The tagline for the Family Dog, a “Watering Hole” in the Atlanta neighborhood of Morningside is, “Sit, Drink, Stay,” a reference to commands you would give to the family dog. Cute. Couldn’t help but notice that the slogan doesn’t include, “Eat.” Good thing as from what I tasted there wasn’t much worth eating.
On a recent visit to the city I went to the Family Dog with a friend to get a drink. We sat at the bar which was long and comfortable with high shelves and exposed brick wall. We decided to get something to nibble on and selected several appetizers from a long and delicious sounding menu.
We started with the “Fried Point Judith Calamari w/Sambal Buttermilk Dressing,” $10. The Calamari was everything you want when you’re frying squid. They were tender, the batter was light and they weren’t sitting in a bed of grease. The dipping sauce wasn’t to my liking, but I’m a whimp when it come to hot sauces. The dish was great with a dash of salt and some lemon squeezed on top.
Next was the “Carb & Scallop ‘Meatballs’ w/Sherry Tomato Cream Sauce, $9.
We received a plate with 2 large, for lack of a better word, “balls.” The sauce was delicate and flavorful. Something I may use on fried green tomatoes this summer. I knew the sauce wouldn’t over power the crab and scallop, not that anything could. The balls were so salty that you literally couldn’t distinguish any other flavors. The bartender said she had heard that complaint before. Obviously it was ignored.
The third dish was a, “Smoked Duck Quesadilla w/pickled Vegetables & Sweet Grass Dairy Goat Cheese,” $9. When the plate came my jaw dropped. The portion size was immense. But after taking one bite it was all about the PICKLED VEGETABLES. A small amount of pickled, anything, goes a long way. And this dish had a large amount of pickled vegetables once again over powering the other flavors. I opened the quesadilla and picked out most of the vegetables. I took another bite and now the Goat Cheese was the dominant flavor. Don’t want to sound like a broken record but a little bit of goat cheese goes a long way.
I opened the quesadilla and scrapped the duck meat out of the center. The meat may have been smoked but it was most definitely drowned in a barbecue sauce. I feel a metaphor coming on; Flavors need to be team players. One flavor must not compete with other flavors on the same team. When all the flavors blend, it’s a win-win. However, if you’re hungry, this $9 appetizer can be a meal.
Would I go back to the Family Dog? Yes. The atmosphere is great, the prices are good and it’s in walking distance to my massage therapist’s office. Would I try more food? Yes. I may have been there on a bad night. I was in the restaurant business a long time and know sometimes people get fired, quit or just don’t show up. It’s only fair, I’ll “rollover” and give them another try.