I know it’s shallow, but I’m all about a fine logo and interesting graphics.
And Acre Restaurant in Andersonville delivers on the promise of its fabulous graphics, so booyah! I love it when my instincts are good.
We immediately grooved on the whole Acre vibe: the Tap Room with its high tin ceiling, awe-inspiring wood bar and gastro-pub feel, and the Dining Room, quieter, easier to communicate, with a cozy fireplace and funky-cool “farm art” (including antique tractor seats).
The menu, tweaked daily, offers many difficult choices. This is not delicate eating, but the food is presented thoughtfully, with locally sourced purveyors and sustainable organic sources pursued.
Roasted Baby Beet Salad ($8) is a tired standard on modern menus, but here, the goat cheese and walnuts are replaced by apple batonettes and sliced almonds, dressed up in a refreshing blood orange vinaigrette.
We scooped the Baked Feta ($8) onto Acre’s own oregano-salt crackers and crunched away. Miss the House-Made Grilled Sausages at your peril; the chunks of smoked chorizo, curried pork and lamb with red wine were tossed with roasted potatoes and served with grainy mustard. Delish.
The Potato Soup ($5/8), laden with cream and cheddar cheese, was tasty and warming on a cold winter’s day, but the Deviled Eggs ($7), topped with a shard of smoked trout, were a disappointment. I am a deviled egg freak, but it was no problem to stop after one.
Our vegetarian friend settled on the Griddled Cheese ($9), with Cheddar, Colby, smoked Provolone, wild “shrooms” and more of that grainy mustard and rye bread. While it could have been a bit more griddled, the cheese combo was good and the melt factor was just right.
The carnivores at the table were very happy. Loved the Hickory Wood-Grilled Skirt Steak ($19), served atop an earthy polenta flavored with chorizo and topped with guajillo pepper puree, smoked onions and Chihuahua cheese. Big flavors, but the portion was not overwhelming.
A double-stacked Beef Burger ($10) was huge and juicy. Skin-on fries, perfectly crisp, disappeared quickly.
It’s bold to serve Fried Chicken ($17) across the street from Big Jones (I think theirs is the best in the city), but thankfully it was lightly battered, crisp on the outside, and tender and moist within. The mashed potatoes tasted fresh from the farm, but the dry biscuit did not.
Desserts are, as usual, a must. Though we skipped the chocolate offering (what? That’s crazy talk!), the Poached Pear Tart with Cream Cheese Ice Cream ($6), ruby red fruit glistening in a spiced red wine syrup atop a terrific crust, stepped up to the plate. Also marveled over the Lemon Crème Brulee ($6), with its silken consistency, crunchy sugar crust and a mini macaroon to boot.
The ice creams and sorbets—in interesting flavors such as passion fruit-rosemary, pistachio-chocolate and beet—are made in house and priced at $6 for three small scoops that you can mix and match.
Kudos to Chef Carlos Ysagurre and the owners of Acre (they own Italian favorite Anteprima next door as well); if our server was any indication, they have a well-informed and helpful staff. We’ll be back for more—possibly this Sunday for their brunch.