Destination Geek: Battle and Brew

bnbreviewheaderShould you find yourself in Atlanta, be sure to stop by Battle and Brew. Since its reopening in March of this year, the geeky gamer’s bar has expanded and moved to Sandy Springs, and evolved into a fandom foodie’s visual and culinary paradise.
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The facility is now triple the capacity with a full kitchen and kitchen staff, several stations for console and PC gaming, a giant TARDIS entrance to the restrooms, and a dining room and lounge outfitted with steampunk/industrial light fixtures and furniture. The full service bar now offers liquor cocktails with nerdtastic flair such as Captain Picard inspired “Make it So“, hand-crafted with gin, lemon, earl gray tea and honey, as well as classic cocktails such as 1882 Manhattens and Hemingway Daiquiris.

The Whiskey Sour (made with whiskey,sugar, lemon, and egg white) was tangy, frothy, and refreshing. The flavors played nicely with each other, with just the right amount of whiskey. I tried it with Jack Daniels for the first round and Maker’s Mark for the second. I really recommend the Maker’s Mark for the way that the vanilla in the bourbon plays with the egg white. The Fholston Daiquiri, a sweet mix of rum, hibiscus, rhubarb syrup, and fresh basil took a few sips, but it grew on me. I recommend that if you order it to let it sit for a few minutes to let the flavors steep together. It’s a good choice for the fruity drink fan who wants to branch out into something a little boozier.  My husband enjoyed the Curmudgeon, (a herbal concoction of gin, cynar, punt e mes, and angostura), is quite fitting of its name and flavor – harsh, medicinal, boozy, and yelling at you to get off it’s lawn since this bar is its territory and it owns you now.

As a part of BnB’s new summer menu, the Cheese Strats are an epic pair of fancy grilled cheese goodness. Made from a creamy, smokey combination of fromage de meux, mahón, house bacon, and mayo, this sandwich’s moist deliciousness is certainly not a lie. It was especially tasty dipped into BnB’s house made Maple-Whiskey Aioli.

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Also new to the menu, the Ichiraku Ramen features pork broth, seared pork belly, enoki mushrooms, lotus root and soft boiled egg. This bowl of perfection contains a rich, flavorful broth that soaks in with noodles beautiful blend of sweetness and umami. The pork belly was crispy with just the right amount of charring, and the egg was so flawlessly cooked it melts in your mouth. It was so good, I forgot to take a picture until I was halfway through eating it.

The Stuffed Chocobo Sandwich fell a little short of expectation. The menu promised stuffed chicken with spinach, garlic, Parmesan, mozzarella, and ham. What I received was chicken stuff with cheese and spinach, a slab of ham over it, all on a hamburger bun. The lack of outside seasoning on the chicken and sauce on the bread resulted in a dry, bland sandwich that was hard to swallow. I did not taste the garlic,and the dish could definitely be improved with one of their house-made sauces. Their Truffle Aioli or Smoked Hollandaise would be a perfect addition, I think. photo IMG_0937_zpspu3vceyu.jpg

Now to lighten things up, both figuratively and literally. The new Salad Fingers, zucchini fries made with tempura batter, are a brilliant addition to the new summer menu. They were light, crispy, and tasted delicious with both the Maple Whiskey Aioli and the Chevre Cream dipping sauces. I would definitely recommend them as a nice, lower carb alternative to tots and fries.

The Duck Fat Funnel Cake is also something you do not want to miss, though I would recommend ordering it on a slower night. The first night we ordered it was a packed to the brim trivia night (reservations on Wednesday are recommended, btw) and it had an overpowering taste of fat without enough sugar or acid to cut through it. The second night (Thursday the following week) it was delightful. The powered sugar worked well with the batter and the accompanying rhubarb dipping sauce had a texture and tartness that complemented the cake splendidly.

Another dish, not a new one, but definitely one worth noting is 3.14, their “Mathematically perfect Apple Pi(e) with Ice Cream“. While certainly not sliced like the typical apple pie, this perfectly spiced confection melds with the vanilla ice cream to aptly live up to its description.

The fine dining aspect BnB is nice, but it is hard to tell what audience they are trying to attract — restaurant-goers, or bar customers. The new menu is varied, but perhaps a little too much so in ingredients that the potential for waste is pretty high. Also since large, shareable appetizers such as baskets of fries and full size pizzas have been done away with, it makes it a little difficult for a group to spend a few hours eating, gaming, drinking and socializing. There also are not that many lower priced options for on again, off again snacking while gaming. In some ways the atmosphere seems to pressure customers into only dining or only gaming, but not both. Hours are also a bit of an issue as the whole operation does not open until 5, even on Saturday and Sunday. If I’d offer any suggestion regarding that, it might not be a bad idea to open up at 1 or 3 on weekends with games, libations, and a small bar food menu to bring in revenue before main dining room hours. This way one could go and grab a mid-afternoon beer and game while out shopping, and the kitchen does not need a full staff to throw quick items into the fryer. I understand that any business has to start small after a massive revamp like this, however.

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Behold the Pi(e) in its majesty…

Overall I think that Battle and Brew has a lot to offer to the Atlanta geek community, whether through its tasting events, nerdy trivia, or cosplay nights.  On the two occasions we went we were treated to excellent service by the bartenders and wait staff, whom were more than happy to offer suggestions on what to order. It’s clear they love this place, their jobs, and everything that they serve. I can recommend BnB for anything from a relaxing beer after work, to friendly gatherings, to the casual first date with that cute geek you met at Dragoncon. I will certainly say they are headed in the right direction and am looking forward to seeing what they’ll accomplish in the future.

The Gluttonous Geek