Marlow’s Tavern (designated by M.) is a comfortable yet modern, friendly place that’s just around the corner.
It offers American tavern fare while being the pulse of the neighborhood. True. Folks amble in donning baseball caps and Bermuda shorts. We visited the Vinings location. The interior is brick with stark framed black-and-white photos. TVs frame the walls. There is ample seating outdoors too.
It’s not so “special occasion,” but the food is surprisingly good. Marlow’s touts a “modern twist and elevated menu” that does achieve some gourmet levels.
The concept works because they don’t take themselves too seriously. The menu has expressions and tavern rules like: “Feel Free to Talk to Strangers,” “Ear Plugs Available Upon Request,” “The Guest is Usually, OK Always, Right.” “Keep Kitchen Open Late,” “Music is at the Volume we Like.”
The menu is extensive with tons of categories and apt descriptions. Salads are a good start and our favorite appetizer was $6.50. The Hawaiian tuna was $13.50. The entrée we preferred was $18, and one could snag a burger for $9.50.
What We Went Crazy Over
Hawaiian-style Ahi Tuna Poke with avocado wasabi crème, teriyaki glaze, scallions and wonton. (I always toss the wonton to deconstruct). This mélange was “melt in your mouth” good.
Beet & Goat Cheese Toast – roasted beets, whipped goat cheese, honey and toasted pumpkin seeds – was on toasty ciabatta. Seriously, we fought over this combination. And yes, the beets were roasted.
Knife & Fork Caesar salad had large romaine leaves, chopped eggs (we had on the side), parmesan and huge croutons. Again, licked the plate, but would have liked some real anchovies; even white anchovies would magnify the already tangy taste.
Grain & Veggie Poke Bowl is tri-colored quinoa, farro, puffed wild rice, cucumber, radish, snap peas, shiitake, avocado, pickled red onion and cilantro herbed rice vinaigrette. None in our party wanted to order this until we tasted it. This really jived with the pickled onion. You can add your own protein, but it’s not necessary. Why mess with perfection?
A note about farro. Although it is not gluten free, it’s a very trendy healthy “old-world ancient grain” often paired with olive oil. It’s high in protein and fiber, larger than barley, and known for its nutty yet versatile taste. Some would say it’s “adaptable.” Marlow’s does a yeoman’s job of employing grains in its menu.
Grilled Atlantic Salmon with jumbo pearl couscous, grapes, kale, sautéed fennel, toasted almonds and Dijon sauce was five star; it tasted buttery, which was pulled off with the mustard sauce.
“Infamous” Fish (soft) Tacos with blackened tilapia, red cabbage and jicama slaw, black beans, smoked chili cream in warm tortillas. This was among the best for this fish taco devotee.
“Perfecto” Grilled Jumbo Asparagus – under-chopped tomatoes were cooked to perfection, just the right amount of crispness, firmness and springy bite.
No one was overly enthusiastic about the two desserts we sampled: strawberry cheesecake and warm chocolate cake à la mode. Category: NWTC (not worth the calories).
Who’s Behind Marlow’s?
Co-founder, CEO and executive chef John Metz trained at The Culinary Institute of America and remains on its board. His background includes 30-plus years of restaurant and hospitality experience, some at New York’s finest restaurants such as Tribeca Grill, before serving as executive chef and executive director of research and development for Carlson Restaurants Worldwide.
“We pay attention to the details and strive to create craveable food that guests really want to eat. Everything at Marlow’s Tavern is made from scratch, from our famous tomato jam to our margarita mix. We believe it’s worth the extra effort to give our guests incredible chef-crafted tavern fare made from the freshest ingredients available.”
Partner, inside and outside of Marlow’s, is Roberta Nemo, who’s expertise is on the wine flank. She is a member of the Society of Wine Educators and previously worked for Aria and Canoe on the sommelier side. Atlanta native Roberta is the daughter of Carol and Bob Nemo, who recently appeared on the AJT’s cover based on their 59-year marriage. Mom Carol occasionally contributes recipes and lifestyle ideas to the paper.
Marlow’s Tavern in Vinings is located next to Oy! at 2355 Cumberland Parkway.