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Lunch at Abattoir: Duck meatballs

 photo-17When Abattoir first opened, everyone was excited to visit but they weren’t quite sure how to spell the name, which is French for “slaughterhouse.” And so people were posting a lot about their meals at “Abbatoir.” That tickled my funny bone.

Abbatoir: a hermetically sealed room where “Dancing Queen” is played on an endless loop.

Anyhow, the good news is that Abattoir is now open for lunch. In fact, the restaurant is open straight through from noon through 11 p.m., Tuesdays-Saturdays, so it’s a perfect place to go for one of those mid-afternoon-escape-the-world lunches. The bad news is that Abattoir serves the same menu at lunch and dinner, and the prices that seem on the edge of reasonable at night come off as a little steep at lunch.

I ordered these duck meatballs ($16), made with duck confit and ground  mirepoix (presumably the classic mixture of onions, carrots and celery), served in a sticky glaze over parsnips and bok choy. The flavor was deep and interesting, albeit a bit too salty for my taste. I also wanted some good, plain starch (mashed potatoes, rice) to soak up a bit of the sauce.  

photoI loved this dessert — a kind of whoopie pie ($8 for two) made with chewy ginger snaps and a sweetened squash filling. On the side comes malted ice milk topped with a little cappuccino froth. It’s more of a squishie pie than a whoopie pie, because you have to pull it apart to avoid getting a lapful of squash squish, but the flavor is pretty close to heaven. 

Do you like Abattoir? I’ve eaten at the bar several times and always enjoyed my meals — especially the crisp-skinned trout.

25 comments Add your comment

the fish

November 3rd, 2009
12:21 pm

Ate there with a famous Atlanta DJ and her husband recently. The service was abominable and the food terrible. Other than that it was great!

top chef fanatic

November 3rd, 2009
12:27 pm

dancing queen rocks! its a favorite for me …but im not to sold on salty duck meatballs and squishy whoopie pies. Im gonna take a pass :)
thanks have a blessed day

meatball

November 3rd, 2009
2:44 pm

You did a good job of convincing me to never eat there.

Laverne

November 3rd, 2009
2:47 pm

I don’t want to eat at no French slaughterhouse, even if they play Jethro Tull.

John Kessler

November 3rd, 2009
3:11 pm

Fish: what was so bad about food and service? I’m curious.
Meatball: Always think if what I write warns some people off and encourages others, then I’ve done good.
Laverne: Not even for Aqualung?

Laverne

November 3rd, 2009
4:00 pm

That’s just it, they probably SERVE lungs there.

Laverne

November 3rd, 2009
4:09 pm

P.S. You gonna be so fat soon, the wait staff will have to roll you outa them restaurants. If you get tired of your job, can I have it ? You have already reviewed Abba what ever it is so I am safe now.

the fish

November 3rd, 2009
4:30 pm

How about this for service. Dessert was vile. All were pretty bad, but one of which was particularly horrible (which one is escaping me at the moment). We complained to the waitress (who had pretty much spent the night ignoring us even though they were far from full) as she dropped the check off. She picked up the check and called the manager over. When we complained about the quality of the desserts to him, he said “yeah, they’re a work in progress; sorry about that”. Five minutes later the waitress came by with the check again and the desserts were still on there!! Gee, thanks for listening, Mr. Manager. Overall, there was nothing that we had that I wanted to eat again anytime soon. While I’m a big fan of offal and unusual cuts of meat, the execution of the food was terrible. Better to get on a plane and fly to London to St.John Restaurant and have the bone marrow with parsley salad or the venison heart with pickled walnut dressing if one has a hankering for offal, than to waste two cents at Abattoir. Bad, bad, bad.

Marshall Stacks

November 3rd, 2009
5:54 pm

Just because you say you didn’t like dessert means they’ll immediately nix it from the bill. Lately I’ve read a few complaints on the food forums where people gripe about service or food and don’t explicitly state that to management. They’ve got enough going on in the back of the house to watch you eat and take notes on your reaction. And they’re not mind-readers either. If it was so bad that you feel like you shouldn’t pay, then say so. I can’t think of a restaurant that would stay in business more than a week if they comped everything on a passing doubt.

esa

November 3rd, 2009
5:55 pm

I’ve eaten at Abbatoir a number of times now, maybe 5x. I’ve had some really great things there such as fried sweetbreads, fried chicken livers, beef and pork burger, lamb (served a variety of ways), NY strip, etc. There have been a couple of things that were a bit of a disappointment such as the chicken liver pate. Meredith made it sound fabulous but it was well below fabulous though passable. I had the pickled shrimp Friday and it was inedible. What spice they used and how they got so much of it into that little jar remains a mystery but I was glad the kitchen was a little slow so my palette could recover before the next course. Everything is certainly not perfect but if I want perfect I’ll go across the bridge and down the stairs to Quinones. For under $20 an entree there is no better place to go in Atlanta.

