Monday, December 10, 2012

A Quick Restaurant Review - Del Frisco's Grille

How do you end up at Atlanta's newest hot spot, one which is packed to the rooftop and not accepting reservations, and still manage to score a table at prime dining time on the outdoor deck on a late fall Friday night? You travel with a VIP diva, that's how. Or at least that's how I ended up at Del Frisco's in Buckhead to celebrate Serve's birthday before she jetted out for a Caribbean getaway. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's go back a bit.

It's Friday night in Atlanta, and I'm...home. I've got a rousing evening planned with Dwarf Fortress strategy, writing sample tinkering, light bar exam prep and maybe even re-reading some home renovation magazines. Excitement! The oven is preheating, I'm about to take the defrosted chicken out of the fridge and my phone rings. It's Spanky, the VIP diva, asking what I'm doing. I explain that I'm about to have a Martha Stewart episode - baked chicken mixed with brown rice, mushrooms, broccoli, green onions, maybe some sweet corn all tossed in a pot, then add warm naan bread on the side and maybe a nice white wine or the Crystal Light - when she asks if I want to go out because it's Serve's birthday. Serve's out with a manfriend, and she's gonna meet after for drinks, but Spanky doesn't want to eat alone. I've been making it a habit as of late to actually go out when people ask because as I understand it the internet doesn't turn off in this country and it just so happens television repeats a lot. She up in arms about this spot she wants to go to Del Frisco's Grille that she read about on, so I shelve my plans and tell her I'll be over in a bit.

I need to say this now, because the idea ran through my head pretty much all night, and in fact I even mentioned it Spanky. It felt odd because this was the kinda of night that in the past I would have spent with Sporty. Fun, adventurous, and different. Without her, there was something missing. Sigh.

Spanky decides we're going to ride the train up to Buckhead. If you're from a major city and think nothing of riding the train, let me tell you now that Atlanta is not that kinda city. It's a car kinda city. Very car. So riding the train, something I formerly had primarily done to go to sporting events at the dome was out of tweak. But I was game. We boarded with people riding up from the airport, people getting off work late, collge age kids headed out into the city, a veritable smorgasbord of people. It proved convienent as well, as the station was only a half a block from the restaurant which appeared to be on valet overload maximum.

So we arrive around 8 p.m. On a Friday. With no reservations. The hostesses politely informs us that a table might open up around 10:30pm, but we're welcome to wait at the bar. The already packed, two deep, shoulder to shoulder bar. Where five guys I already know are sitting! I leave it up to Spanky and try to catch the bartender's attention. I am not successful. I am not amused. But, ten minutes or so later when I go back over to the hostess station to check on Spanky, the hostess says right this way and we're given a seat on upstairs patio overlooking Peachtree St.

I refuse to ask Spanky what she might have told that woman to get us that table.

Del Frisco's is one of the places that has the short one page menu, supposedly indicating we only cook these things and we do them well, in a movie glossy interior. Apparently they were not informed of Atlanta's "big empty room" concept of restaurant decoration. Interesting. It was a rocky start as the bar was out "good" bourbon and the seat cushions insisted on stillness, not comfort, but we soldiered on. We started with a crab cake (my habit), with Spanky getting the Delmonico steak with a potato cake and me getting the Cheesburger with no cheese. 

Sooooo, the server was great. AND, their signature shot, the Honey Badger, - pineapple juice, sweet and sour and Tuaca - were so good we had a second round when Serve and her birthday manfriend arrived (they'd dined at Dante's Down the Hatch which was right next door.) And Del Frisco's is great for people watching. And they had these outdoor heaters with flames shooting up like three feet in the air.  And the view of Peachtree St included the Christmas tree at Lenox Mall and the soothing motion of traffic. Yup, it sure did.

Oh, the food? Um, maybe I need to apologize to my brother, because I think that beef in my burger was grass fed. It didn't have that burger taste. And the fries were too skinny. And the crab cake was just so-so. And Spanky is still trying to figure out what the potato cake was...think mashed potatoes in a patty, with stuff inside. What stuff she's not sure.  She did like the actual steak though. This supposed to be steak house, a national chain steakhouse, all kitted out - the wall of wine was nice, but there are better steak houses with better steaks...and trendy stylish joints elsewhere in the city. And a steak house isn't just steak, it's sides, it's proper drinks, it's atmosphere.  Maybe it's because they're new and maybe it will get better.

I would have been getting the side eye from Sporty over this one.

Barkeep, explain to me how you run out of good bourbon on a Friday 8pm.

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