I came to Stationside for an after hours chef tasting. It was an intimate “get to know the venue and owners” type of event. I love these because in one visit you can know more about a place than in 10 normal visits. The brilliance is that despite putting their best foot forward you can still easily tell which places are delusional about being a quality destination and which ones are destined to become an Atlanta staple. As much as we all like to see a good train wreck every once in a while, it was refreshing to attend a venue which falls on the other end of the spectrum.
This place offers so many unique factors that I can see it being a regular hangout for many music lovers as well as food lovers. Let’s start with the food. First of all know that Stationside is connected to the music venue. One door separate the two and it really is like a place to come grab a quick bite around a show. They are open for lunch hours though so you can come by any time. The food itself is all locally sourced and of the highest quality. Case in point is all sandwiches are made with Holeman and Finch bread. It’s not surprising considering the chef comes from a fine dining background. However, the menu still remains casual with offerings of just sandwiches, soups and salads.
Every sandwich I tried here was phenomenal. My two favorites that I highly recommend is the Korean fried chicken sandwich and the chickpea burger. I am just as surprised as you are that one of my favorites is the chickpea burger because I usually enjoy the least healthy thing on the menu. While everything is relatively healthy here, this was one of the more “good for you” options, yet it was one of the most unique and flavorful as well. If that isn’t your style then you can’t go wrong with the Korean fried chicken sandwich. It was a large chicken breast fried perfectly that was still very juicy. What really made it was the accompaniments of the pickled carrot and diakon with gochujang mayo. It truly was a delicious option.
The last thing I will say is that the music venue looks awesome as well. It’s a very intimate environment. I would have guessed it wouldn’t have held over 400 people but they said capacity is 625. It’ a modern rustic venue as they kept a lot of the old train station there. Two bars on the wall and a stage where you can be right on the edge. I really have never heard of any bands that were scheduled to play there but I still want to come back because I am sure it’s a great experience.
Overall Grade: B
Somehow it happened that I have surrounded myself with a lot of food snobs. I always hated these people. I don’t know how I ever stood them or let this happen. You know the kind of people. You can’t go out and have a burger at a joint without them talking about this braised beef they had in the mountains of Tibet and how the attitude brings out the acidic taste buds to more enjoy the meat. It’s also the kind of people that won’t eat at a place that has multiple locations because chains are always bad and that is what’s wrong with the world.
I feel sorry for these people. Sometimes places have exploded into many location because of how great they are. I think Ted’s has become large for several reasons but one has to be that the food is quite tasty. After having a phenomenal bison burger the week before, me and my partner were craving another good one. We had a hard time finding a place that offered them, but Teds had a full menu of burgers in which any could be made into a Bison burger.
This one really hit the spot. The meat was of great quality and the cooks did it justice. Cooked perfectly and it was really filling. I ordered a spicier version of their burgers and the japapenos, pepper jack cheese, onion straws, and other additions just added a great flavor to it as well.
I would definitely go back. It was great quality at a reasonable price. My burger landed around $15 and for that price with a side and being one of the only places around that has Bison burgers, I can say I will definitely be back.
Overall Grade: B+
Believe it or not this was my first Bulkhead Life experience. Bistro Niko has been at the top of my list for several years now to dine in. The food did not disappoint at all. The smoked salmon tart was absolutely one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. What surprised me the most was that it was sizable and every inch of that tart was covered in a fresh delicious piece of smoked salmon. Every bite was better than the last. This dish itself got me super excited for the entrees. What I knew as soon as the entries arrive is that even though each person may spend over $50 in here, it’s one of the best values in Atlanta. The piece of fish in my entree was huge. My date had the scallops and she got 8 scallops! That’s crazy for a dish that’s only $25. Putting aside how the amount of food more than exceeds the price, the flavors and perfectly executed dishes just told me why Buckhead Life Restaurants are so popular.
There was only one blemish on the night and it was the service. The guy was extremely pushy in trying to sell us the most expensive of everything. In ordering wine, I wanted a cab and my date wanted a pinot, he suggested the most expensive in both. No problem, maybe they are the best. Well we said we were torn between the tarts, he suggested the most expensive one. When it came time for entrees we asked if any dishes stood out or were better than the others. He suggested the two most expensive dishes. Finally without even asking he brought us a dessert menu and without us even looking he said his favorite was the most expensive one on the menu. He always acted disappointed when we didn’t go with his recommendations as well. It was just an overall putoff on the night.
