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Lunch for one near shopping malls — a roundup

Today marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. If everything goes according to tradition, my wife and daughters will leave the house early this morning to take advantage of Black Friday shopping sales, and I will stay home, happily snuggling with the turkey carcass.

Review by John Kessler

Review by John Kessler

Alas, I know the day will soon come when I will have to broach the unfamiliar territory of shopping malls and meander through various perfume, clothing and jewelry departments in search of their Christmas gifts. The shopping season is upon us — all of us.

As much as I hate malls, I always remember I have the consolation prize of lunch: not just any old lunch, but a splurge that somehow seems justified in context. Maybe a dozen oysters, or a steak and a martini, or one of those crab cakes the size of a softball. If I have to look at pashmina shawls, I deserve it, right?

Buckhead

Salad bar at Fogo de Chao (all photos by AJC Staff)

Salad bar at Fogo de Chao (all photos by AJC Staff)

The Lenox Square/Phipps Plaza area offers the perfect one-two punch for the lazy shopper. That said, I’ve yet to find a restaurant inside one of these malls that feels like a splurge. But it’s a quick drive to Fogo de Chao, that Brazilian churrascaria where gauchos roam the dining room with impaled joints of spit-roasted meat. I’m not so sure I want all that endless meat at lunch, but the salad bar is splurge enough. The price ($22.50) seems high, but wait till you see that salad bar! Hearts of palm, fat asparagus, great Parmesan cheese, smoked salmon, fresh mozzarella: These are just the calling cards. Add a basket of hot cheese bread, and you’ve just found the best buffet in Buckhead.

Lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. 3101 Piedmont Road, 404-266-9988.

Cumberland Mall

Salmon roll with cucumber at Tomo

Salmon roll with cucumber at Tomo

This Cobb mall just inside I-285 is a shopping destination for the northwest suburbs. Just in its shadow is a Japanese restaurant that should be a destination for sushi lovers throughout the area. Tomo Japanese Restaurant looks like any strip mall sushi joint and, at first glance, the menu will seem run of the mill. You should ask to see the dinner menu and feast on one of chef Tomohiro Naito’s seafood specialties. Try the snow crab wrapped in thin cucumber sheets with garlic-jalapeño emulsion ($18) or melt-in-your-mouth tempura of kinmedai ($16) — golden-eye snapper. Save room for a dessert prepared by the chef’s wife, Kimiko Naito. The mango jelly with coconut panna cotta and crepe strips ($8) looks exactly like a fried egg with a rasher of bacon. It’s as hilarious as it is delicious.

Lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays. 3256 Cobb Parkway, 770-690-0555.

Atlantic Station/Midtown

Selection of oysters at the Oceanaire Seafood Room

Selection of oysters at the Oceanaire Seafood Room

You can’t go far in Atlantic Station without finding something to eat. But, really, if you’ve spent an hour in the young miss section at H&M, you really want to get outta there. Not far across the 17th Street bridge lies the Oceanaire Seafood Room — a big, goofy-expensive chain restaurant decorated to bring to mind a Gilded Age cruise ship. There are really only two things you need to know about this restaurant and its menu. One: The jumbo lump crab cake ($16.95) with mayonnaise-mustard sauce is a big ol’ scoop of goodness, with sweet chunks of snowy meat and a minimum of binder. Two: The daily selection of oysters (usually $2.25-$3.75 apiece) are unparalleled in town.

Lunch 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. 1100 Peachtree St., 404-475-2277.

Perimeter Mall

McKendrick's Steak House

McKendrick's Steak House

A perennial leader in the Atlanta Zagat Survey, McKendrick’s Steak House gets everything right — the wine program, the service, the comfort, the easy indulgence of a great steak house. This is where you should get that nice little steak — maybe a 6-ounce prime filet mignon ($23.95) with a tasty side, such as creamed corn or brussels sprouts ($7.95 each). On the other hand, there’s a kinky burger you shouldn’t miss if it appeals at all. The “surf and turf burger” ($18.95) holds chunks of Maine lobster in a ground rib-eye patty. It comes with a toasted bun, lettuce, ripe tomato, pickles and a big dollop of béarnaise sauce. It’s a very weird, very delicious mess — as pure a splurge as you could hope for.

Lunch 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. 4505 Ashford Dunwoody Road, 770-512-8888.

23 comments Add your comment

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lance Helms, John Kessler. John Kessler said: Lunch for one near shopping malls — a roundup http://bit.ly/ejoSIc [...]

TopSteakHouses.com » Blog Archive

November 26th, 2010
9:00 am

[...] This is where you should get that nice little steak — maybe a 6-ounce prime filet mignon ($23.95) with a tasty side, such as creamed corn or brussels sprouts ($7.95 each). On the other hand, there’s a kinky burger you shouldn’t miss if it appeals at all. More Steak News [...]

Bill

November 26th, 2010
9:56 am

Taco Mac Mall of Georgia ! Catch a break from shopping and watch all the games during lunch…

Chef Thomas Minchella

November 26th, 2010
10:57 am

Thank you John, your the best!
http://blog.mckendricks.com/

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ATL Bargain Hunter, accessAtlanta. accessAtlanta said: It's only fair to spend some money on yourself while shopping. Here are lunch splurges near the malls http://bit.ly/dRhit4 [...]

