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Friday, January 17, 2014

Southern Comfort at Wrecking Bar

Wrecking Bar Brewpub
292 Moreland Ave NE | Atlanta, GA

When traveling, it's hard to find good restaurants through all of the noise. There is somewhere to eat on every corner. Streets are lined with fast-food joints. Some people have trusted websites, others ask for recommendations from locals, for me a good way to narrow the search for a good restaurant is to focus on brewpubs. I find that many pubs concerned with crafting brews have menus that match. Now with the explosion of craft breweries, it's not so much a rule of thumb, but it's a good way to filter through the restaurant madness. 

This past holiday, while driving through Atlanta in the rain I quickly searched for somewhere to eat. Surprisingly, only a couple of brewpubs popped up on my search. Looking at the online menu at Wrecking Bar it seemed like the spot to go, and I wasn't disappointed.

Overall, this was a restaurant worth noting. It was comfortable and cozy. The staff was friendly without hovering and chatted up the regulars. The food was fresh, rich and flavorful. The bar was well stocked with some high-end bourbons and whiskeys. The beer they brewed was delicious.

It was fairly easy to find this spot. It's in the bottom level of a mansion. We ran through the rain, through the door, and straight to the bar. It was cozy and warm. The decor included lots of wood and stone. 

The chalkboard clearly showed the current selection. As soon as we sat down, the bartender handed us a menu (beer on one side and food on the other). 

They had a good selection of food. It wasn't pages of food to navigate through, but everything they had looked tasty. They had interesting takes on standard dishes like pickled peach flat breads and a hot pastrami sandwich with house-made pastrami, local baby collards kimchi, and Korean chili-garlic mayo. Many of their ingredients were sourced locally or from smaller operations. In addition to their standard offerings, they had Sunday brunch selections.

I ended up with a nice southern meal. I ordered three of the sides as my meal, they also had an option to get five. It was hard to pick just three! I ordered poblano grits, collard greens, and beer cheese soup. The grits were creamy and cheesy. The poblano peppers added texture and a mild spice. The collard greens were flavorful and hearty. I'd really like to know how they got all of the grittiness out. The beer cheese soup was smooth and warming. It was a great rainy day meal. I shared this with Mr. K, and he shared his chicken fried rabbit and waffles with me. They served it right, bringing a bottle of hot sauce without being asked. It was so good he almost forgot to put the syrup on it! The waffles were buttery and crisp. The rabbit was moist and tender. The breading was flaky and crunchy. 


I was able to try most of their brews (notes). In addition to the flight of six, we also split two more small pours.The beer selection was a good mix. They had something for everyone: rich stouts, bitter IPAs, light lagers, and a sweet Belgian. The brews were great examples of the styles, but better than the standard. 

As much as this spot screamed hipster on the surface with the craft beer, farms on the menu, and kimchi, it was far from it. Everything seemed to be done with the true intention of food and drink as sustaining art. It was done because it was good, not because it would draw in the crowds of hipster youth. If this spot was in my neighborhood, I'd go often. I'd bring out-of-town guests here. But me, I was just passing through.

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