One Eared Stag: 12/7/12

Sometimes Date Night has to call an audible on our dinner plans. Tonight is that kind of night. We are headed for the Wrecking Bar in Little Five Points. When we get there, the special events facility above it is so packed that there is not a parking space to be had within a mile of the place. We quickly come up with One Eared Stag, which comes highly recommended by our friend KH. The place turns out to be so good that we feel guilty it’s our second choice.

One Eared Stag is in Inman Park, less than a mile away from the Wrecking Bar.

The only hint of the good food inside.

The only hint of the good food inside.

It’s in a nondescript building that you might drive right by. Only the two tables out front give you any hint there is a restaurant here. We are greeted by this guy in the bar, the restaurant’s namesake.

Poor guy.  He seems to be missing some of his right ear.

Poor guy. He seems to be missing some of his right ear.

We are also greeted by a hostess who asks if we have a reservation. We do not, and since almost every table is empty at 7:30PM on a Thursday (full disclosure–Date Night is on Thursday this week due to our schedules), we chuckle to each other about the need for a reserved table.

A quick glance of the daily menu shows that they like to use all of the animal here. Fried pig ears are on the menu as well as pork belly. The beer list is short, with only three draft choices, but if you like fancy drinks made by a mixologist (the modern-day bartender), you will be very happy here. There are many bourbons and scotches too.

We start things off with a Founders Porter and a Rogue Dead Guy Ale.

Cold beer, but there are other things on the bar menu to warm you up.

Cold beer, but there are other things on the bar menu to warm you up.

The porter is brimming with coffee flavoring, perfect for the chilly night. The Dead Guy, imported from Oregon, features one of the best names in the beer business. Nobody dies while we drink it. In fact, it makes us smile, as all good beer does.

We decline the fried pig ears and go for something much simpler, the warm olives with white almonds.

Olives and almonds.  Simple and delicious.

Olives and almonds. Simple and delicious.

The dish looks simple, but there are some complex flavors hiding in the bowl. Rosemary sprigs, garlic and olive oil turn this into an amazing starter. We have unearthed a gem. Will we mine any more tonight?

It turns out we will. We split the 24-ounce pork chop, a huge piece of meat that comes with Brussels sprouts and bacon.

A "side of pork", the 24-ounce chop.

A “side of pork”, the 24-ounce chop.

The chop is served over potato “paste” (think creamy mashed potatoes). It’s medium, with just the right amount of pink inside. Date Night does not dish out a lot of superlatives, but we both agree it is the best pork chop we have ever eaten. When we finish, there is nothing left but a well-licked bone on the plate. We notice that some people order the chop and try to eat it by themselves. Luckily, they can take the leftovers home, or better yet, give them to us to take home.

Since we split our dinner, we have just enough room for dessert. Looking for something light, we choose the white chocolate rice pudding.

Rice pudding, served warm.

Rice pudding, served warm.

They had me at “white chocolate”. The rice pudding is served warm in a cast iron skillet. That’s a piece of warm peach on the top. It’s another winner, and a great way to end this fantastic meal.

As we leave the restaurant around 9:00, the place is packed. The empty tables from earlier are all full, so maybe we did need that reservation. The foodies in Inman Park know what we just found out, that the One Eared Stag is a wonderful place for a special Date Night.

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