Intriguing reviews and rumors surrounded the opening of One Eared Stag, the neighborhood eatery by chef Robert Phalen located in the space that formerly housed Shaun’s….somewhat ironic as it was Doty who mentored the young chef prior to his opening of Holy Taco in East Atlanta.
Stag’s decor is mostly unchanged, save the multiple animal heads adorning the white-washed brick wall opposite the bar.
Atlantans have a hunger for new dining experiences, devouring animal parts once considered trash, like Phalen’s fried shrimp heads at One Eared Stag or his tacos filled with chicken hearts at Holy Taco.
It had been far too long since I broke bread with B. Having just returned from Mexico, the last few days had been a whirlwind of drama and I needed her sympathetic ear….or a valium drip. I wisely chose her ear, and the Stag’s ear.
I had to park a block away and walk in the pouring rain, but once inside, the fragrant aromas emanating from the open kitchen were immediately comforting. We were seated by the front window near the bar where the noise level was high, providing a welcome buffer to my cursing.
B ordered a glass of temperanillo, not the oh so predictable Stag’s Leap, and I stuck with the Guinness that had smoothed out my mood at home earlier. We had an unusually difficult time agreeing on dishes to share from the menu comprised of mostly small plates with a short selection of entrees. In the end, B landed on a dozen oysters to start. Sticking with the seafood theme, she ordered the fish stew as her entree. I would have liked to try Phalen’s foie gras but the accompanying pineapple turned me off, especially with its $21 price tag. Having been informed by our patient server Justin that the short rib was sold out, I opted for the mussels and Brussels.
Turns out breaking bread at One Eared Stag will set you back 50 cents. I can afford it but damn, really? Two kinds of oysters topped with bits of this and foam of that comprised B’s appetizer. I tried one and was unimpressed, however, she enjoyed the remaining eleven.
Quite some time passed before our entrees arrived. Her stew, topped with bright orange roe, was full of shrimp and fish. However, it was so hot that it burned her mouth. Even after twenty minutes, the temperature of the broth was scalding. Nonetheless, she liked the flavor of the tomato-based stew. My disdain for tomatoes with fish remained intact following a taste.
My serving of mussels was substantial, however lacking in broth. Our server requested extra broth which contained whole sprigs of thyme and several dried red hot chili peppers often found in Chinese food….the type they warn “vely hot, do not eat”. Guess what, I always eat ’em! The broth was otherwise mild, flavored with bacon and leeks…good for dipping the grilled bread.
Brussels sprouts were unfortunately not roasted, but rather steamed, with the addition of bacon providing most of the flavor. Nevertheless, I would like to revisit the Stag, especially in the Spring when the secluded patio out back promises to be lovely.
1029 Edgewood Avenue 404-525-4479