Café at Pharr in Buckhead has been around for a long time. Soon after the Braves were cheated out of a World Series victory by Kent Hrbek [yeah – I’m talking to you!!!], this place opened (circa 1992). I actually remember eating here inside their first month of operation. What a cute little foodie I was! (or at least, that’s what I tell myself). Any who … Many years later, C at P is still going strong.
Pharr has been the subject of several foodie posts (here, here, and here) and gets high scores from fans (urbanspoon & yelp). With all that blog love, it seemed only fitting that this place worked its way onto the Atlanta Sub & Sandwich Tour. As logic follows, I decided to make this stop #13 (my lucky number).
In the neighborhood for a hair cut (Colette Design rules!), I figured it was as good a time as any to grab some grub there. Well, it turns out my luck has run out. Okay, admittedly luck did not play much of a factor in this. I’ve eaten at CaP a number of times over the years and I knew what I was getting myself into. Still, I showed up, disregarded my past experiences, and got busy.
Located in Pharr Plaza on Pharr Road (shocking … I know), CaP has sprouted a few satellite locations in recent years. Family owned and operated since the beginning, the simplicity of the décor lends itself to the straightforward nature of the food. Friendly and polite, they run a clean ship. Still, this is a tour stop – so it’s about the sandwich, the whole sandwich, and nothing but the sandwich.
Rumor has it that everything is made from scratch and that the bread is all baked in the back. Let’s get it on!
Sandwich 1: The Veggie
I’m not going to spend too much time on this sandwich. There just isn’t a lot to it. The vegetables are definitely fresh; but sourced from some place like Sysco (or of a similar ilk). The condiments were applied with excess and the baguette lacked any personality. A baguette should have a crispy and resistant crust. The grain here was extremely soft and cold. Nothing putrid, but the sandwich was simply just there. At $7.50 a pop (as all their sandwiches are), if they aren’t going to do something with the ingredient quality … they should drop the price (A LOT!!!).
Sandwich 2: Curry Chicken Salad
Café at Pharr has a slew of “salad sandwiches.” It’s what they are best known for and where they make their money. Priced at $7.50 a pop in sandwich form, there are a plethora of chicken options as well as tuna salad and a shrimp salad selection. I felt obliged to grab some chicken salad; however, I wasn’t feeling raisins or celery, so so I elected the curry as my representative.
Let’s start with the good. The croissant, while not transcendent or award winning, was quite good. Slightly stiff, yet completely soft to the palate, it was very good. Buttery and sweet, this is actually what Pharr does best. These croissants also show up as sweet treat that comes with every sammitch (as bits with a sweet cream filling).
Meanwhile, the flavoring of the chicken was pretty good. Though simple and unimaginative, that in and of itself is actually a good thing. It’s nice to come across a place that just keeps things simple. The curry powder and turmeric showed up appropriately. I suspect there is at least a touch of yogurt (or like-kinded cream), and a hint of ginger. In addition, the mayonnaise is used with care. While some people like a lot of mayo, and a number of others despise it, you can always add more if you want. Meanwhile,
Now for the bad: everything else (including the chicken). The vegetables were the same measly ones invoked by the vegetable sandwich. In other words, not impressive but not distasteful. The main problem was with the chicken salad itself. It was shredded and as it was, I don’t mind a minced chicken salad. Case in point: I totally love the chicken salad at the Varsity (when it’s done right). The problem here is the yellow glob showed up on my plate looking like it was squeezed out of a tube.
The main problem, and it was quite acute, was the chicken itself. It was beyond dry. It was so dry in fact that I found myself swigging my drink in the middle of every bite. Sure I could have dressed it up with some more condiments, but that wouldn’t have fixed the problem with the chicken itself. It was offensively weak.
Flavors with the sandwich were okay, the croissant was really good, and everything else was abysmal. Even if the sandwich is fixed, I still can’t see why it comes in at $7.50
Conclusions & Notes
Elliott Street Deli also uses boars head; so, you might be asking what gives. How do I score two sandwiches made from the same type of stuff so differently? The answer is in the execution. While the tour is all about what you do on the day I show up, it’s worth telling ya’ll that I don’t feel the least bit uncomfortable with my assessment. In the lower tier of the scores, this place teetered dangerously close to a sub-1.0 score. I just couldn’t do it to them, but that’s not saying much.
The sandwiches were not particularly enjoyable and certain bites were flat out bad! Overpriced and under delivered, don’t suspect I’ll be back anytime soon.
Tour Ratings (Explained Here)
Café at Pharr (Buckhead) Restaurant Address & Information
316 Pharr Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30305 // 404.238.9288