Overall Grade: B+
Ambiance – B
Service – B
Price/Quality – B
This is much more of a Gastro Pub than a tavern situated in an affluent part of Buckhead near Bricktops Restaurant and the Terminus Building. It’s actually exactly what Buckhead needs. It’s a non pretentious bar but is still upscale. It had many young professionals in their 30’s and 40’s that will give you a haven from the massive amounts of college bars in the neighborhood. It’s not a large space but a nice one with a polished industrial feel. It was a great place to hang out.
I had three dishes here: lobster roll, pork wing which came with a fried grit cake and carmelized red onions, and the R & F pizza which had ricotta, fig jam, and arugula. I have to tell you about the lobster roll first because it was a roller coaster of emotion. The only other time I had a lobster roll in my life was in Boston. I have had many lobster rolls in Boston and in case you haven’t been to Boston, just know I’m talking, large delicious fresh lobster that was swimming a few hours ago, slapped on a roll with some compound mayonnaise made in house. It’s amazing. Anyways, I was nervous to order a lobster roll in Atlanta. Then, when they sat down a little tiny lobster roll that was maybe 4 inches big I was disappointed. After reluctantly taking a bite I was back on top! It was the most delicious lobster roll I ever had. Extremely succulent lobster that just melts in your mouth. It was wonderful.
The pork wing was good as well. I feel like a sauce would have made it. The few slivers of carmelized red onion on the plate just wasn’t enough to go with it. The pizza was fine too but not my favorite. The dough was extremely light and flaky but the ingredients just seemed to be thrown on at random. Some pieces slathered in ricotta and others it was almost non existent. Overall the flavors were good and I’d love to come back and try more.
Lastly, I want to mention the beer here. They don’t swing too far one way or the other in the beer spectrum. It’s an even selection of lite beer, mass produced beer, and seven taps that rotate craft beer. I’m a craft beer lover and they had two on the list I had never even heard of before. So it was nice to be able to try something new.
Overall This place was great and I think if a gastropub is your scene, then this Bulkhead gem will not disappoint.
Overall Grade: A-
I really need to come to Woodstock more often. Some of my best restaurant experiences have been here, and place did not disappoint. I am going to gloss over the sushi. It was good, above average, and fairly priced.
What’s really amazing here is the ambiance, the people, and the drinks. Oh yes the drinks. I went with a pineapple upside down martini. This martini tasted just like a pineapple upside down cake except it was more delicious than any pineapple upside down cake I had ever eaten. Instead of bartenders trying to get pineapple upside down cake flavor into drinks, cake makers need to learn how to get the flavors of this drink into their cakes! It was the only time in my life I could understand how someone could get alcohol poisoning because if someone hadn’t dragged me away from that bar I would have drunk myself to death. Seriously, go drink here.
It’s also a cool place. Literally, they have an ice bar. It’s not completely ice but has a large strip that keeps your drink cold. The space is very modern and a little dance clubish but it’s really fun. All the people here are great as well. They were so friendly and even though they were slammed, they were great about being timely, attentive and engaging. Overall it was a really phenomenal experience. Come for drinks, dinner, or just to hang out and you will love it no matter what.
OVERALL GRADE: B
Food – B
Ambiance – B-
Service – A
Price/Quality – B+
Uniqueness – C
As good as the food was, the people working here was better. Two people were behind the counter. Both were some of the friendliest people I have ever met.They were genuine people who went beyond just being genuine. Their caring attitude ensures that you get great service, because they genuinely care about how your meal is and how your experience is.
The food itself is pretty simple but delicious. The lamb on my gyro was pretty tender and juicy. A large part of the pita was filled with lettuce, tomato and onion but all of those tasted like they just came from the farmers market. It was fresh and added to the gyro even though I would have liked to seen just a little bit less of those. What made it really good was the homemade tzatziki sauce. It was different than I had ever had before. It was in the middle of how well I liked it compared to other sauces but was quite distinct and tasty as well.
Overall it might not become a favorite place, but I definitely would come by here for a quick and cheap lunch if I was in the area. The food is good and the friendly staff makes me want to return.
