Last visit: Dec. 17, 2007
DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT PAID TO DO THESE REVIEWS. I LOVE TO EAT OUT. IT’S THAT SIMPLE.
Sitting in an up and coming industrial area full of slab walls and stainless steel, no bedroom wall lofts, The Real Chow Baby boasts to be the Atl’s first stir-fry joint with all the fixins’ you can imagine. Valet parking is free and fast. Seating wait is either instant, 10 minutes or no more than 30 on a really busy night. Decòr is NYC style with earth tones and dim lights. Bar is fully stocked (anyone say Ginger Mojito!?). Bathrooms are clean, always. And on the wall you’ll see pictures of celebs like Outkast, holding their own bowl, baby! The service is good too. Not slow, but not intrusive either. Owner Mike and I have developed really cool rapport simply b/c I asked him for gift certificates for an annual charity event I produce. He gladly gave me dinner for two the first time I ate there. Done deal. I went back for more.
So the food. Let’s talk about the food. You have a choice of entreè’s ranging anywhere from $8-$15 or do what everyone does and get in line with your paddle and bowl for an adventure in mixing and matching veggies, sauces, herbs and protein. Fresh vegetables abound in the 20+ range. Baby corn, basil, bok choy, water chestnuts…you name it., they got it. You can be conscious and go for brown rice vs. white. Noodles are an option too. Then the sauces! About 15 homemade sauces make it really difficult to decide what works with what. Keep it movin’ people! keep-IT-movin’! Finish your line with your choice of about 4 fish, pork, beef or chicken, spices and herbs and then the oils. That process takes about 10 minutes and in about 10 more, you’re eating your attempt at cheffin’. Sometimes the cook who stir fried your concoction brings it you personally. Try it. If you don’t like, by all means you must go back and try again! Bottomless bowls and limitless, maybe even embarrassing attempts at making the right bowl might keep you there for 2 or more hours! Don’t worry, they won’t kick you out.
I don’t mind change, but sometimes when something works, stick to it. My bowl works for me. Everytime I’ve tried something else, I’m not satisfied. I try to get waaaay too creative with my mixins’. I love plum sauce with steak, but then I want tangerines too. That somehow does not sit so well with my palate. But, the Ginger Lime Basil sauce works really well with brown rice and pineapples, a bit of 5 herb spice, (a pinch of Hoisin sauce), chicken, fresh basil and about 10 other things I add! I now keep a little cheat sheet in my wallet so I can remember. If all else fails, they do you the favor of suggesting different bowls, written in huge letters on the wall behind the line of food. They’re not yelling at you, they just want to make you’re happy, Baby.
After 8 visits there in one year (that’s almost once a month), I would dare say it’s one of my favorite places. Cool people, young and old, Isaac Hayes’ “Shaft” playing in the background remixed with Ahh freak out, and kickin’ quesadillas, I’m good in that hood!
Ike is clearly really happy about our outing..or is he rockin’ out to his dad’s song in the background?? hmmm….
(Jason, Me, ??, Marco, Ike, Jan)
The Real Chow Baby: New American Stir Fry
1016 Howell Mill Road Suite A
|Lunch: $7.99; Dinner: $12.99||
What to wear: jeans, bamboo earrings, fedora’s, Junkfood t-shirts, OR khaki’s, polo shirt under ribbed sweater, baseball cap and Chuck Taylor’s.
What NOT to wear: slacks, church attire, 14″brim floppy hats, sweat pants, cocktail dresses (I’ve actually seen this here!)