Given how much time I spend at the B Side and I miss East Coast Grill, it’s amazing that I had not been into the Automatic before now. I will definitely be back often however. It’s a rarity to find a new place that has excellent food, drink and atmosphere without trying to pick your pocket. I suppose it’s no surprise that these guys have pulled it off.
The atmosphere was lively and the space cozier than expected given its location in a larger building. It’s more of a bar than a restaurant, but strikes a nice balance. The booth seating was very comfortable, and I will look forward to sitting at the bar on my next visit.
The drinks were all well made and reasonably priced (relatively to the neighborhood in which they are located) at $10-12 for their specialty cocktails. The Tuco Ramirez (mezcal, ancho reyes, mole bitters), and Double Wide (rye whiskey, coke syrup, lemon peel) both satisfied, and unsurprisingly they have the standards down cold as well.
The portions are small (we ordered a 2nd wave), but the food is all delicious and priced accordingly. The Crispy Shrimp and Pork Dumplings (Chinese black vinegar, sesame oil) went before everyone got one. Their griddled burger is just about perfect as are the fries, crisp outside and fluffy inside. We ordered the standard fries, but really regretted not ordering the freaky fries with a marrow bone when we saw it land on the table next to us. The pork tacos (special) were excellent, while the kale and mushroom tacos were just OK. The kale could have used more seasoning and I think the mushrooms may have been portobello, which I don’t find very flavorful. The food parading by to other tables all looked worthy; looking forward to trying some skewers, the Korean fried chicken sandwich, the Cubano and Frito pie on future visits. During the summer on the patio, the frozen desert selection of various candy and Klondike bars will do nicely. Someone mentioned they sometimes offer a special Big Mac burger, which I’d love to try given how excellent their standard burger is.
Service was friendly and competent as would be expected with these 2 masters of hospitality at the helm. Dave Cagle was running the room while we were there. It’s nice to see a newer place so grounded to providing great food and drink at a fair price. I’ll be frequenting the Automatic from here on in.