Rock City Review: Doe's, H.A.M., and Local Lime Shine, Others Disappoint

My recent ventures into Rock City’s food scene…
Why can’t I have the metabolism to eat at Doe’s Eat Place at least once a month? The restaurant churns out dreamboat steak gut bombs and fried delights. Our 3-lb. Porterhouse was its typical bad ass self—cooked to medium-rare perfection, dripping in fatty juices, and piled high with fries. For the price, you won’t find a better steak in town, but if you’re not a steak-aholic, like me, make sure you order the wildly addictive, thick-battered fried shrimp. I can eat two or ten of these without blinking. And that soaked salad. Goodness! Keep doing what you do, Doe’s.
I usually love me some Chi’s on Markham/Shackleford. The Mama Chi’s Spicy Fish always delights, as does the string beans, chicken and garlic, and beef chow fun. But definitely pass on the shrimp and lobster sauce lunch combination. While not terrible by any means, Chi’s can do a lot better than frozen peas and carrots in an egg sauce. The saving grace of the dish was the plump and plentiful shrimp, but there’s not much about the plate that would make me order it again. BTW … I’ve never understood the fried chicken wing as part of the combination plate—86 that sucker.
H.A.M. is the definition of consistency and quality. You can never go wrong with the Georgie (which my kids always order), but the specials, like the La Quercia Lomo, a sandwich filled with cured pork loin, butter, Manchego, arugula, and cornichons, are what typically intrigue me. Owner/chef Brandon Brown is a master at pairing ingredients, and he’s certainly come up with another winner with the Lomo.
I’ve been praising Boulevard Bistro & Bar as one of the best new restaurants in town, which I think it still is, but even some of the best restaurants have off nights. Last Friday was one of those nights. The Hog Burger–a ground pork patty topped with pork belly and served on a brioche bun–was a miss. The burger was small in size and heavy in taste. Bland slaw, fatty, soft pork belly, and a disappointing bun were the culprits. The side of fries, however, are still the best in town. My wife’s fried chicken, a special, was left in the fryer a bit too long, and I wasn’t a fan of any overly citrus taste in my daughter’s ravioli dish (although my wife raved about it). Service was excellent and the place was hopping, which is always great to see at a local spot.
A quick pop-in at Local Lime with Daniel Walker was met with favorable results. My margarita (on the rocks) was fantastic, but the real surprise was the redesigned tuna ceviche. Small chunks of fresh tuna and creamy avocado were mixed with citrus mango salsa, cilantro, and thinly sliced jalapenos. Light with vibrant flavors, the ceviche at Local Lime is not to be missed, especially during these warm summer months.
National Ice Cream Day was last Sunday, providing a perfect excuse to head to The Green Corner Store for some Loblolly. Unfortunately, they’d run out of Double Vanilla, but did have small cups of it in the freezer cabinet. I grabbed one for my kid and got myself an ice cream sandwich. After nabbing a few bites, I found the Double Vanilla to be surprisingly gritty, more icy than milky, and lacking that signature flavor. Also, running out of a wildly popular flavor like Double Vanilla midway through such an important day was not cool.

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