Grazing: Midtown crawl

Revisiting some popular cheapies

My favorite flavor has always been cheap, and that has usually meant speeding out to Buford Highway to an ethnic restaurant. But the Great Recession has made cheap fashionable in town now. More burger joints are opening, pizzerias are multiplying and soon, I imagine, hot dog carts will be rolling down Peachtree.

Last week, I took a break from new restaurants to do some updates of popular Midtown-area cheapies. Much of the week, I dined alone since my partner Wayne had abandoned me for three days to attend a square dancing event. This is what happens when you finish your Ph.D. in epidemiology. You start square dancing.

Most of my visits were pleasing. Probably my favorite was Hong Kong Harbor (2184 Cheshire Bridge Road, 404-325-7630), where I had not eaten more than once in the last couple of years. I used to eat there constantly, but infatuation with other Asian cuisines, especially Vietnamese, has made me an irregular.

My favorite there used to be the salt and pepper squid, which I regarded as the best in town, and the oysters in black bean sauce. This trip, though, I caught sight of a board special I couldn't resist – two lobster tails in a ginger-scallion sauce for only $21.

I asked the apparent manager if I could have the dish without soy sauce – I don't care much for Chinese "brown sauces" – and she said, "Of course." The result was a light, delicious sauce, heavy on the ginger.

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(Photo by James Camp)

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