After a long walk around Central Park that afternoon, we ate dinner at the Fatty Crab in the West Village. It's a tiny Malaysian-inspired place with a small but thoughtful beer list. At the bartender's recommendation, I had the Pork Slap Pale Ale from Butternuts Beer & Ale in Garrattsville, NY. It went well with our shared appetizer of steamed buns (pork for me, veggie for HM), and with the spicy eggplant and sepia entrée. Butternuts is one of the few microbreweries to use cans instead of bottles (along with Sly Fox and Oskar Blues). Too bad they don't distribute to Pennsylvania - I'd like to try their other brews.
On Thursday, I had a quick trip to Atlanta for work. I stayed in the Buckhead neighborhood and had a great dinner at Holeman & Finch Public House. It's a hip little restaurant with a serious commitment to meat and charcuterie, as well as a decent beer list. Naturally, I loved it.
Photo: Eat It, Atlanta
With rustic-modern decor and mostly young, tattooed (and very knowledgeable) waitstaff, H&F would fit right into the Philly beer bar scene. The draft list included import staples like Guinness, one local brew (Terrapin Rye Pale Ale) and surprisingly, two Philly-area beers: Victory Prima Pils and Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. They were out of Terrapin, so I settled on a bottle of Shipyard Brewery's Old Thumper from Portland, Maine.
From left: lonzino, smoked lardo, bresaola
The menu was a collection of appetizer-size plates, with a few larger dishes meant for sharing. To start, I sampled three of H&F's charcuterie offerings: bresaola (cured beef
shoulder eye of round), lonzino (cured pork loin) and smoked lardo (pork fatback, cured and smoked). The bresaola and lonzino were good but on the dry side, both enhanced by the house-made spicy mustard. The lardo, however, was simply sublime. I think it might be the best lardo I've ever had -- slightly sweet, meltingly fatty and a hint of smoke that lingered on the palate.
I followed up with pork belly confit, served with collard greens and chow-chow. I'd never heard of chow-chow before -- it's a Southern condiment, a sweet relish of pickled vegetables. This one was slightly spicy as well, and the sweet and spice helped to cut the fattiness of the pork belly. The confit was delicious, with a crispy exterior and rich, yielding interior.
The cheese board was my final course: Humboldt Fog, an English farmhouse cheddar and a semi-soft cow's milk cheese whose name escapes me, all served with nice crusty bread, spicy horseradish and a dish of honey. A satisfying end to a very good meal. I highly recommend Holeman & Finch to anyone visiting Atlanta.