Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Octopus Bar

We finally made it to Octopus Bar last week. Octopus Bar is a late-night concept in the porch of So Ba in East Atlanta Village. So Ba serves standard Vietnamese fare during the day but after 10pm Chef Angus Brown takes over.

The porch is barely enclosed with plastic and we had the misfortune of going on the coldest night Atlanta has seen in a while (24 degrees!). The few space heaters and mini-fireplaces didn't warm us as much as the hearty and flavorful dishes.

"Oyster Our Way" was a revelation. The bracing flavors of the uni and oyster were a perfect pairing with the freshness of the mint. The chicharonnes were just a hint of crunchy texture, balancing the other soft elements. 

We had heard great things about the salt and pepper shrimp and they did not disappoint. A crackly texture, bursting with flavorful juices, we ate these whole. I appreciated the spice from the jalapenos, though they gave Alex the hiccups.

Braised duck with home-made pasta was substantial and full of flavor, the perfect cold-night dish. The flavors of the duck didn't come through very strongly but its heat and richness were appreciated.

Uni carbonara with pancetta was not as interesting as the braised duck and pasta. The uni lost most of its flavor through being cooked and ended up being just creamy mush on the palate. The pasta was nice, but overall this dish was forgettable.

It was well past midnight by this time so we didn't make it to dessert.  Octopus Bar is definitely worth checking out whether you're waiting til 10pm to eat or looking for a more intentional late-night snack.

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