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Everything posted by Voodoo

  1. Nice looking jeans and a dress shirt have been fine for me at all but a few places. Atlanta is fairly casual. I would say that Rathbun's is business casual.
  2. Marquis is in the same vicinity as the Ritz and Hilton listed previously in this thread, so the same advice applies.
  3. I assume you meant that you made most of your plans for Midtown. As far as Buckhead goes, thre is no shortage of great restaurants in Buckhead. Yes, there are lots of overpriced, overcrowded, overrated restaurants, but several of the city's best restaurants are still in Buckhead. Bone's, for one.
  4. Haven't heard Soto was ready to open his new restaurant yet, but when he does, I will fly up to check things out. He was doing amazing things down here in Atlanta. I can only imagine what he'll be doing with far superior access to fish and a lack of reluctance to buy or make anything on account of having a customer base that might not like it.
  5. I think the blue crab fritter with thai essence appetizer at Bacchanalia is sublime and a definite can't miss. That's a signature item that's almost always on the menu from what I can tell. At Restaurant Eugene, I had hamachi collar bone that was also can't miss, but that's only available via a tasting menu. If there's something that is can't miss at Eugene, it's the tasting menu option as a whole. The dishes you get will undoubtedly be different than the ones I got last time, but it'll be great, I can assure you of that.
  6. If you were considering Seeger's, the only places that could be considered worthy replacements are Bacchanalia, Restaurant Eugene, Quinones, and Ritz Carlton Dining Room. Everything else will fall short, I'm afraid.
  7. Blais' loss was highly predictable. Won comfortably on originality and plating, lost big on taste. I think Blais is a heck of a chef, but given the secret ingredient and time constraints, it's no wonder Batali with his Mediterreanean background and ICA experience was able to do more with the chick pea and 1 hour time limit than Blais. I also am not sure Blais is quite to the level of chef that Batali is. Blais was one of the best chefs in Atlanta when he left, a noticeable step above most, but also a noticeable step down from the very top. That's no slight to Blais. There's nothing wrong with being excellent rather than superb, especially considering his youth.
  8. So I guess Seeger's is closed officially then, eh? How long has it been closed? No announcement that I saw. Seeger's, regarded as perhaps the best restaurant in the Southeast, being replaced by a Here to Serve restaurant says a lot about the state of fine dining in Atlanta. Out with the old, staunchy and expensive, in with the new, trendy and fun, no matter how good or bad the food may be.
  9. I should have clarified...those were my personal rankings. I have not been to either Dining Room or Seeger's, though both are regarded as well or better than every other restaurant in the city. Thus, I did not include them.
  10. I had heard a bit about Restaurant Eugene on some message boards before finally giving it a go tonight. A couple of things spurred me to go. First, Restaurant Eugene Executive Chef Linton Hopkins defeating notable chefs Kevin Rathbun, Anne Quatrano and Gary Klaskala in an Iron Chef America Competition piqued my curiousity. Second, Linton Hopkins professing his affinity for homegrown, fresh ingredients in a recent Creative Loafting article. I finally gave it a shot as it seemed to be a restaurant on the rise and one that seemed willing to compete with ANYONE in town. The standard menu is short, consisting of only around six appetizers, three salad choices and eight entrees. There are also four tasting menu options - 5 courses ($65), 6 ($85), 7 ($105), and 8 ($125). We opted the six course tasting menu. Here's my amateur take: Atmosphere - Smaller than I expected, Restaurant Eugene seats only 50 or so in the dining room and perhaps 12 at the bar. It's a tiny place. That said, I enjoyed the deocr and it was far trendier than I expected, especially for a place that serves "Sunday Supper" or whatever it's called. Nice ambience, though I did not enjoy waiting 15 minutes for a 9:15 reservation, even though the bartenders where incredibly skilled and quite friendly. Amuse bouche - Kumomoto Oysters on the Halfshell - Pickled Ginger, Lime and Vodka Granita - Very good. I dont't usually care for oysters, but this dish had me lapping in the empty oyster shells. Served on a bed of rocks, I found the presentation very pleasing. 