Last week my dad flew into Atlanta on a late night flight and I took the opportunity to look for a restaurant with long hours. A Google search and a few clicks later, I stumbled across glowing reviews for Holeman and Finch in Buckhead. We decided to give it a shot, and the dinner that followed still brings a smile to mouth and a little trickle of drool to my chin. If you’re looking for a night of fine dining that isn’t too formal, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Holeman and Finch is a gastro pub, a type of restaurant known for complex cocktails, uncommon beers, and cuisine that strikes a playful balance between home-cooked heartiness and sophisticated fine-dining. The menu isn’t exotic per say, but it is unique and adventurous, offering unusual parts or preparations of familiar ingredients. My father and I split pork bellies with polenta, sautéed oyster mushrooms with garlic chives, schnitzeled lamb fries, pork shoulder, and red butterhead salad with buttermilk vinaigrette. We didn’t delve into the large selection of cheeses or smoked and cured meats, though I was tempted by the offerings.
I would not recommend Holeman and Finch to vegetarians, seeing how most of the menu caters to carnivores and the entrances leads to a window into the kitchen where colossal slabs of meat are displayed on butcher’s hooks. And while the salad and mushrooms we had were delicious, the meat dishes were out of this world. The pork dishes were particularly succulent and served with creative pairings like tea braised collard greens that accented the meat’s flavor wonderfully. Each dish is small but ideal for sharing, allowing you to order lots of little tastes.
You also owe it to yourself to try one of their cocktails. Holeman and Finch hearkens back to an older era of mixology with complicated blends of bitters, sours and syrups instead of simple mixes of spirits and juices. I highly recommend the Sacred Oath, a whiskey-based number with ginger liqueur and lemon juice. There is also a healthy selection of beers to try.
The atmosphere like the menu is nice without being overly formal or pretentious. The kitchen window and the active bar keep the scene grounded and casual while dark hardwoods and lights that are just dim enough give it a hint of romance. The place is undeniably pricey by college standards, but it’s more affordable than many other fine dining options, and you wouldn’t be out of place wearing jeans and a jacket. If you want to treat someone special to a romantic dinner this holiday season, keep Holeman and Finch in mind.