April 2013


I really enjoyed the Wrecking Bar. Nice location, pretty inside, good waitstaff, good food, superb beer, to be considered in any “best of” pub list in this town. I came because they honored Atlanta’s own curmudgeon, DING, of Ding’s Beer Blog. DING is a pain to local brewers, at times curt and insensitive, but he’s a sharp guy (author of some well respected books on chemistry) and in general, for things he’ll bother to fight about, has a reasonable point of view. The Wrecking Bar actually made a brew, 3.7% ABV, an English Bitter that because of its low alcohol content, is classed as a session beer (DING’s position on session beers is nicely stated here). This is, as far as I know, the only time a blogger in Atlanta has had a beer named after him. What’s more, it’s a beer worth drinking over and over.

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Other than the DING, I had their stout and their porter, both good beers. Both are drinkable and not in the overkill category a lot of brewers seem to aim for these days.

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The food? I had a bratwurst, their kraut and a pastrami sandwich. The sandwich was gooey and full of great meat, but ran a little oily. Had the bread been dry I’d have been happier. That said, I’d suggest they have some ambition in terms of their food, I was certainly happy with what I ate. A pastrami has the problem of being a big sandwich with really juicy meat. A number of pubs I eat at have issues making a dry pastrami.

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It would be hard to understate the quality of the atmosphere in this bar on a lazy weekend. It comes close to perfection.

It’s very clear this place is aiming to be the best in town. It’s *almost* there. A little more work on the execution of dishes and it will be there, with superior small brews and food to remember. The combination of great beer, some serious food ambition, and a terrific location make this a must stop for any foodie who fancies a pint now and then.

Wrecking Bar Brewpub
292 Moreland Avenue NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
(404) 221-2600

Wrecking Bar Brewpub on Urbanspoon

PS – Easy to miss, from the road the Wrecking Bar looks like a Colonial mansion or part of a palatial golf course. The columns of the 18,000 foot structure are easy to dismiss when driving by. But to note, the ground floor is for events. The bar is in the basement, with the entrance on the side. Jon Watson has a fine discussion of how this building was renovated, worth reading.

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Festival on Ponce was something of a surprise. We were driving past it trying to get to a well known Little Five Points eatery, saw the tents, found parking a block from HD1 and hoofed it over to the festival.

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There were plenty of food trucks, some tent setups, with Williamson Brothers BBQ doing a tent as well as Red Brick brewing. I had Red Brick’s amber ale, a good beer for a warm spring day, and a pulled pork sandwich from the Williamson Brothers booth. later, I had a few bites of the turkey leg that Williamson Brothers were offering. I felt it was the best of the barbecue offerings we tried.

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I’ve had plenty of turkey legs at Renaissance Festivals over the past 25 years or so, and I’ve yet to have a turkey leg as good as the one the brothers were serving this day. The difference was that the turkey was smoked, and the smoked flavor came through clearly in the meat. The pulled port was decent. There was bark and smoke flavor in the pulled pork, though clearly that product was aimed to be tender as opposed to richly smoked.

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I also ate at the Yumbii truck this day. They do Korean tacos and they’re good ones. Not blow you away good but respectable food. Unlike some other Korean tacos, these are not drowned in a sweet sauce. Further, the rich serving of leaf lettuce makes these tacos a desirable choice for someone like me, with carb issues.

Williamson Brothers:

Williamson Brothers Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon

Yumbii Food Truck:

Yumbii on Urbanspoon

Summits has been having a Cajun themed special menu available for about a month now, in preparation for a crawfish boil they will have this April 13, 2013. I’ve had various items on the Cajun menu, including the sausage sandwich and the burger with andouille, and recommend you try their food.

Colossus Family Restaurant will be having its 30th anniversary this May 16th. This is a restaurant that can be really good when it is on point, so consider finding some time on May 16 to drop by.

This establishment has been in/near Peachtree Parkway and Holcombe Bridge for what seems like the longest time, in the same strip mall as Dalia’s. I hadn’t chosen to visit it, as it seemed yet another variety of the steakhouse/teppanyaki joint that so many suburbanites favor. My mother-in-law is Japanese, and so I don’t need a gentle, safe introduction to Japanese food.

Happy Sumo, though, has a sushi bar and that’s what interested my boss. He asked me to accompany him after work, as he has dietary restrictions that do not include fish. So this is a review of Happy Sumo as a place to eat sushi and sashimi. For those interested in Happy Sumo’s teppanyaki, you can try this review by Marie Let’s Eat.

Happy Sumo can serve up a pretty temaki roll, a cone shaped sushi oft favored by the Japanese housewife.

Happy Sumo can serve up a pretty temaki roll, a cone shaped sushi oft favored by the Japanese housewife.

I tend to judge sushi places by the quality of the fish in nigiri sushi. This variety, thick slabs of fish atop vinegared sushi rice, is the purest test of the quality of the fish in a sushi house. You can’t hide discolored fish, as you can in a stock roll. The simplicity of the presentation makes it a more extreme test of quality.

Tuna and salmon sashimi plate.

Tuna and salmon sashimi plate.

So we sat, we talked, we ate sushi. I was generally pleased with what we ate. We had nigiri, hand rolls, and a nice big plate of sashimi. Happy Sumo has a tuna and salmon sashimi plate I can highly recommend, and their hand rolls are a visual delight. Service quality in the sushi bar is quite good. Staff are friendly and service is constant.

Would I go back? Probably not for teppanyaki, as I see no reason to do teppanyaki when my family doesn’t favor the style. But the sushi at Happy Sumo is quite good, service is pleasant, and it’s totally suitable for a business dinner or a casual respite.

Happy Sumo
135 Peachtree Parkway
Norcross, GA 30092
(770) 248-0203

Happy Sumo on Urbanspoon