1) Collar bone of hamachi with ponzu sauce - served in dishes that are split to two diners, this is apparently only available via tasting menu. So worth it. The waitress cut and served the relatively difficult to carve collar bone. The flesh with the always delicious ponzu sauce and lime was a big hit. Very memorable dish. Superb. The yellowtail was rich and buttery and the ponzu was a wonderful complement. 2) Vegetable arrangement - Featuring scalloed-like potatoes, this dish had baby leeks, radishes, a beet, and a vanilla sauce and parsnip sauce of some sort. Perhaps I buthcered the description, but I must say that this dish was excellent. You know a dish is good when it is the best preparation of an ingredient(s) you've ever had. This was the case with this dish. Second best dish behind the hamachi. 3) Wild Striped Bass - It would be somewhat insulting to call this dish forgettable, but that's exactly what happened what I tried to remember the dishes from tonight's meal. It was served on top of brussel sprouts, I believe. Good, but not memorable in the slightest. I must say, that though this was the "worst" dish, it was better than many dishes I've had elsewhere. 4) Hen - Two different preparations of hen on top of a sweet potato dish. Very good, but nothing spectacular. I suppose chicken can only go so far. For some reason, I got the impression that Hopkins was limited by the chicken and not the other way around. Served on some sweet potato dish that was great, but not memorable. 5) Cheese assortment - consisting of a goat cheese, sheep cheese and a cow cheese, this array was excellent as each cheese featured a nice fruit complement. I found the jelly complement to the goat cheese to be overwhelming to the flavor of the cheese, but the Roquefort/honey comb combo was outstanding. Oh, it was good. I passed on the port/dessert wine offer prior to this course, though it may have been a mistake. 6) Poppy seed pound cake with lemon ice cream and cinammon churro with ganache chocolate dipping sauce - Dessert is hard for me to judge since I have such a sweet tooth. Though I probably will not remember either dish, which were served on the same plate, I did think both were very good and capped off a fine meal. All in all, I'd have to say that my meal at Restaurant Eugene ranks comfortably in the top three meals I've ever had in Atlanta. Given that it was the most expensive by quite a bit ($140 after tax and tip - two drinks), it better be. I think Bacchanalia's service exceeds Eugene's but a good bit considering they offer several intermezzos and always seem prompty in bringing and taking away food from the table. That said, the food at Restuarant Eugene is every bit as good as Bacchanalia's, which I consider the gold standard in this city. Hopkins certainly knows what he is doing in the kitchen, and I look forward to making a trip back. Restaurant Eugene ranks in the highest tier of restaurants for me with now defunct Soto (coming on top) and Bacchanalia, and with Aria, Bone's, One.Midtown.Kitchen (with Blais' tasting menu), Canoe, Tamarind, Nan Thai, Floataway Cafe, Rathbun's, Taka, La Grotta, Sotto Sotto and Kyma falling in well behind. In my opinion, of the restaurants I've been to it is: First tier: Soto Bachannalia Restaurant Eugene I hope to return to Restaurant Eugene soon.
  11. I seriously doubt that Richard's episode of ICA will ever air since he is no longer at the helm of ONE. I could be wrong though. That entire episode was filmed around the chef of One Midtown Kitchen, not the former chef of OMK, now cooking in Miami. Too bad because I figure he wiped the floor with his opponent. ← In the words of Lee Corso, not so fast my friend! The Blais episode (vs. Batali) premeries this Sunday. Batali is pretty formidable, so I don't know if he'll wipe the floor with him, but I hope Blais represents our city well, even if he's not here any more. It reflects well on our city if he does well as though he is a great chef, he is just one of several in that tier of chefs in Atlanta.
