Ok, so I am obviously a little late to this party. Holeman and Finch Public House has been a foodie favorite in Atlanta since they opened and is possibly one of, if not the most, covered restaurants by my blogging brethren. I have been DYING to eat here for the longest time, but could never seem to convince my friends to head down there, partially because there is almost always a significant wait to deal with. So, I finally decided that I had put this off long enough, and flew solo for my first trip to the now famous gastropub. Fortunately, FoodieBuddha stopped by for a bit, so I wasn’t left to my own devices the whole time. (Yeah, I’m a name dropper. Big whoop, wanna fight about it?)
For those that do not know, Holeman and Finch is widely known for having the single best burger that one can buy in Atlanta. And this burger is not only absent from the menu, but is only served after 10 PM every night (and during brunch service on Sundays). Part of the reason I have never been is that none of my friends want to go unless they can get the burger, and most can’t wait that late into the evening to eat. Well, let me assure you, if the burger is all that you know of H&F, you are in for a treat. There is so much more to this place than a well-crafted hamburger that it is staggering. So, if you came here for yet another review on Atlanta’s most popular burger, you will be disappointed. (That post is now located here)
Fortunately, I arrived around 6PM, so I was able to pony right on up to the bar and dive into their impressive drink list. Greg Best, the house mixologist and part-owner with Chef Linton Hopkins, maintains a constantly changing menu of great house made cocktails. As with everything served here, from the ketchup to the cured meats, all of the cocktails utilize house-made ingredients that give the drinks an edge over their competition. I started my evening with a Badgers Hiss (Rittenhouse Rye, Becherovka, citrus punch, and seltzer water).
Light, fruity, and satisfying. In addition to a few glasses of Pappy Van Winkle’s 20-year bourbon on the rocks (I’m a sucker for bourbon), I also put away a glass of The Shrub, which is a house made cranberry and ginger syrup, Gin, and lemon seltzer. I hate gin. But I loved this drink.
Now for the food. Those of you that have read my reviews of Abbatoir know that I am not afraid of a little offal in my meals. So, the adventurous eater in me was immediately drawn to the “Parts” section of the menu. But if eating outside of the box isn’t for you, fear not. The offal portion of the menu is only a fraction of their offerings, so you won’t be forced outside of your culinary comfort zone if you aren’t up for that.
I started things off with an order of Deviled Eggs Three Ways. You can ask any member of my family that has ever eaten a Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner with me – I F’ing love deviled eggs. These were fantastic. Unfortunately, I only wrote down two of the three “ways” the eggs were made – Country ham and Sunchoke. If you are one of those salt-sensitive people, the country ham might be a little too salty for you, but I ain’t one of those people. The Country Ham deviled eggs were my favorite of the bunch.
Next up was the first off of the “parts” list, and all three dishes were Offal-y good. GET IT?!? OFFAL-Y GOOD?!?! (Holy shit, my own cheesiness overwhelms me sometimes).
I started things out by going with the first dish that caught my eye – the Griddled Pork Belly served on a Parker House roll, topped with Chow Chow. God DAMN I love pork belly. These were basically little pork belly sliders. The belly itself was sliced very thin, and this resulted in about 80% of the surface area being the tasty crust, which added a lot of flavor. I don’t think these things lasted more than 3 minutes in front of me.
Next up was a suggestion from the bartender – Pan Roasted rabbit livers, sweet potato puree, and red wine apple butter. This was a great combination of fall flavors. This dish tasted like fried Thanksgiving. Loved it.
Now, my next dish was a bit of a novelty buy – Veal Brains pan fried with lemon butter and home-made croutons. I’d never had brains and wanted to be able to say that I had. What shocked me the most about this dish was how much this reminded me of my mom’s pan fried veal cutlets that she used to make when I was a kid. Maybe it was the traditional pairing with the lemon butter. Either way, this didn’t have the organ-y flavor that I was expecting (I know…organ-y isn’t a word. Get over it). This dish tasted so much like veal, I completely forgot that I was eating brains.
Finally, despite the fact that I was bursting at the seams already, I ordered the Hand Chopped Steak Tartar w/ farm egg, whole grain mustard, and shoestring potatoes. This was an excellent tartar. I think the overall “Oh my God this is so good” factor was probably diminished by the fact that, at this point, I was a little tipsy and extremely full. But there was nothing I could complain about. Full or not, I enjoyed the hell out of it.
Holeman and Finch is a guaranteed good time. The atmosphere is awesome, the food is satisfying, and the drinks go down oh-so-well. I had a great time, and I went by myself. And I can’t wait to go back.
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