Lunch for one near shopping malls — a roundup

Today marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. If everything goes according to tradition, my wife and daughters will leave the house early this morning to take advantage of Black Friday shopping sales, and I will stay home, happily snuggling with the turkey carcass.

Alas, I know the day will soon come when I will have to broach the unfamiliar territory of shopping malls and meander through various perfume, clothing and jewelry departments in search of their Christmas gifts. The shopping season is upon us — all of us.

As much as I hate malls, I always remember I have the consolation prize of lunch: not just any old lunch, but a splurge that somehow seems justified in context. Maybe a dozen oysters, or a steak and a martini, or one of those crab cakes the size of a softball. If I have to look at pashmina shawls, I deserve it, right?

McKendrick's Steak HouseReview by John Kessler

A perennial leader in the Atlanta Zagat Survey, McKendrick’s Steak House gets everything right — the wine program, the service, the comfort, the easy indulgence of a great steak house. This is where you should get that nice little steak — maybe a 6-ounce prime filet mignon ($23.95) with a tasty side, such as creamed corn or brussels sprouts ($7.95 each). On the other hand, there’s a kinky burger you shouldn’t miss if it appeals at all. The “surf and turf burger” ($18.95) holds chunks of Maine lobster in a ground rib-eye patty. It comes with a toasted bun, lettuce, ripe tomato, pickles and a big dollop of béarnaise sauce. It’s a very weird, very delicious mess — as pure a splurge as you could hope for.