Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Big Ketch (Atlanta, GA, USA)

3279 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30319, USA

The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill is a (wannabe chain) seafood restaurant with two locations in Atlanta. It specializes in fish, seafood and oysters, including daily fresh fish, poboys, and sandwiches. Big menu with both fried and grilled fish as well as some meat options.

I start with the Sweet n Spicy Calamari ($7.95), which is very fresh and the sauce is very tasty (not very spicy). I get a Famous Grouper Sandwich ($15.95) but with catfish, which comes on a fresh bun with some lettuce and tartar sauce. The fish is fresh and tasty, the bun a bit too big.

VERDICT: 83/100

Pretty good casual seafood fare but a bit pricy.

Bánh Mì (Oslo, Norway)

Olav Vs gate 4, 0161 Oslo, Norway

Bánh Mì is a small shop that only sells Vietnamese sandwiches (Banh Mi) and soft drinks. All come on fresh baguettes with cucumber, carrots, radish, honey roast gammon, chili, and pork liver pate. You have a choice of pork, beef, chicken, tuna, and egg. They also have some (spicy) sauces.

I get the chicken banh mi (NOK 65 or $8). It is a filled sandwich with tasty chicken, fresh cilantro, peanuts, and, most of all, chili peppers (or are they ghost peppers). Although there are only three tiny pieces on the baguette, they have an insane kick! In fact, you already taste them before you start your bite!

VERDICT: 85/100
Perhaps not traditional, i.e. as I’m used to in the US, but these banh mi are very fresh, tasty, and by Oslo standards affordable. But don't underestimate heat!

Eilefs Landhandleri (Oslo, Norway)

Kristian IVs gate 1, 0164 Oslo, Norway

Eilefs Landhandleri is a big restaurant in downtown Oslo that is a crossover of an Irish pub and a German restaurant but with much dark wood and a Norwegian theme (including skis on the ceiling). It is known for its spare ribs and burgers.

I get the Mexburger (NOK 195 or $24), which is a big burger with salsa and chips dumped onto it. Not subtle, but not bad either. It comes with baked potatoes, which are like wedges but from the oven. Snappy but a bit saggy. The small bottle of Coke Zero (NOK 54 or $6.65) hurts the most.

VERDICT: 72/100
Not bad but not subtle either. Very expensive, even for this type of place in Oslo.

Malik’s Kvarten Bistro (Oslo, Norway)

Kristian IVs gate 1, 0164 Oslo, Norway

Malik’s Kvarten Bistro looks like a former bar that has been transformed into a snack bar/restaurant. It serves burgers, kebabs and much, much more. The burgers come in 100 grams and 200 grams, which is usual in Norway, where beef (and anything else) is extremely expensive.

I get a Bacon Burger of 200 gr (NOK 109 or $13.50) with a Small Fries (NOK 29 or $3.50) and Pepper Sauce ($1.25). The patty is freshly pounded and is the size of a Schnitzel (thin and long). It comes on a big burger bun with lettuce and a kind of 1000 Island sauce. Tasty. It actually doesn't need the spicy pepper sauce I ordered. The fries are thin and prefab, crispy but overseasoned.

VERDICT: 85/100
One of best snackbars in Norway.

Cook ‘n Frites (La Louvière, Belgium)

Rue du Canal 22, 7170 La Louvière, Belgium

Cook ’n Frites is quite a big friterie that is located a bit outside of the center of town. It has a decent sized inside and a large patio, which is bumping on this pleasant Saturday evening. They have a broad range of snacks but are know for their award-winning, handmade fries.

T. gets a Big Fries, which is enormous, and I get a "Small", a Vuurvreter (literally: Fire Eater) with Samourai sauce, and a (real) Hamburger with Brazil sauce. The fries are very thick and prepared as only Belgians can: fully cooked but soft inside and crispy outside. Delicious! The burger is real beef and prepared on the griddle. It comes on a big burger bun but unfortunately with no fixings. It still tastes good. The Vuurvreter and sauces are standard but good.

VERDICT: 94/100
One of the best friteries I have ever eaten at.

De Clercq (Paris, France)

In front of Stade Jean-Bouiet, Paris, France

De Clercq is a small friterie in Paris that also has a small stand that travels to events. I visit the “kings of fries” (les roys de la frite), as they call themselves, in front of the beautiful Stade Jean-Bouiet, just before a rugby game of Stade Francais. They only serve fries(€4), frikandellen (2x), Mexicanos (both €4) and sodas. We get two “cornettes des Frites” (cones of fries), which are relatively small, particularly for the price, but exceptionally good. While they look more like French Fries, i.e. relatively thin, they taste more like Belgian Fries. What makes it even more special is that they have four sauces for free: mayonnaise, andalouse, samourai, and ketchup.

VERDICT: 92/100
In terms of quality these were some of the best fries I ever had, and the best ever in France, but the price was excessive (for the very small portion).

Snack Friterie (Sedan, France)

Boulevard de Lattre de Tassigny, Sedan, France

This is a small friterie (snackbar) that is connected to a bar next to the Stade Louis Dugauguez, the stadium of the local football team (CS Ardennes Sedan). I’m sure it has a name, I just can’t find or remember it. It has big, semi-open room with tables, which is connected to an equally uncosy bar. They serve fries, salads, and snacks.

T get a Big Fries with Ketchup and Mustard and I get Regular Fries with Mayo and a Mexicano with Americain (they forget the sauce). Together with two bottles of water it comes to €11.40! The fries are thick and potato-y, a bit too greasy, but overall closer to Belgian than French fries. The snack is the usual, but fat.

VERDICT: 83/100
Among the better fries I have had in France.

Boardwalk (Atlanta, GA)

6000 North Terminal Parkway, Concourse A, Atlanta, USA

Boardwalk is a fast food chain that started in 1981 and claims 100 locations in the US (as well as one in Canada, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia) as well as 250 locations “under development”. This Atlanta Airport location serves burgers, fries, fried chicken, and salads. It has some 8 different types of burgers, mostly classics, like Western and Southwest.

I get the Southwest Burger ($7.89) and a side of Regular Fries ($3.59). The Southwest Burger comes with two thin but crispy patties, lettuce, tomato, avocado, jalapeños and Chipotle sauce on a soft buttered bun (I didn’t take the pepper jack cheese). Although the jalapeños are from the jar, they and the sauce have a good kick, which is somewhat smoothened by avocado. It is overall a very good burger, a bit like Shake Shack (but more complex). The fries are a bit thicker and well prepared, quite tasty.

VERDICT: 86/100
Obviously expensive, because of the location, but in terms of quality a good upscale burger chain.

The Grill (Greensboro, GA)

1100 Parkside Main Ste 102, Greensboro, GA 30642

The Grill is a very basic sports bar in a new strip mall close to Reynolds Plantation, catering mostly to the new older affluent clientele. The menu is fairly classic US sports bar fare: burgers, fries, sandwiches, wings. It is connected to Oconee Sweet Sensations, an old-school sweets and ice cream place.

I get Chicken Wings, a Chili Dog and the Onion Rings. The wings are ok, not too big, quite hot. The Chili Dog is small and a bit sad. The onion rings probably come from Walmart and are gross. I also get a banana shake at Oconee Sweet Sensations, which is ok.

VERDICT: 63/100
Very mediocre