Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bocado - Atlanta

When dining out at a nice restaurant, people have certain expectations about service. Everyone wants to have the personalized service of a 10 course tasting menu, but most want to pay Five Guys prices. From what I’ve experienced, most expectations about service can be ignored on a Friday or Saturday night. Sure, most places will have sufficient service, but don’t be surprised if at 9pm on Saturday night, you’re waiting more than a few minutes for your drink or the check. Of course, expectations can be exponentially lower when you’re dining out as a large group.

Keeping all that in mind, I was mildly annoyed at the Saturday dinner at Bocado. Yes, it was Saturday night at 8 pm, yes we were a group of 14, but making us wait for an hour when our table was waiting still pushes the wrong buttons. Actually I feel sorry for the two servers assigned to our table. They seemed to be genuinely trying to provide a nice dining experience, but still glasses went empty and dishes never seemed to appear.

Bocado actually has a pretty enticing menu, but I was stuck on the small plate described as chicken liver “goodness”, bacon and caramelized onion toast. Asking the waiter for a description, I was excited when I heard it was like a chicken liver mousse. Unfortunately, that is not what I received.

More like a rustic chopped chicken liver, at first I thought it looked like an odd fruit salad with a thin layer of mayonnaise.

Even with the bogus description, I was pretty happy with the chicken liver “goodness”. Each bite was creamy with big chunks of liver, bacon, and veggies without any noticeable irony taste. The one thing that kept throwing me off was the big pieces of celery I seemed to get with every bite.

More than an hour into the meal, the only thing that had arrived to our table of 14 was the appetizers. With Aaron making noise to the management, the entrees arrived a short while after. I figured for such a large group, something easy like the Bocado burger stack would be a wise choice.

With another rather rustic approach to the garlic fries, this looked like a promising plate.

The fries were up to par. Crispy, well fried, a subtle amount of salt and covered with the big chunks of garlic and herbs, they were a fine burger companion.

I was quite happy with how the burger looked.

Two patties stacked high and topped with melted American cheese and house-made pickles, it was a simple burger done well.

Actually the burgers were overcooked, but each bite was full of beef flavor, salinity from the melted cheese, and just enough tartness from the pickle to let everything shine through. This really tasted like a high end 5 Guys burger, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Aside from the catty management, the expectedly subpar service, there were a few things that annoyed me about our meal at Bocado. With our group seated on the patio, it was convenient for the smokers to slip away and indulge their habit, but it made our table alienated from the restaurant and out of sight, out of mind for the wait staff. Another perturbing oddity about Bocado was the last small plate item, bread and butter, Holeman & Finch bakery, salted butter. I know that Holeman & Finch makes some badass baked goods, but charging $5 for bread and butter just seems tacky. I was later told that the Bacado Burger Stack was served on a Holeman & Finch bun and that makes perfect sense, it just makes me wonder how much of the burger’s $12 price was because of the bun.

Bocado on Urbanspoon

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