The Spotted Trotter

November 27, 2012 · 32 comments

in atlanta, misc food

spotted trotter

A recent need for some caul fat brought me to The Spotted Trotter, who said they could hook me up with some. I knew they would have it because they make these crepinettes which are like fantastic meatballs wrapped in the stuff. Spotted Trotter has been a mainstay of the Peachtree Road Farmer’s Market, where I first saw them, but have since opened a brick-n-mortar in the Kirkwood area.

It’s a small shop, with a deli case chock full of meats, both cured and not. Throw in a few cheeses, H&F Bread, some sundries, and a butcher knife collection, and you have yourself a quaint butcher shop and salumeria. Atlanta does not have enough of these.

spotted trotter

I did indeed get my caul fat, for just a few dollars, but caught the urge to sample a few things – some bresaola, cheese, pate, and a spanish (spicy) and french style (more aromatic) salumi.

Excited as I was to sample my treats, there was a bit of sticker shock as I handed over my quaking American Express. My total tab was about $85, which equals twice of what you see below. Granted, I should have paid more attention. The cheeses and pates were the costly bit. The cheese was good, but the pates were very disappointing as they were almost $50 of the total order (that’s four slices of each). Both were primarily made of chicken, with one filled with the rabbit boudin for which they are known. Neither were as creamy or distinguishably flavorful as I’d want them to be. Both had an unpleasant crunch from what I could only figure were tiny mustard seeds of some sort. They were simply, fine, which doesn’t cut it at that price.

The salumi, while priced more at expectation, did not fare much better. The French and Spanish were good enough, though the Spanish didn’t have the kick I’d hoped and the French lacked intrigue, with a hint of refrigerator flavor (as all of them somewhat had). The bresaola, however, was amazingly poor. Their red wine soaked version was dry, coated with salt, with no other discernable taste. It was confusingly salty and bad – I don’t think it can simply be my palate.

I wanted to like Spotted Trotter (check the photos of the nice shop below) – but for my money, Star Provisions and Pine Street deliver more satisfaction. I noticed that they have quite a large selection of salumi, and can only wonder if they are trying to cover too much ground without focusing on nailing a few things.

"the spotted trotter"

spotted trotter

spotted trotter

spotted trotter

 

  • Charose

    Got the worst duck breast I’ve ever had in my life there a year ago. Haven’t returned since. Also wanted to like this place bad.

  • Hugh

    Hey Jimmy, Nice work! I am sure they appreciate you sitting in your
    comfy home bashing what is, without question some of the finest meat in
    the city of Atlanta. When you went in, did you use the same judgement
    bashing this proprietor as you did to pick out the “overpriced” pate and
    cheese? The Salumi is the best in the city! I know who you are, and I know you
    are friends with some of their competitors. If you are going to be a
    reviewer of food or “Food Blogger” or “Blogger” of anything for that
    matter, it usually helps if you don’t have an unbiased agenda. Also I am certain
    that if you even knew the chefs that went into creating these items you
    would also know that if they knew you were not satisfied they would get
    you to a point in which you would be there. In my “Blog Opinion” without question, The Spotted Trotter is the very best in
    the city! Unbiased of course! Chalk it up to a bad day. Even you have those (see review above), right?

  • Darby

    This is a bit of a Food Blog Failure….I think you hit a bad day. I have never tasted anything in the city as good as some of Spotted Trotter meats. Do they do too much? Maybe. Is it better than the 6 things on the Pine Street Menu every day since they opened? Definitely! In all fairness, I would give them a much better review. Also, are you really writing with an agenda? You should ask yourself, is this really the hobby for me? Go Spotted Trotter!

  • A1Eatz

    To Charose: you know they don’t make the duck breast, right? God, if you are going to make a judgement call on something, do your home work, duh-huh. I think this Blogger fad is past its prime, To whoever wrote this, if you want to “distinguish” between something, go understand what it takes to do it, get good at what you do, educate yourself, get dirty a little, then you might be able to make a judgement call, I had a scotch egg recently made will Boudin Noir made by Spotted Trotter, it was YUMMMMMM! Havent been to the shop but all me and the family hear is that it is very good, guess we’ll see now.

  • http://www.eatitatlanta.com jimmy

    I sat on this for two weeks because I figured I would run into this, but decided to voice my honest opinion. The items I purchased were shared with many friends, including some who make their own charcuterie (as do I), as well as two respected food critics, and the consensus was the same. Since last night, two chefs have emailed me to agree.

    I had no agenda because I was amped to try Spotted Trotter, and was disappointed as a fan of charcuterie. To call me out as a blogger vs a producer is fair, because it’s much harder to be the latter. But that doesn’t change my opinion. Yes, I should have looked at the prices, but if the pate/terrine had been great (cheese was fine, and they don’t make it anyways, no problem there) then no big deal. I’ve dropped PLENTY of money at Star when it should probably go towards a car with failing brakes. The problem is – I can find equally proficient terrines at Whole Foods, for much less.

