Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Canadians, Deviled Eggs, and Gentleman's Relish

What can I say? With an introduction like that I guess that there’s no need to tell you anything further about myself. Accept that Joe and I have been friends for several years, starting when he moved in with me for three months while preparing himself for life’s longest and hardest adventure…. marriage. Those three months turned into over a year, Joe was taking his time before diving in to the nuptials. While Joe lived in my home we grew to be great friends mostly base on our mutual love of great food and wine.

This being said, when Joe started this site I new that he would need true guidance from someone who actually understood the difference between a trendy “Atlanta Scene” and a quality dining experience. I will be choosing fine restaurants, bars, and dives around Atlanta and educating you, my lowly minions, on their worthiness.

Now for the meat and potatoes:

Everyone’s favorite Canadian and Tailgater extraordinaire Mike and his beautiful wife Amy have joined forces to create a new 7 pound 10 ounce half Canadian baby boy named Winder. In tribute to the Canadians my first subject will be Mikes favorite gastropub. Holeman and Finch public House.

A gastropub (or gastro pub) is a British term for a public house which attempts to specialize in high-quality food. The name is a combination of the terms gastronomy and Pub. “Gastro Pub” is the result of David Eyre and Mike Belben’s creation of a pub called The Eagle in Clerkenwell, London.

H and F (to you hipsters out there) is located at 2277 Peachtree Rd. (Peachtree Memorial Dr.) Atlanta, GA Map 404-948-1175 (Don’t bother calling for reservations.)

Food: The menu is nothing less that striking. If you can’t find something that “puts a little hitch in your gitty up” there is something terribly wrong with you. I started with the salumi, charcuterie and sausage ($15). I respected the fact that they were curing and developing their own meat, but was in no way impressed with their results. The Deviled Eggs three ways (3$) were delicious, the corn meal fried oysters ($9) were prepared perfectly. I did not however try the “Gentleman’s Relish” nor the “Crunchy Gentleman” (H and F’s take on a ham sandwich). The menu contained several items that I felt were a bit of a stretch for most people, BBQ Pigs tail comes to mind.

For my main course I had to try the much ballyhooed H and F Burger. This burger is made up of H and F’s own mixture of special cuts of our hoofed friends. The burgers are prepared to be served at 10 P.M. Don’t bother ordering one earlier or suggesting a temperature that you would like the burger to be served (i.e. Medium Rare). The server will get a giggle from such ridiculous request and inform you that 24 burgers will be served at 10 P.M. and “not to worry our chef knows how to cook a burger.” The result, a really good, but over hyped burger. They would be better served to put it on the menu, lose the hype and let people enjoy one of the Atlanta’s truly good burgers. Now for dessert, the Devil's chocolate cake ($7) was Fresh and tasty. I believe the young lady I shared it with would have stowed away the leftovers in her purse had she not cleaned the plate so thoroughly there was no need to wash it.

Décor: The interior of H and F is very well decorated. It is what someone like “Cookin Joe” would call “modern rustica”. I however would not, because I do not raise my pinky when I drink tea. Plus- I don’t drink hot tea…. Just sayin. I digress, the only problem is that the space is so small that (when busy) there is no comfortable place to sit or stand. This is a great problem for the ownership because this means that they are busy, for myself it didn’t work for the simple fact I don’t like to be crowded while trying to enjoy my dining experience.

Service: The attractive hostess whom had already informed us earlier that they did not take reservation would now let us in on the fun fact that the only table in the restaurant that would allow our group of 8 to dine together was occupied. Not to worry! The group were now starting to leave one at a time. Crisis averted? No! We then learned that “because we are a public house” we would need to sit in seats at the table as they opened up. That’s right! Let me make a suggestion, if you like your legs (or especially walking)- and I do not know you, do not ever come sit at my table while I am finishing dinner with friends. It made the atmosphere shrink and took me back to grade school cafeteria rooms of my past. Our 85 pound metro-waiter gave excellent service while maintaining an air of arrogance until I made it clear that I was not a fan of the seating arrangements nor the attitude of the sum of the staff when questioned about such things as the seating or the “H and F” Burger.

Cost: Surprisingly not that bad, I had three starters, the burger and dessert for around 50$. Throw in your typical Buckhead drink prices and I left around $125 with tip.

Overall dining experience: Canadian Mike” loves this place and especially there beer choices, the ladies loved the drinks, but I thought the overall experience was disappointing. Not to worry H and F faithful, the crowds will continue to pack the place for their overall high quality food and service. As well as the fact that the average trendy Atlantan (that I abhor) will keep attacking this scene for years to come.

I rate this 3 out of 5 on the Wild Hog chart (graphics to come) due to the pomp and physical discomfort.

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