Category Archives: Food

Restaurant review: Radial cafe (Candler Park)

by Mark Gresham | 23 Apr 2018

Radial
1530 DeKalb Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
American, New

⭐⭐⭐ 3 stars

Radial cafe is the kind of place you can take vegan or vegetarian friends who are terrified of being invited to a restaurant by those of us who are more or less omnivores. It also takes great pride in its “low carbon footprint” and overall “green” attitude toward running a business. Appropriate coincidence that this is the day after Earth Day.

On a normal occasion, I would give Radial a four or five star rating, but it was a little off norm today. Wait staff, in my experience, has been consistently friendly, if slightly cavalier on occasion; that was again the case today, when I didn’t recognize anyone on duty.

The menu was a different printing than I’ve seen before, on paper, without the normal encoding of the dishes as being vegan, gluten, free, etc. or maybe I just didn’t notice where those things were indicated. Normally they are highly visible and just pop out at you.

I wondered whether there was inordinate turnover since my last visit, or if experienced staff from this Candler Park location had been sent to the newer College Park location, which I have not yet visited.

I normally order the American breakfest, and did so today: two eggs over medium, wheat toast, house grits, and their wonderful chicken sausage, plus decaf coffee, which came first. However, I was told they were out of chicken sausage today, so had a choice of pork or vegetarian sausage, or bacon. I chose the pork sausage, which was my mistake. It was an insignificant portion, mashed flat (1/8″ ). The eggs were more over easy than medium, undercooked from my perspective; the wheat toast burned but cold (no jam offered, but butter), the grits nicely thick but a little on the gritty side.

I am hoping that changes have not gone down here that would warrant more than a dip to a three-star rating on this occasion. All things considered, I will return at some point, though I can’t eat out as frequently as I used to, budget-wise. My total bill came to $11.78 before taxes and tip ($2.79 of that was the decaf coffee), which is in the “reasonable” range these days. The 79-cent breakfast of my college days (1970s) are long gone, of course, and there are more expensive options out there that are pretty much equivalent quality to Radial on its better days, but if your culinary preferences need match your progressive social agenda, Radial is a better choice for you, though it makes no difference one way or the other to me. I do have friends for whom it is important. I’m more interested in the food. ■

[Also published on Yelp.com]

Restaurant review: Cracker Barrel (Marietta)

by Mark Gresham | 22 Apr 2018

Cracker Barrel
2150 Delk Rd, Marietta, GA 30067
American, Traditional

⭐⭐ 2 stars

I had never been to this particular Cracker Barrel, but decided to try it on a Sunday when I had some time to make the drive for the drive itself (none are within 10 miles of me, this one 17 miles). Hostess was very friendly and cheerful, wait staff and cashier pleasant enough for their jobs. Table for one easy, immediate, as no crowd and a choice of open tables.

I ordered grilled trout, mashed potatoes, fried okra, biscuits and just water to drink. The big disappointment was the trout (thus the 2-star rating) which was so small and flat that I thought I’d need a microscope to find it on the plate. Really, it was just a few bites worth and greasy at that. (The old restaurant joke, “How did you find your [trout]?” came to mind.) Mashed potatoes and okra were ordinary, like out of a grocery store box of spud flakes for the former, gravy not even offered as an option and had to ask for butter, which I was told was with the forthcoming biscuits. Biscuits were good, typical of Cracker Barrel. I don’t recall being asked if I wanted dessert, but by this time had decided not to bother anyway. Total cost: $7.99 plus taxes and tip.

Service was quick, the meal went quickly. The restaurant was clean, not crowded or chaotic, not loud. Were it not for the thing that vaguely passed for a serving of trout, I might have given this Cracker Barrel a higher rating. The greeting of the hostess and less crowded environment had made me think better was in store, but, alas, no. Perhaps my experience was an exception, and I just happened to get dinged this time. ■

Also published on Yelp.com