    I’m all for artisan/local made, but that doesn’t make it better.

    Interested to know which competitor you think are my friends. I know no one at Pine St, and I only know the cheese purveyor at Star.

  • http://www.eatitatlanta.com jimmy

    See my response to Hugh below.

  • Stacy

    Who are you? To call someone out for doing such amazing work in food “locally” should be against the law (kidding). Aside from the meats the chefs there do plenty to warrant a few questions about who you are and what makes you qualified to judge anyone’s food not just Spotted Trotter’s? You really should go back. Also Jimmy you seem a bit on the defense, no?

  • Emily

    Disappointed to see this review. I’ve had nothing but wonderful experiences with the product from Spotted Trotter, and have seen nothing but positive press for them since they’ve been in operation. If it was truly as disappointing as you say, why aren’t we hearing from the “respected food critics” or the rest of your apparently highly credentialed snacking party? Also, have you gone back to Spotted Trotter to raise these issues with them?

    Perhaps they had an off day. It happens. I certainly haven’t seen them have one, and I shop there regularly, but I’ll accept that it’s not outside the realm of possibility. I think it’s equally possible, though, that you and your charcuterie-making chef friends might be looking to take a well-respected business down a peg while also gaining some exposure for yourself with a piece written purely for the sake of taking a contrarian position…

  • http://www.eatitatlanta.com jimmy

    LOL

  • http://twitter.com/shrtstck shrtstck | icnt.mx

    I love how everybody here is using terms like “disappointed” and “what makes you qualified to judge?” and “learn to make a judgement call.”

    You are here on somebody’s site, to read their opinion. It is perfectly acceptable (and normal adult behavior) to allow yourself to disagree with people. This is Jimmy’s blog, for his perceptions of how food tastes to him, which last I checked that is a completely subjective thing. Ok, so Jimmy doesn’t like everything you do. Odds are this isn’t the only case where this holds true.

    The comments here are ridiculous; if anything, we should be talking about the disappointment that so many people are unable to tolerate opinions which challenge their beliefs.

  • http://twitter.com/shrtstck shrtstck | icnt.mx

    what makes you qualified to question his qualifications?

  • Katie

    Full disclosure, I am Mrs. EatitAtlanta. While I am his #1 fan, I can also be his #1 critic (what good wife isn’t ;) ). I have no problem telling Jimmy I think he’s being overly food snobby, or flat out wrong! I have to say, in this case I am quite surprised at the degree of negative comments. We go into reading these, and other blog’s posts knowing full well that these bloggers are hobbyists, and the information contained is opinion. And opinion does not require qualifications, merely a computer to type one’s thoughts. One hopes as adults we can digest differing opinions and have a productive discourse, and perhaps agree to disagree and move on. I can say Jimmy has no agenda, as the criteria for choosing food establishments consists of “hey, look at my want-to-eat spreadsheet and pick one.” That said, I hope the ST folks and its fans realize that any negative commentary from ANY blogger, customer, critic, etc is a means to improve an already well respected local establishment. I would venture to say that some of the most successful establishments are those who keep an ear to the ground for both praises and constrictive criticisms. That’s just my two cents :)

  • Johnny Sausage

    Well, Jimmy, we do know for a fact that you’re not against disguising paid advertisements as blog posts, so do be surprised when people are suspicious of your motivations.

    By respected food critics, do you mean someone who gets paid for reviews, or someone who gets paid-per-click by the ads on their site? There is a difference.

    That being said, my experience at TST has been that the product is usually amazing, it’s quite pricey, and Kevin Outzs is a giant douche.

  • Matt

    Have to agree. Love this place, but a serious case of “sticker shock”. I would like to go more often to support them, but at these prices it’s more of a special event kind of place for me.

  • Emily

    By your own logic, we should then be allowed to disagree with the author, no? I think that’s all anyone’s doing…My earlier comment wasn’t disappointed in him as a person, I was simply disappointed to see his review because I like the establishment and don’t want to see it get slammed unfairly. When he mentions that he and his friends also make charcuterie, he opens the door to (very legitimate) questions of bias. If he’s allowed to question other opinions of the Spotted Trotter, shouldn’t we be allowed to question his?

  • http://www.eatitatlanta.com jimmy

    I absolutely do my best be clear when a sample has been provided. I am never paid for posts. I pretty much say no to every sample now, simply to avoid bullshit accusations like yours. And I mean people who making a living as printed food writers.

  • http://twitter.com/shrtstck shrtstck | icnt.mx

    Why are you so affected by a blogger’s opinion. It’s someone’s impressions offered at face value, it’s not intended to be a formal decree on Atlanta ethics.

    There is nothing fair or unfair about the taste of food. It’s one of the most subjective experiences we have as individuals. It’s ok to not enjoy everything, it doesn’t make you a bad person I promise.

  • Emily

    Why are you so defensive of him? For starters, I’m no “so affected” by his opinion, I never took it as a formal decree (what?) and I never called him a bad person. I just didn’t agree with it, and didn’t like it, which, incidentally was the exact same reaction he had to the TST product that you’re defending so vehemently. Isn’t the purpose of a blog to put your opinions out there so others will read them? Just because Jimmy has a blog means he somehow gets a free pass from disagreement?

