as the kids say). There were a few people eating at some small tables in the bar area, next to a large chalkboard that listed the bar only menu, including a prixe fixe bar menu. Cool.

Once we entered the main dining room is when the old fashioned southern feel kicked in. The tables were similar to those at JCT – classic style, white, with butcher paper on top. The dining room was full, with a comfortable feel, and I liked it.

I don’t want to blab too long, so here are some pictures that I took with my phone that are somewhat discernible. It was really dark and the phone was having trouble taking clear pictures. Sorry.

Katie’s heirloom and goat cheese salad – pretty bomb. You’ve got to take advantage of the tomatoes during the season. For my appetizer I had the crispy sardinian flatbread salad. Overall it was tasty, but it could have been about half the size it was. Not sure why I feel it was a negative that it was so large (because who doesn’t like more food???), but it just looked imposing.

The wine we had was the 2007 Saint-Cosme Côtes du Rhône. The menu listed it as the 2006 and when I pointed it out to the waiter, he just kind of looked at me with a nervous smile and continued to uncork the wine. I think he wasn’t sure what to say and I didn’t press the issue, but I was put off by it a bit because while I would have said it was not a problem, he should have asked if the different vintage was acceptable. I haven’t heard too much great stuff about 2007 in France, so I kind of went into the wine with some preconceived notions, which I now think was a mistake.

The wine had nice and big aromatics, but it had way more bite than I was looking for. I was hoping for a lush Syrah but this had tons of bite with what I thought were overly-firm tannins. It had a definite vegetable component to it and the finish wasn’t very interesting to me. Maybe it needed more time in bottle, or maybe it just wasn’t what I wanted at that time. OR maybe I just don’t know what the hell I’m talking about because the reviews on CellarTracker were extremely positive for a wine of this price (wine retails for $15, I paid $44 – jerks).

Bad picture of my 14oz ribeye steak with a green chow chow relish. The waiter didn’t ask how I wanted it cooked (another gaffe on his part, but I should have spoke up) so they cooked it to medium. It was a little overcooked for my tastes on the outside, but the center of the steak was pretty great. It wasn’t on the same level of what I expect from a premium steakhouse, but there was almost no fat, and the seasonings were awesome. I didn’t regret it at all.

My steak came with some onions rings which would have been great if they weren’t overly salted to the point of being inedible.

They didn’t have a vegetarian entree option for Katie, so they put together a side plate for her. The waiter couldn’t specify what would be on it because it was the up to the discretion of the kitchen, but it was fairly awesome. There was a homemade coleslaw that was killer, extremely creamy/buttery polenta topped with stewed okra, and more heirloom tomato.

My dessert picture didn’t come out at all, but it was memorable. It was the vanilla bean sundae – a bowl with a warm brownie, topped with ice cream and whipped cream, then again topped with homemade chocolate coated popcorn. The whole deal was presented on a concave plate and the bowl with the sundae was surrounded by crushed ice. It was a drool worthy dish and the presentation made it even more notable.

Overall I was happy with the meal, despite the few mistakes. Our server and the host were friendly, the dining room was nice (though the traditional/trendy vibe was a bit confusing), and the food was good for the most part. The mistakes involving the wine and onions rings, plus the shortage of what I deemed to be “exciting” entree options will keep me from dashing back into their dining room, but I would recommend you try it for yourself.

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