  12. Voodoo


    I can give you several reasons to eat there. First, it's the flagship restaurant for Bob Amick who has had several wildly popular restaurants pop up in Atlanta over the past few years. Knowing that this was his biggest project to date should be somewhat resassuring since his last two restaurants are well regarded. Another reason to go there is that he went out and got a big time chef. Amick's previous restaurants had a reputation of putting style first and substance second, but that changed when One.Midtown.Kitchen brought Richard Blais aboard and transformed the restaurant from a trendy restaurant to a magnet for foodies. He then went out and got a chef who previously served as Executive Chef at Le Cirque in Las Vegas, where he garnered the restaurant a AAA 5 diamond rating. Before that he worked at La Masionette (Mobil 5 star) and Daniel, among others. His pedigree is not in question in the slightest. That he was chosen over Blais, whose skill was a known known ( ) speaks to how well regarded Jeremy Lieb is. Now for the bad news. I knew going in that most restaurants struggle early on in their lives, and this was no different. I am no food expert, so I'm not going to try to break down everything, but I will say that I was disappointed. The decor and atmosphere are very nice. Everything is very white and modern with some brightly colored accents and a giant bonzai looking tree. I liked it. It was certainly more modern than I and most Atlantans are used to. One flaw was apparent right away when the greeter walked us upstairs and all the way across the restaurant to get to the podium where the waiter took us to the table. That's not going to work. For one, it leaves the podium at the entrance unmanned for quite a bit of time. For two, we had to walk past several members of the wait staff as they were trying to rush out to the tables. They need to move the podium in the restaurant closer to the staircase to alleviate this problem. The service was good, but nothing memorable. I am probably going to butcher the descriptions, but they started us off with an amuse bouche - some liver pate and toasted bread. I don't care for pate, so I didn't like it. They also brought out a couple of small flutes of champagne, which was pretty good. As far as food goes, I'll say that the main course selections are much plainer than I expected from a big time chef, but it's about execution not selection. That said, I think the execution was off. For apps, I ordered the soft potato gnocchi with poached quail eggs while my dining partner ordered the lump crab duo. I NEVER use salt, but I felt compelled to with my dish. It was either missing it entirely or something else was. It was plenty rich and savory, but it lacked much flavor. My friend commented that one of his two crab dishes also lacked "punch." The quality of the ingredients was great, but the taste was not there. On to mains, we both ordered fish, which was probably not the best choice at a French restaurant. I got the sea bass with shellfish mousse and beef jus. My partner got the snapper with crisp potato shell. The sea bass was pretty good. The beef jus was tasty, but I can't say I was crazy about the mixing of fish with beef. It overwhelmed the taste of the fish, in my opinion. My dining mate complained that the potato shell made it difficult to cut the fish without separating the approriate amount of flesh away, indicating that they may have missed on the consistency they were looking for. The dessert menu was interesting, and I liked my dessert but it was nothing spectacular. It's hard to mess up chocolate, I think. I got an El Diablo off the cocktail menu. It was great, but I am even less knowledgeable about cocktails than I am about food. All in all, I think Trois has a ways to go before sniffing the other top Atlanta restaurants it aspires to compete against. I don't think it was even close to as good as the tasting menu I had at One.Midtown.Kitchen, and it ended up being the same price. It was pretty good, but I expect better than pretty good for $50. There are many better places in town at that price point. I won't be going back until I start hearing more favorable reviews. I expect that day will come, though, as Lieb is a highly decorated chef. I suspect that most of what I experienced was just a restaurant going through some early growing pains. If you are looking for good, new restaurants that you have not been to, you may want to try Restaurant Eugene. I haven't been yet (that will change next Friday) but it is supposed to be great.
  13. Voodoo


    Thanks for that, Nathan. I don't ordinarily order drinks with my meals, but I will this time. I'm glad you posted it when you did...dinner reservations in 4 hours!
  14. I never got the impression that EatZi's was overstaffed. The staff that I saw at the counters (sandwiches, hot station and desserts) that I went to all seemed to be busy. I just think their prices were too low. There were things in there that I could get for MUCH cheaper elsewhere (creme fraiche, for example, was exactly double what I'd pay at Dekalb Farmer's Market), but some of their prepared food was a steal. The striatta sandwiches lasted two days, as did some of the hot station combos like meatloaf or family chicken combos. At a place that high end, getting two meals worth for around $10 is too cheap. They could have charged more.