    Also, as I guessed earlier, it may just be that he put a contrarian opinion out there to bump up exposure and traffic to his website. And if that was his plan, it certainly worked. This post has gotten far more attention than anything else he’s written…

  • http://www.eatitatlanta.com jimmy

    Well that’s just mean.

  • Johnny Sausage

    You may call it a “bullshit accusation” , but it’s true. Most recently, http://www.eatitatlanta.com/2012/09/13/levelup/ , you decided it was post-worthy to write your experience with the free $100 that Level Up gave you to spend. I don’t really see what $100 is a sample of, but call it what you wish.

    Listen, if I were offered free samples of things I love (food), I’d accept in an instant. But if you choose to write about things you normally wouldn’t write about because you were compensated, don’t be surprised or offended when people wonder if you’re on the take.

  • http://www.eatitatlanta.com jimmy

    I was up front about the credit. And it was a $100 credit for a service you use at FOOD TRUCKS. I used $12 of it to get some meatball subs. Do you not see the connection? Jesus, some people are dense.

  • Johnny Sausage

    You’re being purposefully obtuse. Okay, you didn’t get $100 bill, but it was valued at $100. Would their name ever have made it on your site without that credit? Clearly, the answer is no.

  • http://www.eatitatlanta.com jimmy

    Not true. I don’t carry cash often, and was interested in using such a tool. But I won’t be able to win with a comment troll.

  • Johnny Sausage

    Find me one example of a food truck vendor that accepts Level Up and doesn’t accept debit/credit cards.

  • http://twitter.com/duluthcook Sally Morris

    Emily’s last comment was uncalled for.

  • http://twitter.com/duluthcook Sally Morris

    I agree with everything you said Jimmy, except the pate, which I didn’t get to try because they forgot to put it in the bag…neither was I charged for it. The charcuterie was disappointing. The bacon was good and I personally prefer it to Pine St. Yet the “Mr. Bacon” of our house (a name that Kevin sneered at) prefers Pine Street. I like these folks, I wanted very much to love their product despite the fact it’s quite a drive to get there. I think your take on trying to do too many things is correct. I still recommend them to anyone who asks me about bacon however.
    And to all you folks who must not have a life…. If you don’t like the blog, don’t read it. Simple enough. Jimmy is fair and upfront about all he writes.

  • http://twitter.com/duluthcook Sally Morris

    Sheesh! What’s wrong with these people

  • Lars1

    Hey Sally, GET OFF!! This Cat has done more great food in his first year of business than most chefs in the city of Atlanta have done in the entire career! Do your GD homework! Go eat something good!!!

  • Stacy

    Hey Johnny, it takes a douche to know a douche?! Kevin is a great chef and very good person. If he knew you, he would feel sorry that you my friend, are such a sad man! Haters hate, and douches, are well….are like you, douches….go seek some help man!

  • Kate

    ‘ … a quaint butcher shop and salumeria. Atlanta does not have enough of these.’
    ‘ … I can find equally proficient terrines at Whole Foods, for much less.’

    Your article and subsequent comments are in direct contrast. Maybe our city would have more of these quaint businesses lovingly home grown by our passionate chefs if Atlanta’s businessman-by-day-food-critic-by-night and self-proclaimed foodies stopped slamming their products on the Web. How do we expect these guys to move from the farmer’s markets and into a bricks and mortar scenario if we don’t bypass Whole Foods and support them instead?

    Fine if TST’s products did not live up to your price and taste expectations. But given you ‘sat on this [post] for two weeks’ it would have be more effective [and fair] to share your constructive feedback with the chef/owner then revisit his store before dropping this negative review. He is more committed to the quality and constant improvement of his product than just about anyone I’ve met.

    I hope others who love Atlanta’s food scene don’t have a similar one strike and you’re getting a negative review philosophy or next we’ll be reading a myriad of complaints about the lackluster–and lack of–restaurants and boutique charcuteries because our local artisans have high tailed it out of here and into the more chef centric cities Atlanta is striving to emulate. Then where we source our caul fat and crepinettes?

  • wino

    Not going to get into a catfight here, but i am a proud regular at Spotted Trotter. Always found Keving and the rest of the staff super helpful. Yes, the food is pricey, but does anybody know of a place outside of Buford Highway that serves top notch food at cheap prices? You pay for what you get. i am sure that anyone who becomes a regular at TST, asks a few questions, looks at the prices, etc. couldn’t remain a non-fan. BTW, the Sequatchie Cove Creamery cheeses are awesome.

  • kw

    This is a food blog and we did come here to read an oppinion. I think it serves the public and the business community very well to have a critical accounting of the goods and services being offered. I looked into this piece specifically because I wanted some type of idea of what to expect should I choose to visit this business. It’s kind of like a movie review.

Previous post:

Next post: