Attention, Alpharetta. A restaurant has opened that’s not a burger, pizza or cupcake place. Quick, gather your battered palates and head down Old Milton to The Bowl, which is located in the former Wok and Chopstick location. The main thrust of The Bowl is “Korean style bowls, with a collection of cultural influences”. While I am not an expert on Korean food, I do know what tastes good. The Bowl tastes very good.
I have yet to have eaten anything here that wasn’t filling and satisfying. While I have stuck primarily to the bowls themselves, The Bowl does have several entrees to offer. Meatloaf, herb chicken, crab cakes, soups and salads round out the menu. Be aware, the lunch menu is quite a bit larger than the dinner menu. The portions may be larger at dinner, but some of my favorite lunch items aren’t offered at dinner.
The bowls come with your choice of white or brown rice or egg noodles with vegetables mixed in. On my first visit I ordered the beef stroganoff bowl over noodles. The meat was crazy tender and was combined with a mushroom sauce, onions, broccoli and carrots. Each bowl comes with a roll to sop up all the juice, which I did.
My wife had the crab cake dinner. We were told that the crab cakes were one of the best selling items on the menu. It wasn’t bad. Not the best she’s ever had, but better than a lot of crab cakes that use Miracle Whip or something along that line as a binder. Note I did say, “it” was good. The crab cake dinner came with one large softball sized crab cake. Odd. The corn succotash and spinach that come with it were very good and complimentary.
I will also recommend the spicy pork bowl. It’s a whole pig’s worth of pork belly cooked with chili pepper and mixed with veggies over rice. I wish they had chopped it up before putting it in the bowl. Each piece was too big and unwieldy on it’s own. The spice level was just right, and by just right I mean way up there. Delicious.
This may sound like a 100% positive review, but alas, there are problems. While the food has been outstanding, the experience has been less than stellar. The lunch procedure and dinner procedure are opposites, which can be confusing. At lunch, you order fast casual at the counter. At dinner, you sit and are waited on. As I pointed out before, the dinner menu is smaller than the lunch menu.
The service has not been up to snuff either. At one point a manager or owner was having a “this is how this place is run” discussion with an employee at the front desk in full view and sound of the dining room. It was awkward for the diners. And in our last visit, an appetizer we ordered was forgotten. When I brought it up to our waitress, we were told flat out that no, we had not ordered it. Not good.
I’m hoping they can get these issues worked out and soon because I am willing to fight the Old Milton traffic to get at this food, but not if this is how The Bowl is run. Straighten up guys. You have a good genesis here, help it grow.
The Bowl, Modern American Cuisine is located at 4000 Old Milton Parkway, Suite 200.