Visiting Next Week - Dinners
I'm looking forward to visiting Atlanta next week (Thurs-Sat nights) and hope to get to try some of your great restaurants. We'll be in a seminar all day so the culinary adventure will be dinners only. We're not renting a car, so we want places within a reasonably priced cab ride.
We're staying at Hilton Garden Inn downtown and I assume we will eat at Legal Seafood at least one night. Any suggestions for dishes there that are must-haves or steer-clears?
Other restaurants under consideration for dinners are Southern Art, Flip Burger and Woodfire Grill (kill me but I loves me some Top Chef), Rathbun's, Rathbun Steak, The SHED. I would appreciate opinions on each of these and of course other places that you feel we shouldn't miss if possible. Thanks!
I enjoyed spending a little time in Atlanta and only wish that I had a little more time to explore and see more of the city. Our seminar was at the downtown Hilton Garden Inn, so we stayed there and generally stayed close to it the entire trip. The Luckie-Marietta downtown area is very nice. I really enjoyed Centennial Park and we spent some time there each day.
First Dinner: Peasant Bistro. This restaurant is so pretty, with a cool bar, high ceiling and a great staircase leading to the upstairs dining areas. I liked the constellation of chandeliers. The mussels were delicious, with a rich creamy sauce. My frisee salad was good but the poached egg was a tad undercooked (the white wasn’t cooked thoroughly enough) and that was offputting. I didn’t notice much truffle flavor in the truffle vinaigrette. Likewise my steak, ordered medium rare, was rare to almost raw in some spots. It was good, and I like rare beef so I didn’t send it back, but it was a flat iron (not a cut I would typically eat rare) and it would have been better if cooked as ordered. I tasted my friend’s scallops and they were very good. We didn’t have dessert.
First Lunch: Legal Seafood. I had a very nice wood-grilled rainbow trout. The lemon-chive butter, fortunately served on the side, sort of reminded me in consistency and color of that “garlic dipping sauce” that you get with a Papa Johns pizza. My Caesar salad was fine if unremarkable, as was the spinach side dish. One person in our party ordered a Caesar salad with grilled shrimp and received a Greek salad. She ate it anyway, but ended up complaining because of the shrimp, which she said tasted of accelerant. Yuck. The server was very apologetic and they probably took it off the bill (I didn’t pay, so…).
Second Dinner: White Oak Kitchen. We were asked if we had a reservation (no) and kept waiting a few minutes, led to a table by the wait station that we rejected, and seated in a better location in the almost-empty dining room. It never got busy enough to indicate that they should have been worried about bumping someone who had a reservation if they seated us. I liked the food here a lot. The tomato salad was delicious, I loved the sweet and tart interplay of the tomatoes, bruleed goat feta, and arugula. I got the duck entrée and the breast was perfect but the confit was way too salty. I only ate a couple of bites of it. The sweet potato stack would have been great for most people but I loathe bell peppers and yep, there they were. Oh well. The other side was pickled vegetables (which I now realize weren’t “as advertised,” the menu says a crispy okra stack, but my dining companions were doing so much item-swapping that the change may have been unintentional). Whatever the reason, the pickled veg were delicious and a nice counterpoint to the richness of the duck. No dessert here, either.
Second lunch: in a time crunch, we went to Max’s Coal Fired Pizza. Caesar salad with grilled chicken was fine. The tomatoes with mozzarella were a lovely plate but I didn’t taste the salad itself. Didn’t taste the pizza but it looked great (all 3 of my dining companions were on a no-gluten regimen, among other restrictions for one).
Third Dinner: Ruth’s Chris. What can you say? It was very good, high quality beef. I had a lovely crab “tini” generously loaded with lump crabmeat (and sprinkled with finely chopped red bell peppers that were fortunately easy to pick off). Dessert was a good crème brulee with a generous amount of fresh berries.
I won’t review the breakfast spread at the Hilton Garden Inn, lol, try to contain your disappointment. It was well-priced and convenient, that’s for sure.
It was a nice trip and I had some good food even though I didn’t get to try any of the places I had targeted. I liked what I saw of Atlanta a lot and want to come back for a vacation instead of a working trip.
Other ideas (and I'd skip the Varsity, unless you're into greasy gut-bomb fast food):
One Eared Stag
Miller Union or JCT Kitchen
The Spence (newer Blais place) or The Lawrence (which we maybe liked better on a one-evening survey of both)
Flip is too precious for me when I feel like a burger. You could also grab a train to Decatur and go to Leon's and walk around downtown (nice if the weather's good). I like Woodfire, but I'm always offending by how bleeping expensive it can be. I'd probably hit several of the list above over it.
I'd also blow off Legal Seafoods and catch a cab to Six Feet Under on 11th St. Weather permitting, their rooftop patio is a great place to grab some seafood-shack-type stuff and a brew. The view of Midtown is great.
Empire State South is intriguing, but is the online menu accurate? The entree choices look a little too limited. Also the price point may be a little high.
Bistro Niko looks good. I agree there are places that interest me much more than Legal, it is likely to be a default for convenience though.
Empire State South is excellent and the online menu is a sample menu as the menu changes very regularly depending on what is available. As for price point, Woodfire is considerably higher.
Another couple of spots are JCT Kitchen and 4th & Swift. Similar to ESS in that they are new Southern Cuisine.
Abattoir is interesting but loud. In Decatur there is Leons as someone mentioned, Cakes and Ale and the Iberian Pig.
Hope this helps.