My Saturday was originally planned to be uneventful. It was to be whiling away the hours hoping my little fortress didn't run out of water OR trying to lead my virtual basketball team to a make believe NBA championship. Neither are particularly satisfying, I should be writing and although story ideas and dialogue dance through my mind I have been less than inclined to write. It's a certain ennui. So when my brother and his paramour, who shall be referred to by his old nickname for her - Sal - said they would be stopping through it was at least something different.
I cleaned up, and they swung by after jaunting through some nearby neighborhood they'd heard was nice, but wasn't. After some sage career advice from Sal, a successful lawyer for quite some time, they decided to pop around the corner for lunch. In my neighborhood. Ha ha ha. For some reason I couldn't talk them trying the Chinese restaurant where you got served from behind the security glass. Instead they invited me along,and we decided to hit the Westside of Atlanta, an area with a more than burgeoning dining scene. As you know, I don't really go out like that since Sporty left, she's the perfect dinner date, so my dining selections weren't very helpful. And since I couldn't talk them into Curly's Fried Chicken, we decided on Five Season's Brewery.
I know I said Bocado. Hang on.
Five Seasons on West Marietta is at the corner of what I imagine Buckhead must have looked like before the bars, which they have since torn down, moved in. There is a coffee house, a pottery place, gym and plethora of other eating spots all right there in walking distance (or just over walking distance) of some nice townhouses and lofts, in one of which Sal's daughter, Little Sal, makes her home. Oh the modern college student. My brother joked that Lil Sal would pop up before long since she knew they were in the area, her being a student she probably couldn't pass up a free meal. We got a spot on their upper deck Sky Bar and opened our menus.
It was about here I find out that my brother has apparently become somewhat of a gourmand over the past few years. I say this because I one time in his life he was overjoyed to eat undefined meat over his rice from one of our home town bistros (read: hole in the wall joints), but now finds that the taste of grass fed beef is untenable to his sensitive palate. That and sweet wines like Moscato and Reiselings may as well be sugar water. The wines I knew about but the beef preference was new, and became an issue because as it turns out, Five Season's Brewery is an all organic restaurant. Grass fed beef all around. Considering I've dined their several times, that I'm just now finding that out may indicate a lack of inquisitive depth on my part.
As luck would have it, we could see Bocado from our perch on the balcony. The burger there had been touted by Lil Sal as the best in Atlanta, so my brother consulted his phone to check the menu, called and confirmed the beef was regular beef and having been so informed, decided we should decamp and head over. I simply followed their lead.
So, Bocado is...well, every other high end restaurant I've seen in the past few years on those occasions I've been out for drinks. I don't get out much anymore, so maybe there is some diversity somewhere, but I haven't seen it. Somewhere in Atlanta the designers got together and said "let's see how little we can do and still get paid." Bocado uses the ubiquitous single room concept. Concrete floors. Bare tables and plastic chairs. And that's about it. They at least had the decency to paint the brick this time, a nice off pale beige. The crowd was a mix of upscale suburbanite couples, the people in the know and, um...people of a slightly advanced age. The couple that walked in beside us could have been older than my parents. They were among friends. That aspect was admittedly different.
We got a table on the patio in the back then, in a unique twist on my usual dining experiences, everybody got the same thing: The burger. It's in the Five Guys mold, with two patties on a soft bun, only Bocado's burger is less greasy and the bun a little stronger than the affable chain. I will have to admit, it is a much better burger than I anticipated, even though you can't get all the toppings (full disclosure, I only ever get ketchup and mustard). I even had my first few bites sans my usual addition of french fries just to be sure. And the fries are good too! They come with garlic if you ask, and it actually makes them taste better. I'm a little sad I opted for no fries with mine. And no, I didn't filch fries, I was offered.
Just as we were finishing up, as sure as the sun rises in the east, Lil Sal appeared from around the corner. I use her as a measuring stick for my brother's relationship, in that when I first met her she was four or five, and now she's of drinking age. My brother and Sal been hanging out for a long time. It was the usual mother-daughter conversations, the we used to be in college and you don't know how good you got it conversations, and the man that food was good conversations. Actually rather pleasant.
For dessert, me and lil' Sal split the "chocolate cake with sea salt." No seriously, it had sea salt sprinkled on the top. Was supposed to be amazing. Supposed to be. In reality, not so much. But overall, it was nice experience. Good burger, good company, good conversation. Might have go back by there one day. Take a friend. If she's in town. I will be like old times. And hopefully times to come.