Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Restaurant Review: Dave & Busters

When Dave &Buster's first opened in Marietta approximately a million years ago, it launched with great fanfare, at least among my then fellow Cobb Co. high school crowd. Since then, it hasn't even occurred to me to head OTP for a night of sports viewing and arcade games.

But lucky me, I got a chance to relive my high school days to check out the new sports viewing set up and menu items at Dave & Buster's. So we headed out to my old Marietta hood and were pleasantly surprised with what we found.

I am the last person who would ever care about a nice sports watching set up, but even I could tell that their new design is pretty sweet. Plenty of comfy seating and so many huge TVs that you are certain to have a good view from anywhere in the area - this is a football fans dream. There's also a nice big private space with yet more TVs for parties or corporate events. They even have a big wheel they spin in the main seating area, and individuals or entire tables can win prizes like free drinks.

We settled in to our seats right in front of two giant flatscreens just as the SEC championship game was ending. As a total non-sports fan who went to school in the ACC, can I just say that the shall we say screeching enthusiasm of SEC fans was somewhat shocking to me?! Then it was time for the Big 10 championship, and we found that all the TVs were tuned to the ACC game, but they very quickly remedied that on the TV of our choice once we asked a waitress. My kind of service.

Pretzel Dogs
The menu is the type of something-for-everyone carb and fat multi-page extravaganza you'd expect from a giant sports bar type environment. Lots of burgers, wings and fries to go around, but also some more upscale offerings such as NY Strip and Cajun Shrimp Alfredo. I prefer less high brow sports eats, so we started with Pretzel Dogs and a new menu item, a sort of potato puff. The puffs were a nice change from just fries, but the real star were the pretzel dogs, served with a spicy habanero dipping sauce. During my sorority girl days, a favorite ZTA house dish were bagel dogs. We in fact would hoard them in to-go boxes and scarf them down late night after a return home from the bars. Hot dogs full encased in delicious bread is simply a genius idea (see: corndogs), and pretzels might be the tastiest bread wrapping of all. Yum!

Potato Puffs
For our main course, we split a Black & Bleu burger, a half-pound of Angus beef seared with Cajun seasoning, topped with melted bleu cheese, plus frazzled and caramelized onions, and Buffalo Bar Chicks, crispy chicken tenders, tossed in wing sauce, drizzled with Bleu Cheese dressing, and topped with lettuce and tomatoes on warm rolls. D&B's may be a chain just off the freeway in the suburbs, but you're still getting a pretty darn good burger. Color me impressed!

Black & Blue Cheeseburger
I hardly had room for the buffalo bar chicks, but I think everything tastes better with buffalo sauce on it, so these were a great accompaniment for football viewing. To wash it all down, I went all out and got a chocolate milkshake.  D&B's makes their shakes with real ice cream, and it was delightfully rich and creamy.

Buffalo Bar Chicks
I was too full to really dig into the bananas foster pie dessert. It didn't really evoke authentic bananas foster for me, but what little I tried still had nice, crowd-pleasing flavors.

D&B's Bananas Foster
All in all, I walked away from dinner pleasantly surprised. Even my honey who goes to sports bars far more than I thought it was better food than a lot of local sports bars (I'm looking at you Taco Mac!)

But we weren't done yet, at this point, we were off to enjoy the arcade. I feel like you have to make a decision before tackling their enormous game room. Are you about fun games (e.g., skiball, air hockey, racing cars) or getting as many tickets as possible to claim surprises? I find they're generally fairly mutually exclusive. Sure you can collect some tickets from skiball, but what's a haul of 5-10 tickets when some random games will spit out 100s?

We started with the fun games, and after I lost several kinds of car and truck racing and stank it up at skiball, I finally won at the last second in air hockey. Victory is sweet! Then we turned our attention to the ticket games and made our best effort to rack up the tickets. These games tend to be kind of random and frequently seem to be very luck of the draw, but we got strategic and at least managed to get enough to score ourselves a water bottle and earbuds. Alas, the Domo stuffed doll I wanted was not to be!

So stuffed and carrying home our spoils, we left quite happy. It may have been 20 years since I'd been there (good lord, can that be right?!), but it was still a surprisingly enjoyable way to spend an evening. I doubt we'll schlep all the way to Marietta from Virginia Highlands to watch a game very often, but if you live on that side of town, D&B's strikes me like a fun option for game viewing or even just several hours of entertainment.

Dave & Buster's - Marietta

2215 D&B Drive
Marietta, GA 30067

Dave & Buster's on Urbanspoon

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

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