I didn’t really know how to start this post about Erwoods Kitchen and Keg. I thought about talking about the new places in the area, the different styles of restaurants, but nothing really came to me. So let me just jump right into the review.
(see what I did there? I couldn’t come up with an intro, so I made an intro on how I couldnt come up with an intro. Pretty clever, huh?)
I did a little reading about the restaurant’s website where I learned about the concept of Erwoods. It’s focus is to be a neighborhood (or Midtown-like) sports bar where everybody can meet up and enjoy upscale food and drink. I believe the website drew the comparison between it and Dantana’s in Buckhead. Ok, I can get behind this. I like sports, I like upscale food, and I like good beer.
Laura and I decided to try Erwoods a week ago or so for a Saturday early evening dinner. The weather was very nice outside so we thought we would scope out the patio. The patio is very nice for dinner because it is shaded from the direct sunlight by the main building. There are many places to sit, so on nice days this area could be popular.
We had a good amount of time to admire the patio because it took over five minutes for us to receive our menus. I’m not sure how they were running low on menus (as they claim), but a couple other tables adjacent to us had the same issue. Once we got our menus it was another six or seven minutes before we were able to put in for our drinks. By now we got the gist of what we needed to do. Next time we caught the waitress, order everything we want.
The menu is huge! It takes some time to digest (so to speak), so if you are the least bit indecisive you are in trouble. Luckily it’s broken into several manageable sections like flatbreads, sliders (or as they call Man Tapas), sandwiches, salads, etc. There are probably more, I just cant remember them all. Laura and I decided to try the classic sliders, the four meat flatbread, and the NY strip sandwich.
The first thing to come out was the order of sliders. I was excited to dig into them, but had to catch myself because something was missing. The caramelized onions were left off. If you know me, you know I love caramelized onions. And that feature was what made me select that particular slider iteration. Just our luck, it took a while to flag down our waiter. Once we told her the issue she was very apologetic and took the plate to get it fixed. When we got the sliders back, they were very cold. Whoever prepared them in the back carelessly threw the onions (that were not caramelized) on the burgers and sent them right back out. One burger had one onion, another had two, and the third slider had a mound of onions! It was very sloppy. By the time we finally got to eating the burgers, as I said they were cold, and they were just ordinary. There was nothing upscale about them. Laura and I both thought they tasted like Krystals.
Our next dish was the four meat flatbread. When I think flat breads I think soft and doughy, but what we got was thin and crispy. That’s totally cool, I don’t mind a curve ball. The size of the flatbread (let’s just call it a pizza) was similar to those you would get at California Pizza Kitchen. Maybe a little smaller. There was plenty of meat on this pizza which, as a d00d, I appreciate. Buuuuuuttttt, it just tasted alright. I can’t really comment on how it was different than any other meat pizza. It was an improvement over the sliders, but that’s not sayin much.
Finally we got the NY strip sandwich with fries. Our waitress said this dish was her favorite. The bread for the sandwich was very good! It was soft and buttery and sturdy enough to hold up the steak. On the sandwich was a very welcomed surprise, slices of avocado. That along with the melty cheese made this sandwich very good. Laura and I both enjoyed it. The french fries, on the other hand, were stone cold. Seriously, they must have been sitting out on the plate for a while because they were room temperature. We asked for them to be replaced and like the sliders, they were replaced with little resistance.
At last the meal was over. But not really, we still had to wait for our check. That took, literally, 10 minutes. While waiting, the manager came to our table and told us they would be comping the sliders. That was a very nice gesture that we appreciated. It was clear that they cared about their customers, and that will go a long way for them. However, they need to make significant changes because comping slider plates isn’t a great business model. My thought is the restaurants, like Erwoods, that try to be great at everything just end up being good at nothing. I think they should slim the menu way down, figure out what they do best, and focus on that!
When we left Erwoods we were both very disappointed. We understood the hiccups in service because the place is pretty new. But we couldn’t rationalize the food. And the food is what we will, or in this case, will not come back for.