Sunday, April 16, 2017

Food Terminal - Chamblee Atlanta Georgia

You can find Food Terminal at 5000 Buford Hwy NE, Ste B201, Chamblee, GA 30341 - this is a building in the front of the City Farmers Market lot (the market across from Halal Guys but a bit further north on BufHy). There's plenty of parking out front, to the side or in the shopping center lot.

Much has been said about Food Terminal so I'll try to keep this as brief as possible - I've now eaten here twice and love this place. Whoever did the design work did a stunning job - there's an Asian chic to the place that's totally enhanced by the industrial vibe, with plenty of wood finishes and classy touches all around. The interior reminds me a bit of Cafe Alon at Perimeter - expansive spaces with just enough detail to direct your eye to the immediate space. As you walk in the host station is in front with a dessert counter to the right - the right-hand counter extends to an open kitchen. Dining is in the areas behind (there's also a fairly large patio that I can see myself visiting often).

Some of my friends have already reviewed the various dishes and many of the comments I've heard have been "well this was OK but it's better at "x" - which I find interesting. My own experience has been that while I've had better of some of these dishes, the magnitude off the offering at Food Terminal is overwhelming. The menu is designed as a glossy print magazine complete with Table of Contents and plenty of photos - once again a stunning design. Food Terminal is noted as a Malaysian Street Food restaurant and the various styles of cooking is amazing - there's a touch of Thai, a pinch of Chinese and even a bit of Japanese (and of course the Malaysian). You just won't find this variety anywhere else and that by itself makes it worth visiting.

I've now eaten here twice, first with fellow Yelper Michelle T and about a week later with Yelper John F (who also leads an awesome BufHy Restaurant Crawl - now in it's second round). Once you've picked some items you fill out a sheet much like you would at a sushi bar. Here's a rundown of what I've tried and some general comments.


* Thai Tea - it's the real-deal here and not that premixed crap.

* Raspberry Lemonade Soda - John F had this so I can't comment other than he said it was much like the soda offered at Sweet Hut.

* Five Spice Shrimp Roll - first bite not impressed but they grow on you. There's a subtlety here that you don't get in the initial bite.

* Fried Wonton - your basic wontons - nothing special

* Crispy Pig Ear - surprisingly delicious and melt-in-your-mouth. They really aren't crispy at all, despite the name.

* Szechuan Steam Wonton - love these - steamed wontons covered in pepper oil and delicious.

* Crispy Curry Wings - not impressed - they came off as fried wings without any real seasoning.

* Thai Chili Ground Pork Cheong Fun - delicious - this is a mas of unseparated noodles with a bit of spicy pork and sauce - delicate and quite good.


* Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce - quite good

* Sambal Okra - these are amazing - the best in the veggie category I've tried. The steamed Okra is greatly enhanced by their version of Sambal (it's not the red stuff you buy at the grocery store)

* XO Asparagus - disappointing - this is basically just steamed asparagus with little to make it distinctive.


* Tom Yum Rolling Hot Plate - similar to the Korean Bokkeum Bap served on a hot plate - good and you'll taste the lemon grass, but a little lacking in flavor. Next time I'll try one of the other offerings. Order this like you would fried rice.

* Grandma BBQ Pork - delicious sweet-glazed pork bits - probably the best entree I've tried.

* 5 Spice Pork Belly - very filling but could have used something spicy (order a side of sriracha to fix that). The fried tofu, while broadening out the dish as far as content didn't seem to add much to me.

* Szechuan Beef Noodle Soup - This was good but a little disappointing - the broth wasn't very robust (but that may be me comparing it to all the great Ramen available in town). Also lot's of attached tendon int he broth that some non-Asians may not care for.


* Mango Fever - Mango Puree, Mango Ice Cream, Diced Mango and Sago - I wasn't sure what Sago was so I looked it up - it's the starch extracted from palm stems - think of these as mini-tapioca balls. Loved this dessert and it's easily shared by 2 people.

The service both times was exceptional - with all the experience the restaurant owners have with Top Spice and Sweet Hut, they certainly know how to take care of diners. It's fast, friendly, efficient and the servers know the food so they can make recommendations. All around my experiences have been great. Cost per person (2 apps, 2 veggies, entree, specialty drink) was around $30 but you certainly don't need to go that far to get full - we just wanted to try everything!

(Also posted to Yelp).


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