Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Eating Adventures in Atlanta


jeffj
 Share

Recommended Posts

There are some points worth pondering here.What is Atlanta's culinary status in the grand scheme of things? Yes we have 2 5 star restaurants but one is on the brink and the fate of BLAIS was not a positive.COMMUNE has reportedly closed and many of the new(er) places are Johnson Studio clones.

Is there an Atlanta style;is it cutting edge;and,does anyone really care?

An Atlanta style? As distinct from a New York style or a London style or a Paris style? Because I think it would be really helpful to define just what it is that makes upmarket restaurants in those cities so very obviously wonderful and also so distinct from each other. Assuming they are, in fact, distinct from each other---I've not been able to tell them apart frankly, but then that's probably because I live in Atlanta.

Grand scheme of things? Cutting edge? It's food. Just how deeply can a person care about fancy restaurants?

On the other hand, we can care enough to not settle for crap. Most diners in Atlanta (exactly like most diners in New York and London and Paris) do settle for crap, quite consistently, but there are also people who are interested in great food here and will support local efforts. The fact that one of the 5 star (or whatever) restaurants in Atlanta sits empty is nothing to do with the dining public and everything to do with appallingly poor management (from this diner's point of view). And Blais' demise similarly reflected some very poor upfront decisions (again, my opinion).

I moved to Atlanta in 1985, and things really were pretty desperately bad. Following destro800's logic there's been no point in the last 19 year's changes---we'll never measure up, so why bother?

Can you pee in the ocean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

O-K.I hear you about management issues but let me try this angle:The new Intercontinental Buckhead hotel is rumored to be structured to be equal to or greater than the Ritz Carlton Buckhead in every way including dining;the proposed St.Regis Buckhead is slated to begin construction this fall/soon,with 2 restaurants;can/will Atlanta absorb all of this high-end dining?

Is it a function of market size,sophistication or what?

100% right 50% of the time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The new Intercontinental Buckhead hotel is rumored to be structured to be equal to or greater than the Ritz Carlton Buckhead in every way including dining;the proposed St.Regis Buckhead is slated to begin construction this fall/soon,with 2 restaurants;can/will  Atlanta absorb all of this high-end dining?

Is it a function of market size,sophistication or what?

I rather think that the Intercontinental Hotel, which is being built at a tremendous price, has done a great deal of market research on the demographics and so forth, before investing in this upscale an enterprise.

From a purely personal standpoint and a 27 year resident of Atlanta, I have to agree with therese on how far this city has come foodwise and I contend that :cool: "if they build it, they will come".

Pollyanna of Atlanta

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The new Intercontinental Buckhead ...the proposed St.Regis Buckhead...can/will Atlanta absorb all of this high-end dining?

Oh boy, I hope so. More cool restaurants for me to go to.

Sounds like the Intercontinental and St. Regis will be going very upmarket conventional, and much of their bread and butter business will be expense account dining. So as long as the economy rocks so will they. And local Atlantans will benefit from having just that many more options, helping them to get over their fear of "fancy".

I think there is a certain "critical mass" that you have to reach in terms of population size, density, and demographics, but I also think the issue of critical mass comes into play with the number of restaurants. If there are only a couple of acknowledged great places in town then the dining public will tend to "save" them for special occasions. A larger number of really fine dining restaurants will also mean that they have to compete, not necessarily a bad thing if you're aiming for an overall improved experience.

Seeger's and The Dining Room presently compete directly for my (and my employer's) dining dollar, and The Dining Room wins: I can count on great food (not necessarily absolutely perfect, but pretty close) and great service at The Dining Room, whereas I run the risk of embarrassing important guests if I take them to Seeger's. I really wish Seeger's could come up to the mark, because then The Dining Room would have to compete harder on the food side of things.

Can you pee in the ocean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So what you are saying is that the market and sophistication are here-apparently unbeknowst to the rest of the world

I'm confused. Why the hell would I care what the rest of the world thought? I live here, I eat here, I don't give a rat's ass what the rest of the world has to say about it. If I did I'd go eat in the rest of the world (which I do, but that's beside the point I'm trying to make here).

So what you are saying is that the market and sophistication are here...we just need more/better competition?

I don't think we just need more/better competition, but I also don't think it hurts. I don't think we need just throw up our hands and say "Lawsy lawsy lawsy" and step'n'fetchit on over to the Krispy Kreme because they turned on the HOT DONUTS NOW sign, or eat a yellow dog walking because we don't know any better.

If nobody pushed the envelope, whether here or in New York, we'd still all be eating Beef Wellington and cherries jubilee.

Why are diners in New York any different than diners in Atlanta? Do people just get stupid when they leave Manhattan?

Can you pee in the ocean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think we need just throw up our hands and say "Lawsy lawsy lawsy" and step'n'fetchit on over to the Krispy Kreme because they turned on the HOT DONUTS NOW sign, or eat a yellow dog walking because we don't know any better.

Why are diners in New York any different than diners in Atlanta? Do people just get stupid when they leave Manhattan?

