Thursday, September 29, 2011

Atlanta Restaurant Review: Tavern 99

At first glance, Tavern 99 looks like a Taco Mac. So as the Mr. and I strolled up to a recent media dinner, my expectations were set low. Then upon entering there was a certain cleaning fluid scent that did nothing to allay my fears.

Turns out I had no reason to worry. Tavern 99 caught fire not too long ago, but fortunately damage was limited, and they were in the process of getting the smoky smell out, hence the cleaning aromas. This was a couple weeks ago, so by now I'm sure it smells AOK again.

Better yet, the food was significantly better than what I'd expect from a Taco Mac-type establishment. Cherry rubbed baby back ribs were sweet and succulent. The caprese was fresh and flavorful (I usually expect very little in the un-fried arena when at a bar & grill, emphasis on the bar).

Everything from the gyro and roasted garlic hummus to bbq shrimp and grits were all 'round better - more nuanced, more flavorful - than I would have expected. The chef spent some time talking to us, and it was clear that Tavern 99 is not a by the numbers bar & grill. Clearly they're thinking about what they serve and are succeeding at exceeding admittedly low expectations for the place you go to hear a band or see a game.

In addition to a patio and plenty of flat screens, Tavern 99 is also set up for live music with weekly performances. Can't say that I spend a lot of time in Buckhead or in bars these days, but color me surprised - Tavern 99 is a pretty darn fun place.

Tavern 99
128 E Andrews Drive Northwest
Atlanta, GA 30305-1315

*Full disclosure: Although my meal was comped, I always endeavor to offer my unbiased opinion of the experience!



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