Tasting Intown: A review of Golden Eagle and Muchacho

The bar at Golden Eagle.

The good people at Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall in Old Fourth Ward have opened two new places to eat along the BeltLine in Reynoldstown. Muchacho and Golden Eagle share a building and Chef Spencer Barnett, and that’s where the similarities end. Muchacho is a breakfast or lunch spot open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Muchacho shutters for the day and then Golden Eagle comes alive at 5 p.m. in the cavernous space behind it.

Inside the tiny, whitewashed room that used to be a train depot, Muchacho serves up a delicious and diverse set of beverage options. Beer or bloody mary for those needing hair of the dog, Counter Culture coffee for your average workday—but then also fresh horchata, a daily agua fresca, ginger tumeric tonic, and Mexican Coke or Jarritos. Go for the $4 “short and sweet,” a signature coffee that’s like a mini iced Vietnamese.

Sweet grain bowl and tuna poke at Muchacho.

In addition to the usual pastry case, they have fuller entrees for any palate. Whether you’re into grain bowls, poke, or toasts, Muchacho is on trend and quite tasty. The avocado toast is almost as good as Ladybird’s, but the smoked salmon toast is a standout. It’s your classic lox bagel schmear, just on very thick toast. The tuna poke is another good choice, because the protein bites are of ample size and they don’t skimp on the avocado. The sweet grain bowl included a nice surprise of grilled pineapple. This place bills itself as a taco joint, and the chorizo breakfast taco is solid, but other parts of the menu offer options that are more ready for Instagram. Don’t be impatient with the line, which moves quickly and you’ll find plenty of breathing room on the sprawling patio.

After you soak up the sun outside Muchacho, get ready for the darkened bubble that is Golden Eagle. The “supper club” theme is beginning to take root in Atlanta with a Sixties-Seventies mash-up that goes heavy on vibe and fortunately not too authentic on cuisine. Golden Eagle is a comfort food place with Asian accents. Its bar is a highball and tiki situation to rival the Ticonderoga with a long list of after supper sippers. There’s a moose head presiding over the bar and a functioning reel-to-reel tape machine at the other end of the dining room.

Smoked salmon toast at Muchacho.

It’s beautiful inside, and not a speck of sunlight creeps in. The drapes are as heavy as the food, which is not a bad thing. Your fussy dad can get sick on piles of garlic knots, potatoes au gratin, and brick chicken with gravy. The rest of you can enjoy crab rangoon with proper chunks of crab in it. If you’re down for some more Asian, the steak tartare takes a surprising peanut route. And for once, everybody will be able to agree that fried okra is delicious. Seriously, don’t skip the spicy delight of that delicate crunch. For my money, it’s one of the best bar snacks in Atlanta right now.

Panna Cotta in a teacup at Golden Eagle.

The place is far too cool to bring your kids, but by all means, bring them home some dessert. We had four forks going at the ten layer chocolate cake with caramel ganache and malted ice cream, and still ended up taking half of it home. The buttermilk panna cotta only lasted us three minutes and we fought over its cornmeal cookie.

Both Muchacho and Golden Eagle are doing a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, their attitudes are of the glossy and ultra hip. On the other hand, they are providing menus that will please most everybody. As the condos pop up across the street, I expect both spots will find their true rhythm.

Golden Eagle and Muchacho are both located at 904 Memorial Drive SE. For more information, visit goldeneagleatl.com and muchachoatl.com.

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