Though I’m not usually in the habit of eating anywhere on opening night, proximity and curiosity got the best of me, and I couldn’t resist heading over to HD1 in Poncey-Highland yesterday for its first night open to the public. For those who haven’t heard, HD1 – once rumored to debut as Haute Doggery – is the newest joint venture between Richard Blais and Barry Mills of Flip Burger.
Aside from Mr. Blais chatting it up with a few patrons, the first thing I see as I walk through the door is a large blackboard-style menu. Other than a few leaked recommendations in interviews, there has been no menu available online, so this is really my first chance to see what HD1’s food is going to be all about.
No matter how much they may try to distance the two restaurants, comparisons between Flip and HD1 are inevitable. The space, also designed by ai3, is strikingly darker than either Flip location, but keeps with the communal tables and hipster friendly soundtrack. The low lighting, wood paneling, and deep-red accents give this more of a bar feel than Flip, and may have had something to do with my sampling of my fair share of their craft cocktail selection.
HD1 seems less dedicated to “hot dogs” than Flip is to burgers, but does not lack in the creative combinations and re-working of ingredients and techniques on which Blais has made his name. Only two of the choices on the “Stuff” section of the menu actually qualify as a hot dog, while the majority are a range of sausages, like the Chicken-apple ($6), lamb Merquez ($7), and the “Kenturky” ($5) topped with bacon, mornay sauce, and tomato-pimento marmalade.
I didn’t get the chance to try them all, but I did sample my friend’s Red haute dog ($6) topped with brisket chili, pepper jack foam, and Vidalia onion. I wasn’t feeling generous enough to reciprocate with bites of my Beef pastrami dog ($7), keeping the topping of ox tongue and tripe hash and Russian dressing for myself. Each dog I sampled arrived folded in a thick slice of toasted brioche instead of a traditional bun.
The sure-to-rotate list of appetizers include choices like the lemon curd and Szechuan pepper chicken wing confit ($7) or the Deviled ham in eggs ($3), country ham filled deviled eggs served on a bed of crushed spicy potato chips. We stuck with apps and sausages, but I’m interested to return for one of their entrees like the fried chicken liver plate ($8) with mustard greens and hot sauce, or the Roasted wild striped bass ($12). I did polish off my meal with a cup of vanilla soft-serve ice cream with a dusting of sea salt and charcoal dust. Yes, you read the right. I said charcoal dust.
And before you ask…no, I did not see any liquid nitrogen.
Whether good or bad, I don’t make judgments (and especially don’t write them) so soon after any new restaurant opens their doors, but I plan to return to see how things evolve. Did any of our loyal commenters check it out last night?
664 N. Highland Ave NE,Atlanta. www.hd1restaurant.com, $
- By Jon Watson, Food and More blog