Tuesday, September 7, 2010
701-5 Highland Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA www.pcheen.com
Sorry about the lack of pics of the food - the restaurant was dark, and my camera was uncooperative.
On Friday night I had dinner at P’Cheen with Kyle, Sabrina and Ryan. I’ve had a GroupOn for this place for several months now and just hadn’t gotten around to using it, so I called that morning and left a message requesting a reservation (per the instructions on the restaurant’s recording). At 5pm I noticed that no one had returned my call, so I called again. The person who answered the phone seemed unconcerned that I had left a message earlier and been ignored, and took my reservation.
When we got to the restaurant at 7:30, I saw why he wasn’t too worried. The restaurant was virtually empty. Ours was one of only 2 occupied tables.
Usually the lack of patrons on a Friday night is a sign that a restaurant’s food is going to be bad, but not so in this case. 3 out of 4 of us enjoyed our food.
Ryan ordered the risotto du jour ($1), which was heavenly.
I ordered 4 selections ($10) from the artisan cheeses and house-cured meats: the 90-day prosciutto, duck’s breast (tasted exactly like Virginia smoked ham), a blue cheese and goat cheese. This came with several fingers of crusty bread. While I can honestly say that I enjoyed what I ordered, I must also say that the portion size was tiny. There is no way this should be ordered as an entrée – instead get it as an appetizer. I recently had dinner at The Grape in Vinings, and ordered an extremely similar plate, and received literally twice this much food.
The only person who wasn’t very pleased was Kyle, who ordered the Bistro Steak a la Planca con Chimicurri ($15). He thought the grilled angus steak was tough, but he liked the sauce. Sabrina also ordered this and thought it was fine, but she didn’t rave about it.
We all shared a side of spaetzle ($5), which was lovely, warm and crisp. It would have been perfect if the chef would have taken it a little easier with the garlic. Wish spaetzle was on more Atlanta menus.
The beer selection is good, but not great. There are a few interesting choices, but not a broad spectrum. Ryan and I both really liked the McSorley's Irish black lager, at a completely fair price of $5/draft.
The service was great. Our waitress was bright and cheerful, and took good care of us throughout. The manager came by our table towards the end of the meal and checked on us, and was visibly involved in the preparation and service throughout. The atmosphere is part old bar (worn seats and scuffed flooring), part lounge (mood music and lighting).
All in all, it was a good experience. The price was consistent with most of the other restaurants in Virginia-Highlands, and there is also a nice outdoor dining area on the sidewalk. When we left the restaurant there were several more tables of diners, but not enough to make a big difference. I’m unsure of the reason for this – maybe it’s because P’Cheen isn’t the new, trendy place to go anymore? If so, that’s too bad. I think P’Cheen deserves better.
Verdict: A B+.