February 2011

The waiters at Iron Age are young, male, in uniforms, and in my daughter’s eyes, kinda cute. The look of Iron Age overall leans towards stone and metal, all wrapped in smallish cubes. The large screen in front features Korean dance videos. The synchronized groups of young girls in boots on screen make for a metaphor both modern and retro. You would expect Nancy Sinatra to step off screen and be totally at home here.

It’s a wait to get into Iron Age. We tried twice, dared the wait once. It’s a smallish place, smaller than the crowds wanting to come in. Largely Asian, with a few brave souls of other ethnicities, I haven’t decided yet whether they come for the food or the hipness, the atmosphere.

The food is good. If you get their $14.95 special, you’ll get your choice of meat (either pork belly or beef brisket) and rice (steamed or fried). The food will come with salad, banchan, some dipping sauces, and some wraps. Rather  than a skillet within which they cook meat, they use an angled metal plate. It’s another visual component that adds to the eye candy of the place.

This is another eatery where there is a button to call waiters. We used it liberally this day. It’s easy to run out of meat, or dipping sauce, or the lettuce. We preferred the hot dipping sauce generally, though my daughter heartily approved of the sesame oil sauce. Of the wraps, my daughter was trying the rice wrap. I was sticking with the slices of green vegetable.

Service was good this night. I thought staff tried hard to explain how to eat there, what the purpose of this mysterious liquid was, or that item not altogether familiar. Over time we all finally slowed down our eating, watched more video, or the two young men paired by us in our semi-enclosed space.  In the end, was it worth it, the food worth the wait? By the smiles on my wife and daughter’s face, I’d say yes.

Iron Age
2131 Pleasant Hill Road
Duluth, GA 30096
(678) 334-5242

Iron Age on Urbanspoon

Two are visible in this picture. Looking through some older pellets, we found another that sprouted. Using Jiffy 7 pellets, a heating strip, and 2-3 seeds per pellet, every pellet produced this time.

Note: A recent thread on the hotpepper.com site made reference to the Food Near Snellville article, “The origin of the boonie pepper.” Nice to see people making use of what we’ve found.

Summits has the best selection of beer in Snellville, and generally any place east of the Brick Store Pub. It also has a fine collection of big screens and decent food as well. Witness their steak salad.

Summit’s Wayside Tavern
3334-A Stone Mountain Highway (Highway 78)
Snellville, GA 30078
(770) 736-1333

Summits Wayside Tavern on Urbanspoon

Note: reviews of Summits are here and here.

I like the staff at the Royal Oak. They have one of the best bartenders around. She’s efficient. She remembers your name, she remembers what you like to eat and drink. And she’ll tell you when the specials at the Royal Oak are good. This one, a spicy chicken sandwich on ciabatta bread, was a good one.

The Royal Oak Pub
1155 Mount Vernon Highway
Sandy Springs, GA 30338
(770) 390-0859

Royal Oak Pub on Urbanspoon

Clay’s Sports Cafe is an eatery we’ve spoken about before, and as it has a really good salad, good sandwiches and convenient hours, it gets used often. Clay’s wings are popular.

Clays uses, I’m told, a 4 pepper blend in their hot sauce. Yes, those flavors do come through. You get the aromatic flavors of black pepper, the burn of the red stuff. It has more complexity than a pure jalapeno sauce. The celery isn’t bad either.

Clay’s Sports Cafe
6518 Roswell Road
Atlanta, GA 30328-3168
(404) 843-1233

Clay's Sports Cafe on Urbanspoon

Inventive, clever, and fun, America’s Top Dog is the kind of dog joint that makes choice a matter of want, rather than wish for. Easier to get to from the east than the west, it sits in a strip mall near the corner of Chamblee-Tucker and 285, close to a Big Lots.

There are a fistful of designer dogs, a few basic dogs (depending on choice of meat) and perhaps 34 separate toppings you can add to your dog. Choice reigns supreme here.

I had a Georgia Dog this day, and added some pepper paste to the mix. Jeff, who served me the dog, was low key, helpful, and a pleasure to do business with. They’re opening a new Top Dog in a few months up in Duluth, on Satellite just south of Duluth Highway, Ga 120. I suspect,  if I were a betting man, that Chloe would end up their first Duluth customer.

I came with 15 minutes to spare. And I felt I was served as well as if it had been 2pm in the afternoon. Nice place. Rating? Go. Just go. You’ll have a good time.

America’s Top Dog
3352 Chamblee-Tucker Rd
Atlanta, GA 30341

America's Top Dog on Urbanspoon

It was an event organized by the 285 Foodies crew, and I caught wind of it through a personal invitation by Mike “Gadgetgeek”  Stock. I was hesitant. He told me to sign up, and he’d make sure it all went well. In retrospect, I’m glad he did, because the event was pretty fantastic and I’m both overly stuffed and grateful for the opportunity this group gave me.

Gu’s Bistro lies about one block north of Buford Highway Farmer’s Market, in a strip mall mostly full of wholesale stores these days. It’s a bit off the highway, so you need to drive into what appears to be a half-abandoned mall. It’s in the same location as the now-defunct Chong Qing Restaurant. When I drove up and saw it, I thought I recognized the location. I have a photo, too blurry to scope out the name of the place.

It was a large crew, 27 at final count. It was a 15 course meal. No, I can’t remember all of it. Some of the photos came after people ate. Not everything is pristine. Some photos are of personal servings, some are the “left behinds”. That said, let’s start working our way through the food.

Lotus root was an appetizer and it was good. Spicing reminded me of a lighter version of  the cumin lamb served later. It has some starches, and so would be considered a carb in an exchange diet. 3/4 cup would equal one exchange.

Husband and wife (meat and lung) was good. There were a series of dumplings and noodle dishes about this time. I didn’t eat those. Doesn’t work with my diet.

Spicy chicken in hot pot was good, richly spiced, and reminded me of the excellent soups in the Chinatown food court. The fish maw soup was very well received, and the stuffed tofu surprised everyone.

Squirrel fish was a pretty dish. The version of dry fried string beans we had here was respectable.

Cumin lamb and the tea leaf duck were excellent, the smoked duck, when you could get a dark burned looking piece, approaching the sublime. Not everyone at the meeting agreed with me and the cumin lamb. I ended up taking some of that home.

After the meal, the chef came out and greeted us. I wish my photo of Julia (Foodgeek) and the chef had come out. Having a great photo of the two people most responsible for this meal would have been a terrific ender to this article. Let’s just end instead by suggesting that if you have the opportunity to share a meal with this crew, it will be memorable.

Gu’s Bistro
5750-A Buford Highway
Doraville, GA 30340
(770) 451-8118

Gu's Bistro on Urbanspoon

Atlanta Things To Do on raveable

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