A Ping-Pong table, a punching bag, terrible Sci-Fi movies playing on a wall projected TV, and a slushy machine filled with JACK AND COKE!!! No, these are not the list of thing my husband won’t allow me to have in our home, but instead, the most charming group of oddities made available to you at Victory Sandwich Bar and Emporium.
Tucked neatly away in the center of the now bustling Inman Park corridor just off of North Highland Avenue, this hidden gem offers not only a fantastic price point for us cost conscience culinary connoisseurs but also fantastic fare. The menu consists of around a dozen pint size paninis at a budget friendly average of four dollars each, three sides, three snacks, and three salads.
The idea (or so I’m told) is to pick a couple of sandwiches, maybe a snack or a salad to start you off and some sides for sharing. The husband and I began our first meal at Victory with the summer soup and weekly rotated house-made hummus. The hummus plate, while totally palatable, was really nothing special (to me) and the portion size, especially as compared to the smartly small plates that make up the rest of the menu, made its mediocrity even less palatable. The summer soup, however, was a triumphant blend of watermelon puree, perfectly smooth and cold, topped with a touch of crème fraiche, basil, and finished with just enough heat to make you ask for more.
Our sandwich selections did not fail to impress! I chose The Muffler, a play on the New Orleans’ classic Muffaletta. Crispy focaccia stacked with delightfully salty Capicola, Sopresata, and Salami paired with warm fontina cheese and an olive tapenade. The Castro (I’ll let you guess what classic this riffs upon) is slow roasted pork, ham, dill pickles, yellow mustard, and again, that wonderfully melted fontina cheese. My husband chose to go a bit less carnivorous with his selection. He chose The Hambo with mozzarella, arugula, apple, and a balsamic reduction. Oh…and just one slice of the most perfectly crisp prosciutto. All sandwiches come with a handful of crispy salt and pepper chips to round out the plate.
I have to admit I was not impressed with one of the side dish options that I tried. The spicy Ramen with peanuts and scallions was served cold and under seasoned, and frankly, left me cold. The plum tomatoes with Maytag bleu cheese, basil, and balsamic were very simple, but a delicious complement to our meal.
When it comes to the adult beverage part of the evening, I am to understand that Victory has a great list of smart cocktails and simple spiked sodas, as well as a strong selection of canned and bottled beers to choose from. I personally wouldn’t know because I never got past the first line of the drink menu: the Slushie, Jack Daniels blended and frozen into icy goodness with the Atlanta classic Coke-a-Cola. All I can say is that God is great…and so is this drink! At only four dollars for a single and eight for a double (who would ever order a single?!), this is the best deal going!
The restaurant itself consists of three distinct spaces. As you approach from the street, you pass through the spacious patio with both long communal, almost picnic-style tables and smaller, more intimate tables. A sign near the front door directs you to proceed to the bar to order (the lunchtime protocol) or just grab a seat to enjoy the full service experience. Which brings me to the service staff. Friendly and well informed, the attractive mix of tattoo wearing girls are as easy on the eyes as they are a pleasure to be served by. You will find the dining room, as well as the bar, are both warm and welcoming with quirky accents and cleaver placement of the unexpected. For example, the punching bag that hangs beside the bar or the table numbers that are branded on each table (just in case you were to forget which table you’re at).
I will warn you that finding parking was a challenge at prime time, even on a Thursday night, but the good news for us, if not for the employees, is that this Inman Park eatery is open a non-enviable 15 hours a day (13 on Sundays)! Even better news is that a second location is in the works for our Home Depot loving sisters out in Decatur. So go early or go late…just make sure you go!
Thoughts or comments? Contact Clayton Morey at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.feedinfrank.com for more restaurant reviews