Monday, May 10, 2010

Repast

Repast
620 Glen Iris Dr.
Atlanta, GA 30308

I had high hopes for Repast. It's near my house and the menu looks amazing. Plus, Roommate Lynn bought a $55 voucher off of My Daily Thread. We three roommates are always on the lookout for good food near to Cabbagetown, and Repast is within a long walk. Price is not really a restriction for us when it comes to good foods; enough restaurants these days are focused on small plates that you can eat well, share, and not spend a ton of money. I had hoped that Repast would fall into this category.


 

Despite having a lovely patio, Repast is not an attractive restaurant. The layout is truly poor, and we were happy not to be seated near the awkward and oppressive hostess stand. Even though the restaurant was practically empty (on a Monday night), the bartender/hostess derisively asked for our reservation. Strike one.

Repast does have a fine wine list, and our server was very knowledgeable about similar options. Unlike many servers, she was also not afraid to give a clear opinion of what she considered to be better choices and values. I can't stand wait people that are so over trained that they won't be honest. I had a delicious Italian Chardonnay from Alois Lageder. It was so good that I did not mind the $12/glass.

The best part of the meal was by far our appetizer, which was good enough to write home about. Foie gras with a crispy chorizo crust, in a balsamic reduction, with strawberry compote on the side. I did love that the compote was a quartered strawberry, rather than a mushy compote. All of the flavors on the plate were a song, and it was lovely looking enough that the next table asked what we were having. Roommate Lynn is not as much of a fan of the fatty organ meats as I am, and after a few bites, she tapped out a left the foie gras to me. I have never said "No" to pure fat, and I obliged her with gusto.

Our entrees were good, but not great. I had the Monday night special, which is Japanese Fried Chicken. It was several pieces of well-fried chicken served with a pressed salad and three kinds of salt. The idea was to squeeze fresh lime juice over the chicken and then sprinkle different salts for different tastes. I can't remember the three salts, except that all of the descriptions that our server gave made them sound awful. She did not use any positive words to describe any of them. She kept describing the concept as "traditional Japanese", which made me wonder if it was "traditional Japanese" the same way Chinese character tattoos mean "Peace" or "Wisdom". I stuck with the safest sounding one, straying only once to a salt that the server had accurately described as "caustic", and although it was tasty, by the end of the meal my fingers were curled from the salt (I'm over 30 now; this happens).

Roommate Lynn had the Crab Cakes "Repast Style" and thankfully they were full of lump crab meat, rather than just a bunch of breadcrumbs and other filler. Like my chicken, they were good, but nothing to write home about.

My chicken was a part of their Monday prix fix, which came with a Japanese souffle for $16. I paid Roommate Lynn back for the foie gras by letting her eat most of the souffle. It was incredibly cloying. I dislike cheesecake (sorry y'all), and it was too similar. To me it tasted like bland cheesecake with a little strawberry coulis. Blah.

At the beginning of the meal we had given our server our voucher, which came available months ago. We've learned our lessons about not mentioning coupons or vouchers at the end of the meal. Despite this, our server let us order the appetizer of the day and the Monday prix fix and never mentioned the voucher. When the bill came due, the bartender/hostess told us that we could not use the voucher because we had "ordered specials". After a few minutes, she changed the story to "Monday night". It was never made clear to us if Monday was the problem, if the chicken was the problem, or if the chicken and the foie gras were the problem. What irked me especially was that the vouchers were from more than a month ago; how is it possible that no one has tried to use one on a  Monday night? How could our server be ignorant of the coupon and it's restrictions?

The answer is easy: Repast is a cheat. They bought into the vouchers to lure people in, then refuse to let people use them. It's an easy trick to force you back into the restaurant. The table next to us was refused as well, and the server (same as ours) told them that it was her fault, because she didn't understand the voucher. Who trains these people then?

When we got home, Roommate Lynn called the restaurant to lodge a further complaint. The person on the phone told her that she would forward her number to the owner/chef, (either Joe Truex or Mihoko Obunai-Truex, they didn't say which), to handle the call. Surprise, surprise, it's been more than a week and we've heard nothing. Clearly, service is not a priority.

We live close to Rathbun's, which is, in many ways, my metric for measuring the merits of Atlanta restaurants. Based on price alone, Repast is far more proud of their creations, while offering much less selection and  quality. The service is about equal, as the girls at Rathbun's are frequently uppity beyond belief. 

Taking Rathbun's out of the equation, the food was okay, the wine and cocktail menu was above par, but I hated the way I was treated. And to be honest, at 30 going on 31, bad service trumps good food. I award Repast with a "Fuck off!"

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