Monday, March 22, 2010

All the Young Dudes - Young Augustine's

How do you not think about that song when you hear "Young Augustine's?"

I had really high hopes for this new "gastro-pub" in Grant Park. Why? It's under the radar, the menu sounds great, and it's really close to home. Sigh. It's a nice bar and a step up from the Standard (especially the beer list) but in terms of food, doesn't hold a candle to the other more popular gastropubs of Atlanta.

Wrigley Dog - Definitely the best item we had. They even had it down to the celery salt. It's not quite authentic, but it's tasty nonetheless. Two steps to make it authentic - steam the poppy seed bun and use Vienna Beef. At $3 a pop, they're a steal.

Short Rib Grilled Cheese - Sounds amazing, right? Imagine braised short rib, beneath a layer of melted cheese, sandwiched between two thick slices Texas toast. Would that not be amazing? They had to fancify and destroy a promising update to a classic. The thing came out on a baguette with arugula and tomato! The short rib was flavorless, the cheese was minimal and while the bread was fresh, it didn't belong with this combination.

Duck fat fries - Highly disappointing. I just don't get it. What restaurant makes the effort of getting duck fat for fries, and then doesn't hand cut the fries. Could you taste the duck fat twang? Yes. Could you sense that these fries were beyond ordinary and frozen aside from that? Hell yes. Hand cut fries cooked in peanut oil taste better than frozen ones in duck fat. Please upgrade to hand cut - it will make all the difference!

I'm kind of tired of seeing Benton's bacon on every menu in the city. Yes it's good, but so is Oscar Mayer bacon. Focus on getting the basics first. I realize a dish is only as good as the sum of its products, but to me, fresh fries are more important than farm-raised bacon. People are going to like that pig no matter what.

So aside from the food, Young Augustine's should make a great neighborhood speakeasy, with passable snacks. The menu is surely inspired, but the execution is not up to snuff. I just think a little more thought needs to be put into the ingredients and flavors when a menu has such unique and delicious sounding items. Sometimes it's OK to only slightly change a classic, not give it a complete and unwarranted overhaul. Apologies for my pictures, it was kind of dark in there.

Young Augustine's on Urbanspoon


  1. I too am sick of seeing Benton's bacon on every menu, its lost its specialness.

    Duck fat fries are unreal if they are cooked properly with the correct potatoes. There is a southern French restaurant here in Cool Springs that prepares them perfectly.

  2. Totally agree on the fries and the bacon. It's not that hard to hand cut fries (or, could they have hand cut them, then frozen them?), and Benton's bacon is good, but it is everywhere. Do you think if you just put "bacon" on the menu, it would result in a colossal dip in bacon sales? I think not.