Service has always been great but we’ve always eaten on the patio outside which is very nice.

I frequently stop there on my way to Charlie Brown airport (where I keep the G5) to fly to London to eat at the aforementioned St. John’s. I can rarely wait 10 hours for offal and usually need something to tide me over.

Remember that vegetables aren’t food. Vegetables are what food eats.

rebelliousrose

November 3rd, 2009
6:51 pm

Type too fast one time and you get immortalized in the paper. *eyeroll*

I’m really enjoying your month of chow; kind of amazing the rage the Mary Mac’s one engendered!

ron martin

November 3rd, 2009
9:00 pm

damn! i passed through town and stopped at abattoir today, and i KNEW i shoulda tried those duck meatballs. i did have the celery root soup with apple shallot relish, and it was wonderful. great to see you back in the chowline, john.

jeff

November 4th, 2009
7:04 am

we ate there once- oversalted- we were served a rancid chicharron(ammonia smell) service and food were poor- tripe soup had very little tripe- this is not a good restaurant.

Hangry

November 4th, 2009
9:39 am

We had serious service isssues. There was a long lag between apps and mains (45 minutes). Our waiter wouldn’t make eye contact. Water glasses went unfilled. Same with bread basket. I understand the kitchen being backed up but that is when your server should step up and make certain that everything else is perfect. At least see if you want another cocktail. there are way too many restaurants to choose from to put up with indiffernt service. I doubt I’ll go back.

[...] mix together…how? — bu the words “pink pig” mean more here than a meal at Abattoir or a reading of “Charlotte’s [...]

sonofamike

November 4th, 2009
10:17 am

I’ve eaten at Abattoir twice and enjoyed both times. I thought the food was creative and imaginative, well prepared. I found the staff cooperative and attentive and not overbearing, i dont like being watched over, I dont mind flagging down a waiter.
Finer restaurants are like people, they have good days and bad days. they change the menu and sometimes those changes dont ‘pan’ out…..if you want safe, predictable food, go to Wendy’s. At least you know what you’re getting. Predictable.
As for me, I’ll take my chances with chefs that dont mind making me experiencing something different and new.

hulabaloo

November 4th, 2009
1:25 pm

fish, your first sentence “famous Atlanta DJ” tells me where you’re at. Who cares if you know someone famous? Here’s another french word for you to learn: Poseur. a person who pretends to be what he or she is not : an affected or insincere person. I have eaten at Abattoir and it is awesome! Such a brave new restaurant.

Max

November 4th, 2009
2:16 pm

Reading the comments confused me. Are we critiquing a restaurant, or running off at the mouth to support our over blown egos. Most of these responses give me diarrehea.

the fowl

November 4th, 2009
2:26 pm

To “the fish” — your name implies you are a christian; you writing style proves otherwise.

John Kessler

November 4th, 2009
3:33 pm

I think Fish (whether Christian or pescatarian) has a kinda/sorta valid point. If he didn’t eat more than a bite of the dessert and complained, then I think he should expect a refund or substitution. If he and his famous DJ and her husband ate most of the dessert, then I think the management was right in making them fork over. The Restaurant Ethicist speaks!
And, Ron Martin! So good to see you here. Happy to be back in the saddle (or, rather, feedbag)…

meatballstoo

November 6th, 2009
9:03 am

Coincidentally, I had lunch here the day this was posted and ordered the same item. While I thought the meatballs were good, I do agree that if Abattoir wants to have a successful lunch business, the menu needs to differ from their dinner fare–too expensive and not “lunchy” at all. Service was pleasant, but a bit uneven. Food came out quickly but wine, water and coffee were painfully slow…with only 5 other (max) parties there.

My companion had the chicken liver pate and thought it was excellent. We skipped the dessert but appreciated the baskets of fresh apples offered up on the way out.

Finally, since it was such nice day, we tried the patio first, but soon realized that the smell from the trash below was going to be quite unenjoyable. However, it was no problem coming back inside where the setting was very nice. They just have a few kinks to work out and I think this will do as well as their other restaurants.

Melissa

November 12th, 2009
7:22 pm

We ate here once for dinner and loved it! The pate and sweetbreads had a wonderful flavor and our entrees were spectacular. Skipped dessert but loved the restaurant. We will be back for sure..I’m shocked to see all these bad reviews after our great experience!

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February 9th, 2010
10:52 am

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May 4th, 2010
12:16 pm

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