“…lunacy is how they should describe trying to get here”, are the words I read on my cell phone as I sped down MLK to meet Decatur Wine & Food Dude for a Monday lunch at Lunacy Black Market. Traffic and parking downtown can often be a bit of a hassle, but this day was even more disastrous due to the shooting of a new zombie television series downtown.
Lunacy has been open many months now, but this was my first visit to the latest endeavor of Paul Luna (formerly of Eclipse di Luna and Loca Luna) and his silver streaking pony tail. Once parked, and my credit card swiped for the new parking machines, I walked up Mitchell Street a few blocks, through an unfamiliar downtown Atlanta, an area with an often fleeting identify.
After a quick thirty minute, four mile drive, I arrived to the quirky and welcoming interior of Lunacy, which exudes a sentiment somewhere between chic coffee shop and my grandmother’s home. After a quick perusal of the menu, each of us ordered two sandwiches per person, and the same cabbage salad, which arrived first.
The salad was wonderful and mouth-wateringly memorable. It consisted of room temperature ribbons of red and green cabbage, dressed extremely lightly (so as to be damp but not the least bit soggy), mint, walnuts, and gorgonzola. The most balanced and subtly powerful salad in recent memory. Every flavor element played perfectly with the next, as did the textures. I’d bust out the word umami if I hadn’t read it fifty times in the last month.
The sandwiches weren’t as memorable as the salad, but it was a tough act to follow. The meats were tender, the ciabatta like bread firm and fresh, and just a few splashes of flavor from a variety of garnishes and sauces – what’s not to like for a couple of bucks?
Chef brought us out some Sichuan green beans mid-meal. Dude thought the free treat was because I’m big time, but alas I think he made a batch for a friend of his a few tables away, and probably had cooked more than was needed and gave us the extra. Either way, it was a tasty snack. The dry fried technique had been applied very well, better than many Chinese restaurants.
I did not sit here on my man date.
The gift of friendship…as well as a check for $13 for lunch for four sandwiches and two salads. Lunacy is quite the value, and I look forward to going and trying many more dishes. For a chef so well versed in tapas, I should not be surprised at this style, but they’re doing something a bit different here, having no peers in Atlanta for this type of food at this price point.