Friday, February 28, 2014

White Tiger Gourmet


I have been meaning to write a review for White Tiger Gourmet for a year now.  Every time I start, I give up, because I feel like I'm not going to do it justice.  Our whole family loves White Tiger.  Some kids start chanting for McDonalds when they get in the car; my picky eater chants "White Tiger, White Tiger!" over and over.  Sometimes my husband and I join in the chant, and find ourselves taking an unscheduled trip there.

Her chanting worked.
White Tiger is nestled in the Boulevard district of Athens, housed in a 100 year old building that used to be a general store.  Upon entering, you feel like you've walked into your fun and quirky neighbor's house.  Although tempted, I hesitate to use the phrase "grandma's kitchen" to describe White Tiger's food, because their food is so much more inventive.  Yet at the same time, it's comfort food at its absolute best.  But we'll stick with the "your neighbor" description  who just happens to be a kick butt chef and favors funky decor.


The Counter
First off, this place is not just for townies (though that does seem to be the bulk of the customers); this restaurant is seriously a godsend for parents; especially parents of toddlers who cannot sit calmly and quietly in a restaurant.  White Tiger Gourmet literally has an entire wall lined with toys for your kid to play with, plus paper taped up on the other wall for your rambunctious child to color to their heart's content.  Which is great, because that means us parents can focus on the food. The place is decorated whimsically and cheerfully, and it automatically brightens your mood when you step inside.  On pretty days, you can dine outside, where the yard is lined with large picnic tables, and--yes--more toys for your kids to play with.


The Wall of Toys
And the food...it's fantastic.  It's fun too.  On my last trip, I ordered the special: Rib Belly Tacos topped with slaw.  Their tacos are always divine, the protein and toppings always perfectly balanced, placed on tasty double layered fried (yet somehow pliable) corn tortillas.  My husband and I usually get whatever the special is for lunch and dinner, and it has never steered us wrong.  The meat will always be tender, and the flavor will somehow be both comforting and inventive.  


Smoked Chicken Tacos smothered in Sriracha and Mozzarella 
If asked to pick a highlight on White Tiger's menu, I think I'd have to go with the barbecue.  It's the best BBQ in town, hands down.  Smoky and tender; cooked to perfection.  I adore the Barberella, which is smoked pork topped with both red and white bbq sauce and smothered in gooey mozzarella cheese.   Their burgers are juicy and flavorful; I'm particularly in love with their Alice Burger, which comes topped with grilled shrooms and plentiful cheese.  They also have a ton of delicious vegetarian options, such as grilled tofu tacos or a tofu-q sandwich topped with coleslaw, bbq sauce, and field greens.  


The Barbarella
Looking for something lighter?  They've got that that too.  Their menu is vast, and the cooks have always been happy to make us whatever our stomachs have been craving; provided they have the ingredients on hand.  My favorite healthy entree to order at White Tiger is their superb Seared Salmon Ciabatta.  I can be iffy about salmon, but White Tiger's salmon is always fresh tasting and perfectly cooked.  The salmon is expertly seared, and topped with capers, cucumbers, field greens, cream cheese, and a deliciously tangy lemon vinaigrette, and served on a Luna bread ciabatta. My Sister in Law loves this sandwich so much that just mentioning it in her presence causes her to swoon with happiness.   


Macaroni & Cheese
The entrees are large enough to fill me up without needing a side or appetizer, but I usually get a side any how, because they are just so darn good.  The grilled cabbage will seriously blow your mind (who knew cabbage could taste like that?!), and the macaroni and cheese is creamy and cheesy.  You can never go wrong ordering one of their grilled veggie sides.


Grilled Okra
I haven't even touched on their Sunday Brunch.  Yes, it's great.  No, it's more than great, it's awesome.  I'm a biscuit snob, and I can honestly say their biscuits are superb...and the size of your head.  Therefore, their Tiger Head Biscuit Sandwiches are of course absolutely delightful.  My daughter is a huge fan of their Ridiculous Stack of Pancakes, which is served with great real maple syrup.  You can also order anything off their lunch/dinner menu during brunch, so if you are craving a Salmon Ciabatta, then don't worry about not seeing it on their brunch menu: go ahead and order it!


Biscuits & Gravy topped with Fried Egg (The B&G)
Other highlights of White Tiger?  They strive to use organic, local, and fresh ingredients, which is always a huge perk in my book.  This often can translate to higher prices, yet somehow White Tiger's prices remain incredibly reasonable.  You definitely leave the restaurant feeling like you scored a pretty sweet deal.  The service is always great, the food is served promptly, and the employees seem eager to ensure that you have a great experience.  



Bottom line?  White Tiger Gourmet embodies everything I love about the Athens Food Scene:  it's innovative, fun, delicious, affordable, and utilizes local and organic ingredients.  There is an overused line that has been said time and time again to describe White Tiger Gourmet, but still holds true:  White Tiger is the hidden gem of Athens, Georgia.  




White Tiger Gourmet on Urbanspoon


4 comments:

  1. White Tiger is one of my favorites! I absolutely love it. And the atmosphere is wonderful as well. I can't wait to go back! You have me craving it now!

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    1. haha, I got so hungry writing this up!

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  2. Great post! I really need to give this place another try. I've been twice, and enjoyed the burgers a lot, but there are so many more things here that I haven't even looked at.

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    1. I feel the same way! There is a ton of stuff I'm still jonesing to try.

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