Roswell’s Canton Street has blossomed into a bustling hot spot of restaurants and bars, and it is a rare weekend night that doesn’t find traffic at a near halt as diners hop from one place to the next.
The strip of historic Roswell has a warmth not often seen in the city, and on a nice spring evening few tables and bar stools are empty for long.
One of the latest spots to join the roster is Slate Table and Tap, the second from owner Brian Martin of the nearby Indigo, currently closed for repairs after a fire in October.
Like many of the neighboring Canton Street restaurants, Slate occupies a renovated historic home. It’s been made over into a cozy pub with a multi-tiered enclosed back porch and a central bar downstairs.
If crafting a friendly neighborhood watering hole was the goal, Slate is surely a success. With 18 beers on tap, live music on the weekends, ample HDTVs, and a sprawling patio so nice that you can’t help but stay for just one more drink, it is no surprise this pub has earned a following of regulars.
Slate also sports an impressive selection of beers by the bottle, though the oenophiles out there might grumble at the wines available only by the glass.
Martin teamed up again with consulting chef Todd Hogan from Indigo to design the selection of upscale bar food, and chef Chris Lafferty runs the kitchen day to day. The menu is expansive, often Southern- or Southwestern-inspired, ranging from traditional bar snacks and sandwiches to more ambitious and refined entrees.
Most newcomers asking for advice likely will be directed to the popular lamb Reuben sandwich ($12.99), and you’d do well to listen. Piled with slices of juicy cured lamb and dressed with the traditional Reuben fixings on rye bread, this sandwich leaves no room for complaints. The bite of the sauerkraut and the robust lamb beg to be washed down with a cold pint of draft.
Many of Slate’s more successful dishes don’t stray far from the bar food end of the spectrum and are best when shared, like the creative selection of wing sauces ($9.99 for 10 wings).
I may return solely for another taste of the green curry coconut wings with cilantro and chopped peanuts. This oddball wing sauce strikes just the right notes of sweetness and heat, and the peanut coating over the fried chicken skin gives each bite a satisfying crunch.
An order of the blackened grouper and corn salsa fry bread ($8.99) — Slate’s fried pita bread take on the personal pizza — is a great substitute for a group appetizer, and the cool avocado crème fraiche is a nice touch.
Plan on splitting their fried green tomatoes ($9.99), as each slice is topped with buffalo mozzarella before it is battered, deep fried and topped with artichoke pesto. The thick batter and gooey cheese makes this a super-rich, though delightfully decadent, plate of food to tackle alone.
But not all of the pub-grub staples work well here. Thankfully, I merely sampled my companion’s grossly overcooked double burger ($11.99), for had it been my order for the night it certainly would have gone back. While the dry, gray 12 ounces of Angus beef was surely the result of a misstep in execution, it was far more than just slightly overcooked.
And it was only my growling hunger, the mysterious absence of our server, and an affinity for chewy pretzel chunks that kept me snacking on the Canton Street beer queso ($7.99). The bowl of melted cheddar quickly loses its appeal after the first few bites.
I had high hopes for the ginger barbecue Kobe beef brisket skillet ($14.99), a hearty helping of beef, mashed potatoes and green beans. But nothing about the shredded chunks of meat in the gravy-like sauce looks or tastes like its Kobe namesake, and it certainly doesn’t do justice to the meat.
On another visit, I enjoyed the first bite or so of the apple bourbon-glazed barbecue meatloaf ($13.99), but the intense saltiness quickly caught up with me and overpowered the dish entirely.
Paring down the menu to focus on the things they do well and a tighter execution of some dishes would go a long way toward improving the consistency in an otherwise promising lineup of food.
But until then, Slate remains a good place to stop in for a pint and some snacks before making your dinner reservation somewhere up the street.SLATE TABLE AND TAP 1132 Canton St., Roswell, 770-641-6641 Food: Southern- and Southwestern-inspired bar fare Service: Friendly, but still working out the kinks Best dishes: Lamb Reuben sandwich , wings Vegetarian selections: Multiple salads and a few appetizers Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Hours: 11:30 a.m-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays Children: Come early Parking: Tight, but complimentary valet offered Thursdays-Saturdays Reservations: Parties of eight or more Wheelchair access: Yes Smoking: No Noise level: Moderate to loud Patio: Yes Takeout: Yes