This visit to Bone’s ends a three-day look at Atlanta steak houses. Tomorrow I go back to inexpensive dining — with a vengeance!
Anyone who has been following my Atlanta snarf-o-rama thus far knows that I am not above skewering sacred cows. I figure the restaurants will sink or swim on their own merits, whether they are local favorites or branches of out-of-town chains.
And so I’ve been to two steak houses in short order.
The first, Kevin Rathbun Steak, is a local favorite. A modern interpretation of the genre, it’s all about big flavors, lots of choice, creativity and indulgence.
The second, BLT Steak, is a link in a global chain. It’s part of the new breed of hyphenated steak houses that hotels are finding to be sure bets these days. We’ve got “Italian Steak” at Pacci in the Palomar, “Southern Steak” at Park 75 in the Four Seasons, and this “French Bistro Steak.”
The third, Bone’s Restaurant, is a dinosaur. A wonderful, wonderful dinosaur.
I love that even on a flooded-street Tuesday, the dining room is buzzing and busy. The guests are animated by the energy of the old-fashioned room, which has literally hundreds of old pictures hanging from the walls. There are a few women among the clientele, but when I look around I see tables of dudes, dudes and more dudes.
Shall we look at the meal in blurry, underlit phone pictures?
My guest and I start with this shrimp cocktail ($15) — three big boys that have been poached and cooled in just the right way to get that juicy, lobstery snap.
Next up came this wedge salad ($10) with all the usual suspects. Dear readers, the bacon was still warm from the pan. And kind of sizzly. Good Lord.
Following suit to my previous meals, I order this 22-ounce bone-in ribeye ($55) to share. It is scary expensive, though no more than two normally expensive entrees. It is also a spot-on medium rare prepared simply with basic seasoning and a thin jus. You really taste the mellow funk and tang of the meat. While I would have liked a thicker ribbon of ribeye cap, the crunchy strip of rendered fat is a treat.
My companion can never go to Bone’s without ordering these grit fritters — the goofy house specialty that tastes like Boursin cheese, butter and gritty goodness. We see massive platters of onion rings go by and wish we had ordered those. Normally I want a green vegetable beyond iceberg lettuce, but in the context of this meal I’m willing to make an exception.
We leave little for the dog. There’s something about the way the meat smells close to the bone that I find appealing in an almost feral way.
Something else I really, really like about Bone’s is the wine list. Sure it has the power and the prestige, but the thick, laminated pages hold a treasure hunt of inexpensive offbeat labels. There’s a bottle of wine for any budget. How nice to see so many Old- and New-World choices in the $30s, $40s and $50s respectfully listed among bottles priced in the multiple hundreds. If you like, you can plan your wine buying ahead of time by looking at the online wine list.
I never mind skewering sacred cows, but I certainly love giving them their well-earned due. Bone’s celebrates the flavors of premium ingredients prepared simply, and for that reason I find the food so much more subtle and interesting than at many other steak houses. For my money, Bone’s is the best.
What do you all think: should I get one of those radio-button poll things going? Bone’s, Chops, Kevin Rathbun Steak, BLT, Stoney River, Morton’s, Ruth’s Chris, Fleming’s, McKendrick’s….what am I missing?