TopSteakHouses.com » Blog Archive

November 26th, 2010
3:30 pm

[...] This is where you should get that nice little steak — maybe a 6-ounce prime filet mignon ($23.95) with a tasty side, such as creamed corn or brussels sprouts ($7.95 each). On the other hand, there’s a kinky burger you shouldn’t miss if it appeals at all. Checkout more about Steak Houses [...]

TopSteakHouses.com » Blog Archive

November 26th, 2010
5:20 pm

[...] Lunch for one near shopping malls — a roundup – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)This is where you should get that nice little steak — maybe a 6-ounce prime filet mignon ($23.95) with a tasty side, such as creamed corn or brussels sprouts ($7.95 each). On the other hand, there’s a kinky burger you shouldn’t miss if it appeals at all. [...]

Robert Ford

November 26th, 2010
9:35 pm

Longhorn Steakhouse,just South of Town Center Mall,Kennesaw. Ribs with Key Lime Pie to follow!

Shanel

November 26th, 2010
9:40 pm

Wow, what expensive taste you have! With these prices who can afford to go shopping more than once?
Can you say RECESSION/DEPRESSION?

rolling eyes

November 27th, 2010
12:24 am

don’t throw around the word depression if you don’t know what you’re talking about. the whole point of this was a splurge for yourself anyway if you found this off the home page or even if you took a look at the behind the review article.

Daniel

November 27th, 2010
11:22 am

Since you didn’t mention North Point Mall, I suggest the good ol fashioned Cheesecake Factory. Yes, their menu is about 12+ pages, which is extreme by restaurant standards, but there is surely something to please everyone, and the lunch prices are definitely reasonable. And of course, close out your lunch with one of the probably 35 types of cheesecake that they offer.
I love it.
In fact, I proposed to my wife there.

Nazan Yar

November 27th, 2010
1:05 pm

Swapna near Cumberland is pretty good

JA613

November 28th, 2010
10:29 pm

If you want value for the money and you’re in Midtown, check out the still new “The Daiquiri Factory” on West Peachtree.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Atlanta-GA/The-Daiquiri-Factory/153647464647628?ref=ts

Affordable, great tasting food and drinks with $3 specials on Tuesdays.

John Kessler

November 29th, 2010
10:47 am

Daniel – I thought about mentioning Cheesecake Factory and North Point! But the problem is I only went there once and didn’t really like what I ordered, so I had a hard time recommending it. I definitely will go back and explore it more. The service was great and while it was crowded, we got our food promptly.

just Me

November 29th, 2010
12:25 pm

Cheesecake Factory has awesome Avocado Eggrolls…heaven on a plate. Hot and cold, crunchy and creamy, sweet and spicy…and the dipping sauce…perfection!
Fogo has an awesome salad bar, I agree. Has anyone been to the Brazilian steak house near Perimeter? Is their salad bar as good?
Now I want salad and avocado eggrolls….yum

computerblue

December 1st, 2010
12:52 pm

i thought you just didn’t mention north point because it was too far outside the perimeter. noticed you omitted mall of georgia, town center, etc.

i read these columns and it appears that nothing exists too far outside the perimeter.

Tattered Wishbone

December 1st, 2010
1:19 pm

FIGO–one near Northpoint, one in Vinings right behind Cumberland. Short rib ravioli, anyone?

Diego

December 1st, 2010
1:23 pm

$3.75 per oyster? I think I’ll pass–unless I was running an expense account for an employer who didn’t look at lunch expense reports. How about keeping it more real and skipping down the street to something a lot less high brow–the Steamhouse Lounge. Add some nice Lobster Bisque, a couple of cold beers, and really relax after some Atlantic Station shopping.

Stephanie

December 1st, 2010
1:44 pm

Fire of Brazil is Perimeter’s Fogo. Haven’t been in ages but it used to be OK. Originally a Canyon Cafe so has a fire pit in center of restaurant. A dramatic touch. Anyone been there recently?

Gary

December 1st, 2010
6:54 pm

$2-$3 an oyster ? An Atlantan and his money is soon parted. And yall think we are backwards down here in South Georgia ! LOL

Majella

December 1st, 2010
7:07 pm

Really? The prices of these restaurants are way too expensive for lunch, especially in this economy. I would hate to have to pay his expense account. There are much better restaurants closer to the mall and even inside the mall: for example, there is a great lunch room inside Neiman Marcus. Houston’s is also right across from Lenox. I don’t know what he was thinking about when he recommended these restaurants at these prices.

Stew

December 1st, 2010
8:05 pm

How about a mall artical about good food we can afford like a pizza place?

John Kessler

December 2nd, 2010
8:21 am

I don’t know, Majella. A plain hamburger at Houston’s costs $13, while a chicken salad costs $16. I did specify these were recommendations for a once-in-a-while splurge, and we’re only talking a few dollars more for lobster in the burger, a crab cake rather than a burger, or a gourmet salad feast rather than a salad bowl. I’m not sure that I sound like landed gentry in the midst of a financial crisis by recommending you spend five dollars more for a special experience.