Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Restaurant Review: Why Shaun's is my favorite meal in Atlanta

I love Shaun's Social Club & Restaurant in Inman Park. In fact, I tell anybody I talk to about Atlanta dining that this is my absolute favorite restaurant. Great atmosphere, delicious food and creative cocktails - Shaun's gets big points on all counts.

I recently ate dinner there once again with the boyfriend, little sister and her husband. The only thing that keeps me from dining at this local fave more often is that it's pretty pricey. We moved to Atlanta in large part because we were sick of spending money NY style, so it's hard to justify eating a meal at NY prices too often, but this time around we figured if we stuck to just entrees we wouldn't break the bank.

As always it was tough to pick just one thing off the menu. Little sister and I both tried a summery cocktail made of cucumber vodka and lemonade which tasted exactly like a Pimm's Cup, my favorite British import. Last time I'd tried the watermelon mojito and found it far too sugary so this time I was pleased to have picked better.

I don't often order fish but this time I decided to try the Georgia trout with mustard mash and cippolini onions, and I was glad I did. The fish was buttery and flavorful, and the mustard mash was much more interesting than plain ol' mashed potatoes. The boyfriend's hangar steak frites was good but not amazing. The duck fat fries were fabulous (everything should be cooked in duck fat as far as I'm concerned) but the steak was tasty but didn't knock anyone's socks off. Little sister and her husband shared Shaun's always yummy wagyu beef burger and pompano and grits (a replacement for the usual shrimp and grits). Both cleaned their plates so I'll take that as a good sign.

Service can be slow and at times surly. I once joked with the bartender that what they call East Village style chopped liver was a bit of a misnomer since NY's famous Katz's deli where Shaun apparently got his inspiration is in the lower east side not the east village. The glare I got in reply could have struck a lesser woman dead. Lesson learned, don't question the wisdom of Chef Shaun (even if I am totally right and he's wrong).

That said, I love the food and drinks at Shaun's so I'm not going to let a little service staff hostility scare me away. On other occasions we've also loved the schniztel, pork buns and fava bean salad. And the boyfriend who is a passionate organ eater thought the chicken liver fettuccine was heavenly. This place will take a big bite out of your wallet but it's worth it! Just don't question the staff's geography skills.

Pros: Amazing food and creative cocktails, great atmosphere, well loved chef, pleasant patio
Cons: Expensive, at times service can be slow or surly

1029 Edgewood Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30307



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