  15. I think Alon's is the closest thing to EatZi's. Whole Foods has prepared foods, sure, but it's a grocery store. Alon's is like a small, European version of EatZi's. No grill station or pasta station, but their ingredients, prepared food and desserts are at least comparable to EatZi's, if not better. Their bakery is definitely better.
  16. EatZi's closing makes me sick. I went there about 10 days ago and everything seemed mostly normal. Well, except for the fact that the dessert area was nearly empty. I was disappointed to hear how little notice they gave their employees upon closing.
  17. Here's your answer about the Ocean View, I think.
  18. Voodoo


    Come on, Atlantans! As the biggest city and dining destination in the South, we should be dominating the Southeast forum with our threads! Let's start with Trois. Opening today (I think), I'd like to see some feedback on what everyone thinks. The website just went live here. Looks cool. My reservations are in for next Monday. With a big time chef in a big time location with big time restauranteur backing it, let's see if Trois lives up to the hype and can compete with the Seegers and Bacchanalias of the world.
  19. Dang, why does the one Trader Joe's inside the perimeter have the latest opening date? Trader Joe's is going to save me a whole bunch of time when it finally opens. I will still do fortnightly grocery shopping at Dekalb Farmer's Market, but I often need little things between trips and I either end up going without or buying lower quality stuff at Publix because DFM is a bit of a trek.
  20. Last I heard, Trois was slated to open on November 6th. As far as Atlanta opening up more high end restaurants, I don't know if the city is ready for that yet. Blais, Soto and almost Seeger moving out of the city have proven that Atlanta does not have enough foodies to support a whole lot of world class restaurants. Perhaps as the population inside the city limits continues to grow, so to will the high end food market, but right now, it's still too long of a drive for many Atlantans to come down during the week for fine dining. Besides, Trois should fill at least part of the void left by Soto and Blais while chefs like Rathbun and Hopkins continue to hone their culinary skills and build their national reputations.
  21. Atlanta Grill and City Grill are both great suggestions. Unfortunately, that's nearly the end of the list of quality, high end restaurants in this area (I'm sitting two blocks from the Ritz at work, at the moment). If you want to walk somewhere good, those are pretty much your only two options. Les Fleurs de Lis may be worth trying if you want to keep some money in your pocket. I've only been for lunch, but it was good. Nice, cozy little atmosphere but not on the level of the Atlanta or City Grills. If you are up for a short drive, Rathbun's is close to downtown. Excellent. Not the quietest place in the world, but not loud either. Midtown is really closer than most people think at a mere 3 miles away. There are countless options there including Park 75, Nan Thai Fine Dining, Bacchanalia, Food Studio, Ecco and MF Sushibar. Bacchanalia is above your price point ($68 for the four course menu before tax/tip) but is worth every penny, in my opinion. If you still aren't satisfied with the options, you'll have to travel to Buckhead, which again, isn't that far. 15-20 minute drive in non-rush hour.
  22. Has anyone been to Seeger's since the overhaul? How is it?
  23. So we're to assume Hopkins beat out Quantrano, Rathbun and Klaskala? That is very impressive. I know Restaurant Eugene is very highly regarded on this board, but it doesn't get near the publicity of Bacchanalia, Rathbun's or Aria, so for him to win out of that group is a fine achievement and definitely puts his restaurant on the map.
  24. So if Linton Hopkins is going to be on Iron Chef America, I guess we can expect to see him on television in about 4 years. I might have missed it, but I don't think Blais' episode, which was talked about here a long time ago now, has been televised yet.
  25. I've never even been to Seeger's, but I know that if every restaurant in Buckhead made the same food as Seeger, Atlanta would have the best dining scene in the country. You don't get to where he's gotten by being uncreative.
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