As a former Eastsider, I was a regular at The Attic Bar and Grill when it first opened. Since moving to west Sioux Falls, I have definitely missed the spinach dip, burgers, and homemade barbecue sauce. So when I heard they opened a new restaurant adjacent to the original one, I took it as an excuse to revisit the old neighborhood for an early dinner.
Ass’ociates is an addition to The Attic, which can be accessed through the old restaurant, or through its own entrance. I was delighted to find that the interior door is made to look like a bookcase, a la secret passage. Inside, I found a decidedly more grown up concept than he laid-back, family-friendly Attic.
The vibe is dark, a bit upscale, and a little bit sexy. The ceiling is heavily beamed and dripping with a variety of pendant chandeliers. The color scheme is muted and the seating is comfortable, sumptuous, and plentiful. In addition to a row of open-sided booths, circular booths, and tables, one finds seating areas with large, cozy chairs, and a couple of very isolated, fort-like booths in the far back corner. The bar itself is backlit in crimson overlaid with an ornate black pattern. The far side of the bar is anchored by a gigantic cylindrical fish tank.
As a separate concept, I expected to find a separate menu, but it is the same as The Attic’s. However, it had been a while since I had eaten there and there were plenty of new (and old) menu items I hadn’t yet tried. My two friends and I ordered a round of beers. When asked what they had for local brews on tap, our server, Brody, said they had Fernson Lion’s Paw, so we got that.
From the menu of pastas, sandwiches, and house specialties, we chose the Buffalo Chicken Pizzette, The Country Boy Burger, and The Stoner. As we waited for our food, Brody dropped off a selection of oils and balsamic vinegar to accompany our pizzette. The meal itself followed just a few minutes later.
The Stoner would be a delight for anyone fitting its namesake description. It’s gravy fries topped with a burger, over-easy eggs, and sauteed peppers and onions. This was really delicious. Somehow, beneath the rich, brown gravy, the fries maintained a bit of crispiness. The burger was well-seasoned and not lost amid the other toppings.
The pizzette crust was very thin and extremely crispy. A drizzle of ranch dressing served as an important counterbalance to the very spicy buffalo chicken. The red onion, tomato, and bleu cheese crumbles added freshness and depth to the flavor profile. I didn’t quite get the place of the oils that had been dropped off. Although there was plenty of untopped crust, it was cracker-like and therefore unable to easily absorb liquid. I still drizzled a little balsamic on top of a piece. It was good, but didn’t improve the original product.
The Country Boy burger was my favorite thing on the table. I’ve had an egg on a burger before, and know that it is an excellent topping choice, but never have I had mashed potatoes. It was awesome. I expected it to taste good, but feel wrong. It did not. I’m a fan. The addition of a haystack of crispy onions tied it all together. This burger was like Sunday brunch inside a soft, yummy bun.
The grown-up, playful concept is a lot of fun. It would have been cool to order from a new menu to match the new concept, though.
I loved the attention to detail. This would be a great place for first dates, after work cocktails, or a stop on a fancy night out.
Brody did a really good job, finding answers to all of our questions.
Everything was pretty darn tasty.
It's the Facts
- Ass’ociates is 21+ and opens at 3 p.m. each day.
- The name is a nod to The Attic’s donkey mascot.
- Ass’ociates has three secret doors.
- The fish tank is home to lion fish and barracudas.