OVERALL GRADE: A-
Food – A+
Ambiance – A
Service – B-
Uniqueness – B+
This is some of the best Mexican food I have ever eaten. I am a big fan of Mexican food and I have had some of the highest rated restaurants, highest priced, and most hole in the wall places you have ever seen. Overall, this place might just be one of my all time favorites.
Our meal started with some guacamole. It was hand made right at the table for us in a molcajete that they left at the table. All fresh ingredients were added by a very skillful person. For an entree we got the tres enchiladas and a grilled shrimp entree. The Enchiladas were perfect. Even on a packed Saturday night, I could tell the kitchen took care to prepare and plate my dish. It was so colorful and bright. Anyways, my first enchilada of braised beef was perfect. It had a spicy mole sauce and the juiciest beef in it. It also included a cheese enchilada with tomato sauce and a chicken one with a cream tomato sauce. Both were perfect as well. The shrimp entree had so many elements that I was surprised that all of them came together perfectly. The shrimp, rice, tomatoes, onions, chilis and more gave a lot of depth to the dish, but the garlic vinaigrette tied it all together as did the spicy chili mixed into each component. All in all, this was a phenomenal meal where we cannot wait to go back and try it again.
OVERALL GRADE: C
Food – C
Ambiance – B
Service – B-
Price/Quality – C+
Uniqueness – C-
With near perfect ratings on the internet, I truly thought I’d fall in love with this place. The menu looked great, especially the ability to make your own bento box and bibimbap. I, not feeling too adventurous, just went with a traditional bibimbap.
There was good and bad to my meal. The good is that all the ingredients seemed fresh, was cooked perfectly and tasted good. What did not taste good was the hot sauce it was served in. Honestly, I thought it was truly disgusting. It just tasted like watered down processed hot sauce. If I hadn’t poured it over my food before I started, I probably would have enjoyed it. It might could have been recovered but my meal didn’t start out well either. The soup I was served was just barely flavored water with two small bits of tofu. It wasn’t good, but I didn’t get a chance to eat it as my meal came less than 2 minutes after my soup arrived. It really bugs me when entrees come right on top on the first course.
While the ingredients may have been good, the small things here and there that troubled me gave me enough reasons not to return.
OVERALL GRADE: D
Food – F
Ambiance – B-
Service – C-
Price/Quality – F
Uniqueness – D
This was just an awful experience from start to finish. We had a larger group so we understand it may take a few minutes to setup some tables for us. It took so exceptionally long though. It took almost 45 minutes before they sat us in a restaurant that never got much more than 50% at capacity. The hostess kept sitting tables where she was supposed to keep them clear so we could slide some together. Our group gets along well so we hung out and enjoyed talking so we could have overlooked this slight.
Once we sat down, we ordered food. We thought it might take a little longer for our group of 11 so we went with a couple of cheese dips first. We made a special request on one of the cheese dips which we were told could not be fulfilled because it was already made. Ok, still no big deal so we got it anyways. Well, the cheese came and it was yellow. It looked like melted Velveeta and tasted rather funk. We asked about the typical white melted cheese dip you get at every other restaurant in America and were told that #1 that’s their only cheese dip and #2 it’s like every other cheese dip out there. No, no it isn’t. Even if it was why would you not have confidence that your food is better! Anyways, we were right and food took forever, even longer than we thought, and when it arrived we were just as disappointed. The meal was flat. Not much flavor to anything and nothing stood out. Everything seemed to be of low quality and the meal just wasn’t very good. We couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
OVERALL GRADE: A-
Food – B+
Ambiance – B-
Service – A-
Price/Quality – A+
Uniqueness – A-
These are the biggest pieces of pizza I have ever seen in my life. They advertise it as slices as big as your head, but I think they are larger than that! I once ordered an entire pizza for my office and had difficulty fitting it into my car. Anyways, all of this sounded gimmicky to me, but I really enjoy the pizza here.
Their lunch special is a slice with two toppings and a drink for $5. That’s an amazing deal considering one slice is at least the size of 2 regular ones. The pizza is more New York style. It’s thin but an evenly cooked dough with quality toppings. I enjoy it.
The place itself is small. The dining room is a long narrow hallway with some booths and tables. The counter you order at is around the corner. Everyone I have met there is super friendly and gives great service. I would recommend this place to anyone looking for a quick lunch and a good slice of pizza on the cheap.