Thanks to you, as always, girlfriend, for expressing some of my innermost thinking in your own inimitable terms!! :biggrin: Bravo for the affirmation!! You done said a mouthful, therese!

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't live in Atlanta. I live in Florida. But I've been traveling to Atlanta for business/pleasure for about 20 years. And I agree with Therese. I don't get "stupid" when I'm in cities other than London or New York - and I don't demand chitlins and greens or Miss Pitty Pat's Porch (or whatever the heck the name of it is - the place across the street from the Peachtree Plaza downtown where I walked in once 20 years ago - never to return again) when I go to Atlanta. I'll buy the best the city has to offer (assuming I don't have to drive 20 miles in rush hour after a few drinks to get it :wink: - which is why I find fine hotel dining rooms agreeable).

I don't know about you guys up north in Atlanta - but I get mighty tired of northern folk thinking that all we have to offer in the south is gussied up BBQ - with an occasional dose of Cuban food. Sometimes - when I hear northern people talking about eating in the south - it reminds me of stories about rich folk slumming. And - on my part - I don't care to eat like that most of the time. Nor do I want to travel over 1000 miles to get a meal that's classier than "grits and grunts". So let's support our local fine dining places - and to heck with what the rest of the world thinks. Robyn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometimes - when I hear northern people talking about eating in the south - it reminds me of stories about rich folk slumming.

Exactly. And the best part is how big-hearted and adventurous the rich folk feel about it: "Why look, honey, they're just like us! And look here at what marvelous things they can do with a chili dog!"

Destro800 did have a good point about using the local vernacular. Atlanta does have some subculture local vernacular, but what many visitors think they should be looking for along these lines is not actually local: we're not on the coast, so unless you're interested in trout or catfish it's not local, and there isn't a big barbecue tradition here either, so don't agonize over finding it. Over on chowhound there's somebody looking for Cajun food in Atlanta for visiting Australians. They have been directed to Pappadeaux, where I'm sure they'll be very happy.

Can you pee in the ocean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Exactly. And the best part is how big-hearted and adventurous the rich folk feel about it: "Why look, honey, they're just like us! And look here at what marvelous things they can do with a chili dog!"

Destro800 did have a good point about using the local vernacular. Atlanta does have some subculture local vernacular, but what many visitors think they should be looking for along these lines is not actually local: we're not on the coast, so unless you're interested in trout or catfish it's not local, and there isn't a big barbecue tradition here either, so don't agonize over finding it. Over on chowhound there's somebody looking for Cajun food in Atlanta for visiting Australians. They have been directed to Pappadeaux, where I'm sure they'll be very happy.

I've spent the last 2 days setting up a new computer - and I'm glad the first message I read here made me laugh (f I run across one more MSFT wizard that acts like a dunce - I think I'll strangle the icon :smile: ).

As for the people in Australia - we have a big country - and we're very far away - so I can excuse them. I'm not so sure I can be as charitable about some of my fellow countrymen. Robyn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I just wanted to follow-up my original post. I received a call this afternoon from the manager at Seeger’s restaurant. She had read my review here on eGullet and wanted to extend an offer to have us return to the restaurant for another meal. She wanted me to know that the service I described was abnormal and is not indicative of what Seeger’s is all about. She also informed me that she passed along my observations and concerns to Chef Seeger.

I appreciate her going to the trouble of tracking me down and giving me a call…it indicates a dedication to service excellence. And as I stated in my original review, service was very warm in nature. Several members of the staff took the time to talk to us about food and restaurants in general. However, I stand by my criticism of some absolutely bizarre service snafus that we witnessed.

Was it just an off night? I’m definitely not one that can make that determination after eating there only once. I’d love to hear from other Seeger’s diners and find out how they felt about their experience.

In any event, I take the time to write these reviews not only for the benefit of prospective patrons but also with a hope that the principals involved might somehow gain some constructive input. It’s good to know that in this case, a mediocre experience may help make the restaurant stronger in the long run.

View more of my food photography from the world's finest restaurants:

FineDiningPhotos.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Was it just an off night? I’m definitely not one that can make that determination after eating there only once. I’d love to hear from other Seeger’s diners and find out how they felt about their experience.

Unfortunately, jeffj, it was not just an off night, but business as usual (in recent memory, anyway) at Seeger's. But it's very good news that the manager contacted you, so perhaps things will improve, and Seeger's will become the very hot ticket that it should be.

Can you pee in the ocean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seeger's has taken a pounding in the national press this year and, with jeffj's comments, maybe just maybe, they are finally getting the message. My concern is that in Atlanta service still plays second fiddle to other factors. Whether it is the almost ubiquitous Johnson Studio design, a Buckhead location, or a nationally recognized "name" chef. Dedicated, professional service is more honored in its breach...

Hopefully, the new wave of small chef owned and operated restaurants will change the current state of affairs. :smile:

100% right 50% of the time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

Soon my husband and I will be celebrating our anniversary and it is to this thread that anyone with a taste for Atlanta fine culinary offerings must invariably turn for sound advice.

