Atlanta Fish Market

First of all, let me express our enjoyment of Quinn’s birthday party last night! We met some awesome people and had engaging conversation all evening! Shout outs to Matthew & Christina (I hope that’s spelled right) and Erin with her “special” accessories that we <3 so much! ::evil cackle:: It's great to see everyone again!

Now, to the review of Atlanta Fish Market, which is not as positive. The two adjectives that come to mind immediately are overpriced and underwhelming. Which, come to think of it, sort of sums up Buckhead in general IMO.

Pardon the all caps menu descriptions, I copied from their pdf and don’t feel like retyping them. Also, all prices are rounded and approximate since I ran off without the complete receipt – it was 11:30pm and we just wanted the hell out of there! The full blow by blow review is behind the cut at the end of this entry.

We start the evening (around 7pm) having some cheap and severely overpriced wine at the bar. Tab: $64 + $10 tip. The cheap ass (Columbia Valley, no doubt) wine was $7.50/glass and we got ours plus Ken and Quinns. So, $74 spent on cheap wine and we’ve not even ordered. At least in San Francisco or San Diego, the food and booze is of good quality… In Atlanta, it’s just all pretentious presentation of average product.

This is why we do NOT go to Buckhead, ever.

Buckhead is the epitome of pretentious overpriced AVERAGE. Bone’s is one of the few restaurants in Atlanta that you get what you pay for: great service, awesome quality food, great booze. It’s bit overpriced, too, but at least you don’t feel like going back the next day and strangling the staff out of sheer frustration.

For my bucks, I’ll stick with owner operated places like The Porter, Twain’s or Cafe Lily if I want something fancy. I have a deep appreciation for good food prepared perfectly and I am consistently let down by the overblown and pretentious “nice” restaurants in Atlanta.

Trust me, if you want to get your money’s worth in this economy, go no further than your neighborhood eateries. There are gems in every neighborhood if you’ll seek them out. Corporate food will never be as good as owner-chef food as far as I’m concerned. Small businesses are more able to create seasonal dishes and buy locally grown produce. They also care about their customers because every customer counts when you own your own place. Support your local joints! Keep your neighborhood economy vibrant by spending your money locally. :-)

FULL REVIEW of Atlanta Fish Market, April 10, 2009, 7-11pm:

We move to the reserved table for 20 and have ONE waiter. One. I knew this did not bode well for the service this evening. It was now around 8pm and most of the party had arrived with a couple of stragglers. We were starving so we ordered a salad to split while we waited for the others. The waiter was kind enough to split the “ICEBERG WEDGE, TOMATOES, WARM BACON & BLUE CHEESE” ($8) onto 2 plates for us. The dressing was delicious, but iceberg lettuce will never be worth $8 to me, sorry.

We finally ordered around 8:30 or so. They wised up and sent a waitress to help out our hapless waiter and we began to order our entrees. That took about half an hour. Previously, I asked the waiter what the specials were and he said, “oh, we don’t have any”. I must agree with that. He recommended the pitiful “Seafood Platter” to me despite a pretty good selection of fish available and despite my complaining that all I saw on the menu was salmon. The lighting was very low and I could barely read the menu (on paper with 10pt type) so I was relying on him to guide me; he did not seem to understand the menu or care. I got the “BROILED SEAFOOD PLATTER JUMBO SHRIMP & SCALLOPS, KING CRAB, MAHI MAHI, WHIPPED POTATO, SAUTÉED VEGETABLES & COLE SLAW” ($30) and Nick got the “GEORGE’S BANK SEA SCALLOPS 5 OZ, SAUTEED, E.V. OLIVE OIL & LEMON JUICE” ($20). The waiter described this dish as having “8 or 9” scallops on it – which I knew was total bullshit. 5oz of sea scallops would be at most 5 scallops – likely FOUR. I was right.

The food arrived somewhere around 9:30pm. Nick’s FOUR scallops were prepared perfectly and his second salad, Caesar, was good. This tiny amount food was in the center of a HUHYOOGE plate and looked rather pathetic. It definitely did NOT look like a $20 dish. My “platter” was the most disappointing dish I’ve had in ages. It consisted of: 2 medium shrimp (what? you can’t bother with LARGE ones?), 2 sea scallops (seared perfectly), a 3oz end piece of mahi-mahi (dry, overcooked, portion too small for a such cheap fish), part of a King Crab leg (may have been frozen), potatoes (tasted instant), some ordinary broccoli and carrots and NO slaw at all. Nice. The presentation was similar to the other dish: tossed in the center of the plate in disarray. This was NOT a $30 dish, not by any stretch of the imagination. It was a joke.

It was after 10pm when we finished dinner and everyone was waiting for our checks – which the waiter offered to split. About an hour later our tabs started coming to us. WTF was the waiter doing? Do they not have a POS system that can split? I know for a FACT that a POS system can split tabs accurately and quickly if the staff knows how to use it. Our waiter obviously did not know how to do this operation. Furthermore, the female that was helping him was snarky at best and rude at worst. In this hour after we finished our meal, no drinks or service of any kind was offered due to the waitstaff’s diligent attention to splitting the checks, which should have been done while we were eating. Everyone lost their buzz and several of us ended up with headaches instead. What was supposed to be dinner then a party at Sambuca ended up being a brutal 4 hour dinner with average food and lackluster service. But man, that waterboy certainly kept those water glasses full! Impressive! ::rolls eyes::

I must note that our hosts “love this place for sushi” and the sushi did look fine. I’m sure it’s overpriced, too, but it certainly looked better than the less than average plates we had. But we didn’t come out for sushi (we love it, but were not in the mood for it). Had our hosts told us that the sushi is the only safe thing to eat here, we’d have eaten beforehand and joined for the party only. As it is, we spent $164.52 on a meal that Red Lobster does better for half the price.

I sent the GM an email, which I normally don’t do, but when I looked over the amount we spent last night, I got really pissed off that this place would feel comfortable charging these prices for such substandard food and WAY less than stellar waitstaff. [Update: the GM responded to my email the next day but had nothing more to say than, “um, sorry”. I did say that I didn’t want a free meal or anything, but he was LAME. If this had been my party, I’d have taken them to task in a big way, but it was not, so I’ll just never go there again and let this review do its work. – A]

It’s always amazing to me what passes for high class in this town. ::shakes head::

One Reply to “Atlanta Fish Market”

  1. Here’s the funny thing – AFM is a great place to buy your fish. It’s always fresh and delicious after one of the home cooks is done with it. So what does that tell you? It’s the chef’s @ AFM that are screwing things up!

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