Sunday, August 17, 2008

FAB was totally un-FAB

Nearly a month ago, we went out with some of our best friends in Atlanta for what we all thought would be a lovely evening and outstanding meal at French American Brasserie. Known to many a local as FAB, it is the follow up to the ill-fated Brasserie Le Coze, which used to occupy a space in Lenox Mall. FAB had been on my list of must-try restaurants since we moved to Atlanta in the summer of 2007. Situated at Ivan Allen Plaza in the middle of a resurging downtown Atlanta, the location is perfect for convention-goers and Atlanta foodies alike. It's a quick hop from the Civic Center Marta station as well. The space is huge, with two dining floors as well as an outdoor patio on the third. Though I don't claim to be an expert in brasserie fare or decor by any means, the space definitely felt very French, although it was a bit too big, as is the case with many an Atlanta restaurant. Diners are greeted by a friendly looking bar upon walking in, complete with stained glass tiles and the like. There are some nice details, such as fancy chandeliers and hand-painted ceilings complete the look. The wine list is well rounded and unintimidating, a welcome surprise for a French restaurant. It's been a few weeks since we were there, but I think we went with a Malbec. I don't remember it being particularly outstanding, but it got the job done. Though there were four of us, we started out with the Le Plateau for two which had chilled oysters, clams, mussels, king crab and lobster with accompanying sauces. It was plenty for all of us -- I can't imagine how big the plateau for four would have been. It was quite good, probably the highlight of the evening. At this point, the restaurant started to get very busy... we were getting on 8:30-9:00 on a Saturday night. We placed our order with the waiter and didn't see him for another 20 minutes of so. I noticed several beads of sweat forming on his face when we were ordering -- it seemed he was very short on time. Wonderful. I was very excited for the receipt of my duck confit. Having seen the delicacy on Iron Chef many a time, you can imagine how anxious I was to actually try it for the first time. Confit is a method of cooking in which a duck leg is cured for up to 36 hours and then poached in its own fat. Being a very fatty bird, duck of course makes the perfect candidate for a confit. Prior to cooking, the salt is of course brushed off. The meat is slowly poached until done, for as little as 90 minutes or up to 10 hours. (Thank you Wikipedia!) Mason ordered the veal sweetbreads (another delicacy I was happy to try), while our dining mates ordered the lambchops and the coq au vin. We ordered another bottle of wine and received our entrees. I'm pretty sure our waiter, Flash Gordon, was at our table a grand total of 18.3 seconds to deliver our food. Everything looked sumptuous, but the first bite of my duck was a huge let down. It was entirely too salty to the point of being inedible. I know salt is a key in confit, but I probably would have needed a 2-gallon container of water to finish just one leg. It came with garlic fries on the side... and who doesn't love a fabulous, hand cut, authentic french fry? I certainly do! But, unfortunately these fries tasted like they were fresh out of the Sysco freezer bag. What an utter disappointment. I haven't done this in years, but I actually sent the dish back and ordered the lambchops instead. While I was waiting, our friend was nice enough to give me one of his chops, which I will say, was quite excellent. It's probably one of the better lambchops I've ever had. Mason says the sweetbreads tasted kind of liver-y... which makes sense since a sweetbread is, in fact, a thymus gland. Draw your own conclusions here. When my lambchop order had not arrived 35 minutes later, we were all at the end of our respective ropes. Our server was nowhere to be found, and it just so happened the host/manager walked by our table as we were getting ready to request our check. The manager brought the check, and the lambchops arrived not 30 seconds later. We promptly had them boxed up and I was glad to leave after that. All in all, the experience was a let down because of the quality of my entree as well as the service. The seafood and the chops were great, so FAB won some points back there... but overall, the meal was completely not worth the price tag. On to the next one. French American Brasserie on Urbanspoon

0 Say It Loud & Proud: