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The Empire Strikes Out (Empire State South – Atlanta, GA)

At $70.00 per person, you shouldn’t shrug and say, “Meh.”

After enjoying a wonderful anniversary dinner here two years ago, we booked a Saturday night “Father’s Day” dinner at Empire State South. We had a pretty good experience, but when spending about seventy dollars per head at a restaurant associated with a James Beard award-winning chef, is “pretty good” good enough?

Appetizers and small plates were perfection, including a succulent (but stingy and sloppily-plated) serving of octopus:

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We also enjoyed the six whole Georgia shrimp in chili bourbon vinegar, and the spectacular farm egg with crunchy rice:

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Entrees, however, weren’t up to snuff.  My mustard-encrusted pork loin was pretty darn chewy (and what’s easier to prepare than a tender pork loin?).

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Even the waygu flank steak was surprisingly tough.

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Two servers were knowledgable and efficient, but one seemed to think he was auditioning for the part of “Eccentric Trailer Park Resident,” which struck us as inappropriate in this setting.

A tip: while the patio seating can look enticing, that space is a natural wind tunnel. If it’s breezy at all, you’d do better snagging a seat inside.

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Long story short: ESS may have reached that tipping point where the restaurant has shifted from establishing a reputation to merely coasting on it. Still, we recommend the place — though more for pricy tapas, perhaps, than an all-out celebratory meal.

Mark McElroy

I'm a husband, mystic, writer, media producer, creative director, tinkerer, blogger, reader, gadget lover, and pizza fiend.

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Who Wrote This?

Mark McElroy

I'm a husband, mystic, writer, media producer, creative director, tinkerer, blogger, reader, gadget lover, and pizza fiend.

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