Let’s begin with an ode to the ampersand, which is fast becoming the sure sign of success in the Atlanta restaurant landscape. Some of our favorite places like Muss & Turners (Date Night, 11/23/12) & Table & Main (Date Night, 1/31/14) have the curvy connector in their names. So when Date Night learned that one of the founding mixologists at trendy Holeman & Finch (Date Night, 7/27/12) opened Ration & Dram near Little Five Points, we…yawned. Evidently, if you worked at H&F at any time during your restaurant career, you are qualified to open your own place. Date Night does not care if you took out the trash at H&F. We want our thirsts slaked & our bellies full. Anyway, what’s for dinner?
Ration & Dram has been open for about a month. It is located near the Arizona Lofts across from a bunch of soccer fields on a dead-end street.
Soccer moms will love the downstairs bar.
Upstairs is another bar and dining space.
There are tables where you can eat outside on a nice night. Unfortunately, this is a cold, rainy night. The soccer moms stay at home.
Date Night always starts with a dram. Barkeep, a flagoon of your finest ale!
Tonight’s beverage is Wild Heaven Eschaton, from right down the road in Decatur. This may be the best beer brewed in Atlanta right now. It’s a 10.5% Belgian quad that’s aged in oak barrels. It’s an incredible big beer that must be tried if you spot it on a menu. Here’s the best part: it is poured here in a pint glass instead of the usual 8-10 ounce pour. We ask if they should be doing this & our server says that this is how they pour it. It’s a lot of bang for your eight bucks. We would go back just to get this beer again. Go order one before they figure out they are giving you too much beer. Hopefully they won’t read this & change their policy…
The staff is a bit green, but since they haven’t been open that long, we are OK with that. When asked what’s in a menu item, our server says, “I don’t know, I haven’t tried it.” To her credit, she did go get us an answer.
The rations come in small plates, biggie plates, & hands on, which are sandwiches. Or you can get “grown”, which are the salads.
From the small plates, we get our appetizer, the pork egg rolls. Small plates, yes, and a big portion, perfect for sharing. The rolls are full of pork & cabbage and nicely fried. The ginger-teriyaki sauce is fun for dipping.
After the egg rolls, more rations are proffered. We order two from the biggie plates, which of course we share.
The grain bowl gets points for presentation alone. Check out those carrots. Do you eat the tops? We did. There’s more: roasted broccoli, chard & baby Vidalia onions over a bed of quinoa. The veggies make this a very tasty dish, but we would have liked a slightly bigger ration of the quinoa (and less onions) as it ran out fairly quickly.
The star of tonight’s meal is the carbonara. It’s a wonderful bowl of fresh, flat tagliatelle pasta, kale, & house-made sausage, topped with an egg yolk. The sausage is crumbled and cooked crispy and comes across a lot like bacon. The pasta is filling and very satisfying & the crunch from the sausage gives the dish a nice texture.
We pass on dessert as we are too full. Our keyboard has run out of ampersands, & we bring our date to a close.
The bottom line on Ration & Dram: Very promising. The “ampersand rule” works here too. They have a nice beer list, & if you want to waste $10-12 on something a mixologist (formerly a “bartender”) concocts, you can do that here too. We enjoyed our date here & hope the restaurant does well. It’s in a strange place in the city, sort of a no-man’s land between industrial space, soccer fields & lofts. If you are in the neighborhood, it’s worth trying to find.