Thursday, July 11, 2013

Marlow's Tavern - Vinings

Marlow’s Tavern is a modern neighbor tavern mini-chain.  There ten Marlow's Taverns in the Atlanta metro area and another two in Florida. 

We received a coupon in the mail for $5.00 off if you buy so much (I think it was $15.00) at Marlow’s Tavern. We decided to use the coupon at the Tavern on Cumberland Parkway in Vinings. 

My first impression wasn’t very good.  It was dark. With dark walls, black booths, dark wood tables and the summer outside outdoor dining cover blocked most of the windows, it took a long time for my eyes to adjust to the darkness.  The spot lighting from overhead left shadows and the menu was difficult to read in the dim light. The music was too loud for early afternoon.  The volume is probably great when the place is mostly full; however, for our late lunch (about 1:30), it was a bit much.  I’m a big guy and the booth was just barely acceptable.  Finally, most of the wait staff were hanging out at the pass shelf waiting for their orders. so sitting near the pass shelf was chaotic. 

Marlow's Tavern in Vinings
Seemed dark to us. 
Our server came by fairly quickly, “two water’s with lemon, a merlot, and a Corona light.”
It took a while for the merlot, but, no beer. A minute or so later, the manager came by and said they were out and would I like something else.  I asked which of the tap beer he had was the lightest and crispest tasking. He suggested Neighborhood Tap, I said, sure, I’d give it a taste.  Shortly, he stopped by with a small glass with probably a couple ounces in of the beer in it. I really liked being able to taste an unknown beer before I ordered it.  I sampled the beer and was quite pleased. A little while after that the waitress took my order for a pint and brought it a few minutes later.  A few minutes after that, as she was walking by, I flagged her down and asked again for two waters with lemon. A few minutes later, two waters arrived.  Ever so gently, my voice asked the question, “Lemon?” She said she needed to go back and get it. She left and quickly returned with the lemon.  I headed off to the rest room to check it out and wash my hands. The rest room was clean, well stocked, and had a nice decor. 

Somewhere in the midst of all that, we did order our food. My wife decided on a Rustic Grilled Cheese, (Havarti and Swiss cheese, Classic Mornay sauce, and Applewood Smoked Bacon on a Sour Dough) with extra bacon. I opted for the Tavern “Double Cheese “burger, medium. We both asked for the Ceasar salad instead of fries. 

Grilled Cheese with extra bacon
and Caesar Salad
"The best grilled cheese ever!"
Food service speed was typical for a neighborhood tavern.  The Caesar Salad was excellent. Romaine lettuce, with clearly hand grated parmesan cheese, a sun dried tomato, a piece of delicious flatbread (instead of the common croutons) nicely dressed with a very good tasting dressing.  A pleasure to eat.  

A grilled cheese sandwich is “comfort food” for my wife. She was amazed at how incredibly good her sandwich was.  The bread was really good, the cheeses were a delicious mix with the Mornay sauce adding something more than typical.  She has made many grilled cheese sandwiches in her time, but none as good as Marlow’s. She just couldn’t say enough about how good it was.  My burger’s presentation was a bit of a disappointment.  All I could see was the top of the bun.  I cut it down the middle for easier eating and found it was cooked medium, exactly as I requested. I tasted it and it was juicy and flavorful. A really excellent burger. I was surprised that it could be  that juicy without being a mess to eat. 

Overall, we liked it.  The really excellent food made up for the atmosphere and service.

Ambiance: 3 (darker and nosier than we care for - especially near the pass shelf)
Food: 5 (Best Grilled Cheese Ever) 
Service: 3 (The tasting overcame mediocre wait service)
Price: 3 (over $15 each for lunch & 1 drink - before coupon)
Value: 4 (Excellent food) 

We'll be back the next time we receive a coupon in the mail.

Marlow's Tavern on Urbanspoon

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