So, knowing me as you do, which one ought to win the contest of where GG should dine on this festive occasion? :rolleyes:

I am seriously considering the Dining Room at the Ritz Carleton, Buckhead ... input?

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just wanted to follow-up my original post.  I received a call this afternoon from the manager at Seeger’s restaurant.  She had read my review here on eGullet and wanted to extend an offer to have us return to the restaurant for another meal.  She wanted me to know that the service I described was abnormal and is not indicative of what Seeger’s is all about.  She also informed me that she passed along my observations and concerns to Chef Seeger.

I appreciate her going to the trouble of tracking me down and giving me a call…it indicates a dedication to service excellence.  And as I stated in my original review, service was very warm in nature.  Several members of the staff took the time to talk to us about food and restaurants in general.  However, I stand by my criticism of some absolutely bizarre service snafus that we witnessed.

Was it just an off night?  I’m definitely not one that can make that determination after eating there only once.  I’d love to hear from other Seeger’s diners and find out how they felt about their experience.

In any event, I take the time to write these reviews not only for the benefit of prospective patrons but also with a hope that the principals involved might somehow gain some constructive input.  It’s good to know that in this case, a mediocre experience may help make the restaurant stronger in the long run.

I think that's great she called you, but until I hear that the service and attitude has turned around at Seeger's - they are not getting my hard earned money for a special occassion. I will go to Bacchanalia or the Ritz.

Atlanta has some fantastic restaurants. World Class. Try Rathbun's for something wonderful and modern. Ask Esquire magazine.

It is not necessary to trek to NYC for the best in food. Although, that's fun too.

Patti Davis

www.anatomyofadinnerparty.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks to Gifted Gourmet's post I just found this amazing trip report. Truly superb. 

Exactly why it has been resurrected here at this point in time! It was a fantastic post by jeffj ... and he did a superlative job of the pictures!

And I have to agree with you as well, LoveToEatATL, this town has come a very long way when it comes to fine dining! :wink:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks to Gifted Gourmet's post I just found this amazing trip report. Truly superb. 

All I can add is: You forgot to get a fried pie at the Varsity.  :raz:

the fried pies at chik-fil-a's dwarf house in hapeville trump varsity by a mile.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Soon my husband and I will be celebrating our anniversary and it is to this thread that anyone with a taste for Atlanta fine culinary offerings must invariably turn for sound advice.

So, knowing me as you do, which one ought to win the contest of where GG should dine on this festive occasion? :rolleyes:

I am seriously considering the Dining Room at the Ritz Carleton, Buckhead ... input?

I'm not from Atlanta - and I don't dine there that often. So I can't comment on the full range of restaurants and the changing scene. That said - we had 2 fabulous meals at the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton/Buckhead a year ago August. I'd be glad to fax you a copy of the menu - and I'm sure the restaurant itself will fax you copies of the current menus. Actually - we were supposed to eat at the cafe restaurant the second night - but it was only a bit cheaper than the Dining Room - and the menu was a bore - which is how we wound up eating there twice. Only possible criticism is that the room - while ok - is - to my taste - a bit dated. Robyn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not from Atlanta - and I don't dine there that often.  So I can't comment on the full range of restaurants and the changing scene.  That said - we had 2 fabulous meals at the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton/Buckhead a year ago August. ...Only possible criticism is that the room - while ok - is - to my taste - a bit dated.  Robyn

The Dining Room would also be my first choice for a big anniversary.

The room, despite it's feeling a bit dated, was actually re-done within the last couple of years. But in the Atlanta market the old school approach to a dining room is actually refreshing, as most restaurants have adopted a certain frenetic, one-size-fits-all trendo look (and vibe) that's fine, but a bit tiresome after a while.

Rathbun's, for instance, has nice food, but feels positively chaotic, the result of restaurant's accepting reservations for only a small number of tables, with a consequent crush of the hopeful standing around and staring longingly at those of us who either booked or arrived early. Service similarly chaotic when the pressure builds. Lots of other very modern-looking places to choose from Robyn, so let us know next time you come to town.

Another option for an anniversary dinner would be Restaurant Eugene. Food great, ambience a bit hushed, decor elegant modern.

Can you pee in the ocean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was at the Dining Room in August and had a great meal but I enjoyed Joel more. Anyone been there since all of the flap & lawsuits with the waitstaff?

Several times. Food generally good, but very different style than Menard's at The Dining Room, so apples and oranges insofar as comparison goes---when Antunes was at The Dining Room himself his food was less "bistro", more froufrou.

Service on the "eh" side: on one occasion main course served while I was in the WC, some other glitches that didn't ruin my evenings but also didn't make me feel all warm and cozy about the experience either.

Can you pee in the ocean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Forgot to mention. Of the 2 meals we had at the Dining Room - the first was on Thursday when Menard was in the kitchen. The second was on Friday when he was out of town. And Thursday night was a lot less crowded than Friday. First meal was better than the second. So - if I could arrange it - I'd dine on a week night when Menard was in the kitchen. Robyn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...