Friday, June 22, 2012

Food: Yelp Yourself, Atlanta Edition

Before people had smartphones, dining out far from home was a crapshoot. The quaint burger joint you stopped at could be an awesome local hole-in-the-wall...or it could be a greasy half-hearted tourist trap.

Now, though, it's easy enough to punch in what you want to eat on your app of choice (I favor Yelp) to get a listing of the best restaurants in the area. There's really no downside - you have the fun of discovery, but without the possibility of sitting through an inedible meal. Here's a couple of places Yelp took us to in Atlanta, Georgia:

Book Chang Dong Tofu House

There's a fairly sizable Korean population in Duluth, Georgia, and that means the competition among Korean restaurants there is unforgiving and brutal. Book Chang Dong Tofu House is one of the survivors, mostly due to its great location (on the elbow of a shopping center anchored by mammoth Asian supermarket Super H).

We stopped in, guided by Yelp and hunger. The reviews for the place were pretty solid, but it takes a lot to impress the hypercritical palate of my family and me...

We enjoyed the banchan spread, since it had satisfying amounts of pickled vegetables and fried fish. Unfortunately, the main courses were a bit disappointing: Mom didn't get much seafood in her stone pot rice, and my tofu soup had almost no meat in it. Everything was cooked fine, and fresh enough, but it's hard to be enthusiastic over what boils down to a $10 bowl of hot tofu, spicy broth, and kimchi.

2/4 stars

West Egg Cafe

The West Egg Cafe touts itself as the "best breakfast in Atlanta, Georgia." Breakfast is taken pretty seriously here at Shangrila Towers, so we decided to investigate this highly-rated eatery in West Midtown.

The place was packed to the gills, with a half-hour wait for a table. I started off with a giant 16 ounce latte, the remains of which you can see in the picture below. It was tasty - not quite as tasty as Habatat Coffee Company, but tasty.

Next up was a short rib hash: grits and two eggs served with a pile of braised short ribs, potatoes, onions, and peppers for $10. I thought the ingredients were good (the short ribs in particular were miles better than the normal "beef" hash you encounter in breakfast places), but it didn't knock my socks off. Likewise, Dad munched steadily on his challah French toast, but noted that the dish didn't have the oomph of John G's scrumptious cinnamon nut French toast. It's a well-made breakfast, certainly, but "best in ATL" seems like a stretch.

2/4 stars´╗┐


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