There has been a lot of buzz about Kozmo Gastropub in suburban Alpharetta. Several blogs and forums have touted Kozmo as having one of the best burgers in and around the city. On top of that, I really hadn’t heard too many bad things about it. So I definitely need to check this place out.
A question people always ask is “what is a gastropub”? The description that makes the most sense to me is a gastropub is a restaurant that serves higher quality bar food. This can mean they use high quality ingredients, take creative license on a traditional dish, or more. Really it’s a somewhat nebulous buzzword that is trending pretty hot right now.
I took a look at Kozmo’s menu online saw a few things that I would be interested in, mainly the highly regarded burger. Before we left for the restaurant Laura called to see if they took reservations. The gentleman that answered the phone said they only take reservations for parties of 5 or more. That’s fine, a lot of places are like that. Regardless of their reservation policy Laura and I decided to make the 20 minute drive over there.
When we arrived we were lucky to find a fantastic parking spot! The lot is kind of small, and the popularity of the place helps fill it up fast. We walked in and noticed a full bar and most of the tables occupied. After looking around and feeling a little lost because there was no host or host station we found a guy to help us. We asked how long the wait would be for 2 people, and that we wanted a booth (we always go for a booth if we can). He told us very curtly that it would be 15 minutes, like we were a nuisance to him. Once we found our seat at the bar Laura mentioned to me that the guy didnt take our name or anything. While telling me that, several other parties were coming in and getting on the imaginary list. He may be well capable of keeping all the parties in order with how many seats they need and what they look like, but I didn’t have that kind of confidence in him.
About 20 minutes later a party of 3 that came in after us was seated in a booth. Ok, there had to be a mistake. I went up to him and asked him how long it would be for us to get a booth, and that I was asking because the people he just sat came in after us. He wasted no time telling me that they had a reservation. I replied by saying “We called about reservations and were told you didn’t take reservation for parties of 4 or less (they were a party of 3)?” He came back with a fillabuster-like response, “well when you call to make a reservation I need you name and phone number ….”
I think it’s pretty clear that I didn’t appreciate his attitude and more so his wait-list management practices. Ok, let’s get past this whole mess. A few minutes later we were seated at a table for 2 next to the bathroom. Host – 1, Me – 0. At this point Laura and I had to just get over it and focus on enjoying our meal. We are good about that, so let’s talk about the food!!
In order to try as many things as possible Laura and I decided to get and split an appetizer, salad and main dish. For our appetizer we got the andouille flat bread with jack cheese, red onions, red peppers, and grain mustard. This was very good!! The bread was nice and soft and the combo of andouille sausage and grain mustard was terrific. If you go to Kozmo, and you like andouille sausage, this is a good dish to get.
We also got the cobb salad which they were nice enough to split into two separate plates. This is a nice touch that not too many places do. The salad was good, but what made it good was the side of deviled egg. I really like deviled eggs and this one was really tastey!! The salad other than that was well, just a salad. Not too much to report there. But I liked the deviled egg!
As our entree we got the Kozmo Burger with bacon and a side of mac and cheese and an extra side of fries. Coming into the restaurant I had heard the most about the burger and mac and cheese. So after the appetizer I was very excited to dig into this! First the mac and cheese was pretty good. It was very cheesey, but I think lacked something, maybe heat or another flavor. It was just kind of flat. Dont get me wrong, I ate the whole damn thing! But I think they had a great base on which to build more flavors. The french fries had a nice light fry to them, but were nothing out of this world. I think they were an above average restaurant french fry. Finally I cut the burger in half to split with Laura. The meat was cooked a perfect medium-rare. That’s the way I gotta have it! I took my first bite and soon thought to myself, “Hmmm? I don’t really taste much meat.” Honestly I didn’t taste much of anything. This really fell short of expectations for both of us. The meat hardly tasted seasoned at all! The bun was slightly stale. The whole ensemble was just mediocre. If I were going to improve the burger I would make the patties a little thicker (more substantial), get more salt and pepper on them before cooking, and steam the buns. The burger in tandem with it’s hype was a big disappointment.
Our experience at Kozmo Gastropub can best be described as unfulfilling. Food wise I can see why people like it, but to me it’s nothing I would go out of my way for. After spending about $45 I felt a little gypped. The wait service was just fine! Our waiter did a great job of explaining things to us and got our order correct the first time. No problems there. The hosting station needs a lot of work, though. I think they could invest in a small podium and a notebook to keep tabs of who is waiting for a table. Also, getting a friendlier greeter would be a welcome change. These simple improvements will go a long way!