Thursday, October 8, 2009
The Firkin & Lindberg
541 Main St., Atlanta, GA http://www.thefirkinandlindbergh.com/
On Tuesday my friend Brad and I had dinner and a few beers at The Firkin & Lindberg, a pub that recently opened at the corner of Lindberg and Piedmont in Atlanta. It has a nice, traditional exterior and an English themed menu with bangers and mash, chicken curry and the like. What doesn't it have but really, really needs?
A little dirt.
That's right, I said dirt. A true English or Irish style put is dark, worn and weathered. My favorite local example of this is McCracken's Irish Pub in the Marietta Square, although I admit that the deeply ingrained cigarette smoke will practically knock a normal person to the ground upon initial entry. Brick Store Pub in Decatur is another good example.
The Firkin & Lindberg is just too new for me. It's too pristine, too quiet, and a little overly decorated. Yes, of course it IS new, and that can't be helped. I have to assume that some dirt will inevitably set in over time, I just hope that the management will allow it to accumulate and give the place a little bit of real, true character. As it is now, the place just seems to be trying too hard.
Now that you've heard my take on the ambiance, I'll move on to the food. Brad and I began the meal with an order of Irish nachos, an item I've never seen on any menu. This is composed of waffle fries with melted cheese, bacon, green onions and sour cream. They were attractively presented, and Brad commented that he was relieved the fries weren't completely saturated with the sour cream and cheese. Instead we were allowed to enjoy the crisp quality of the fries, which were not greasy, as well as the toppings, which were evenly distributed.
I wasn't feeling quite as ravenous as usual, so I selected the angus sliders appetizer as my entree. Somehow I've managed to never try sliders up until this point, a minor miracle given the current sliders craze in Atlanta. These sliders had nicely melted slices of monterey jack cheese (tasted like American to me) and short strips of fairly crisp bacon. The buns looked toasted and a little shiny, just as I like them. The dish wasn't stellar, but it was pretty good - I give it a 7 on a scale of 1-10.
Brad ordered the fish and chips, which I was thoroughly prepared to dislike after observing the nearly sterile newness of the bar area. However, I have to admit that I enjoyed the fish, which was generously portioned and coated in nicely browned, crispy batter. I did wince when they brought it out atop faux newspaper, but Brad pointed out that due to health regulations the pub may not be able to wrap the fish in real newspaper. What is the world coming to when we can't have pub fish wrapped in bonafide, inky newspapers?
Our service was good, if a little overzealous. Our waitress was convinced that our table needed to be cleared every few minutes, long before we were finished with our meal. I give her credit in the drink department though, because when I asked her to have the bartender make me a beer "cocktail" she promptly brought a black velvet, which was a combination of Guinness and Cider.
Speaking of beer, I was disappointed with the lack of variety on the list. Pubs that appear to be traditionally English or Irish build up my expecations of a varied, interesting list, and The Firkin & Lindberg didn't live up to them. There are the usual decent choices of Guinness, Harp, Boddingtons and the like, but no obscure or super premium choices. If I enter a bar and find I've tried all of the beers available I can't truly endorse it. I also don't remember seeing any local beers, a sad omission in Atlanta, home of quality breweries like Sweetwater and Red Brick.
Verdict: Above average food with a below average beverage selection. Too new, but given time could see improvement.