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Atlanta Restaurant Updates: new places & faces


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The next “latest trend” that will grace our fair city could be verrines. Say that you have never heard of them? Well that is why your faithful scribe is here : to educate and enlighten you my fellow gourmands..

Verrines-pronounced like terrines- are, as one writer described them, “layered luxury in a glass”. The term, which literally means “protected glass” in French, describes the latest trend sweeping French food circles. In short and summary, verrines are presentations of various textures, flavors, colors and temperatures artfully composed in a glass. They may be amuses; appetizers; or dessert. But the key is the arrangement of ingredients that produces a sensational, sensual taste experience. In France entire cookbooks have been devoted to the art of composing verrines and they are on the menus of all the chic patisseries.

The reason that I am mentioning this trend is to (hopefully) prepare you for the opening The FRENCH AMERICAN BRASSERIE(FAB). I had a chance to peek in on the successor to BRASSERIE Le COZE last week and it looks as if this is going to be a trend setter in design, focus and I am betting, food. The design is outstanding:A sweeping glass entry way that leads to 4 luxe levels laid out like an upscale Parisian Gare on the interior and the exterior signage is an attention getter in and of itself. In a phrase, FAB is layered luxury in glass.

Not only will downtown’s dining scene benefit from this former Buckhead favorite but FAB will retain if not expand the national acclaim of its predecessor. And with the addition of a few trend setting items such as verrines, the inevitability of FAB’s success is enhanced greatly. So if tres chic is what you seek, 30 Allen

Plaza will be the place.

Question of the Week: What popular Morningside gelateria appears to be more than “closed for the season”?

NEWS and NOTES:(From my keyboard to your screen)

And a tip of the toque goes out to ANN’S SNACK SHOP. The Wall Street Journal’s veteran food writer, Raymond Sokolov, who traveled throughout the country in search of the USA’s best burger, pronounced owner Ann Price’s “Ghetto Burger” the number one burger in the USA .He described it a “masterpiece” and “the next level of burgerhood.” Our town’s entry beat out such formidable contenders as LA’s In-N-Out and New York’s DB BISTRO MODERN’s $ 32 foie gras stuffed burger.

Congratulations are in order as well for former Creative Loafing food writer Bill Addison. After a short stint in San Francisco, he has been named the food critic for the Dallas Morning News.

Buckhead. Lost amidst all the excitement and controversy surrounding the announcement of the Buckhead Avenues mega development was the statement by the developers that they where going to include the first ELTON JOHN PIANO BAR as one of their upscale tenants. If true, what an interesting place to see and be seen it will be.

Look for GRILL VENTURES to open behind the new TACO MAC in the expanding Lindbergh City Center.

Emory. THE RUSTIC GOURMET has lost its lease and is shuttering. Rumor has it that a fast casual Italian spot may appear soon.

Midtown. Scott Black, former GM of BONES, and some partners are looking to open a spot called DOGWOODS near the Fox Theater this fall.

Old Fourth Ward. P’CHEEN’S has almost doubled its space and added a 30 foot wall for a rotating art exhibit area, a sign of the growth and vitality of intown dining done right.

West Midtown. STAR PROVISIONS is nearly finished with their planned Charcuterie and curing room . It was featured in John Kessler’s recent piece on the rise of the preparation, manufacture and demand for Italian style cured meats locally. I have been inside the facility and we are in for a treat.

Thank you for dropping by and remember that kind words don’t cost much but they can accomplish a great deal. PS you guys have nailed the question of the week two weeks straight –you are good!

100% right 50% of the time.

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The next “latest trend” that will grace our fair city could be verrines. Say that you have never heard of them? Well that is why your faithful scribe is here : to educate and enlighten you my fellow gourmands..

Verrines-pronounced like terrines- are, as one writer described them, “layered luxury in a glass”. The term, which literally means “protected glass” in French, describes the latest trend sweeping French food circles. In short and summary, verrines are presentations of various textures, flavors, colors and temperatures artfully composed in a glass. They may be amuses; appetizers; or dessert. But the key is the arrangement of ingredients that produces a sensational, sensual taste experience.  In France entire cookbooks have been devoted to the art of composing verrines and they are on the menus of all the chic patisseries.

Funny that you should mention this because there is actually a

current discussion on verrines here on eGullet as you speak, micropundit! :laugh:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I have been informned by the managers of RADIAL that news of their demise is greatly exaggerated. The Chandler Park restaurant is expanding and doing well. Sorry about the error.

micropundit - Thank you for your postings. Perhaps a slight highjacking here, but can you help a guy out? I'll be in Atlanta for a weekend next month and I have a gaping hole in my Sunday lunchness.I had planned on trying Harold's BBQ but, alas, they are closed on Sunday. I'll be staying in Buckhead and will have a car and love to drive. I'm looking for a comfortable place where I can relax for an hour and eat good food. Any suggestions?Thanks. And sorry if stole the thread.Chow :smile:

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The local paper of general circulation has published its Spring Dining Guide and it represents a very good snapshot of what it(read food critic) considers Atlanta’s top 10 restaurants; a celebration of Southern cuisine ; the city’s best players in that field; and, a peek at some of the coming attractions for the dining scene.

All in all, the guide is a tasty morsel but there were a few clunkers. A top 10 list that doesn’t include RESTAURANT EUGENE is probably going to stir up a few folks but having newcomer ECCO in its place … I don’t know about that one. While the layout and cover were tight, as was the copy, there were some typos and placing JCT KITCHEN in Buckhead in the upscale southern cuisine section seemed to be something that should have been caught before the guide went to print.

There were some juicy tidbits sprinkled throughout that spiced up the narrative like the fact that star sommelier Chantelle Grilhot has left the THE DINING ROOM at the Ritz Carlton. I had not heard that; my understanding is that she is studying for her Master Sommelier exam BUT when she does get that prize she is on her way to bigger and better. (Can you say New York)

Last, but not least and this personal pet peeve: the Guides should be given more real estate and the paper quality must be on a par with the content-first class. This is a publication that could and should serve as a stand alone guide for tourists and conventioneers but in its current format doesn’t reflect Atlanta at its best. I hope that in the future that the powers that be recognize the value add that these guides provide and act accordingly. In the mean time let’s hope that contents continue to be spot on and reflective of the serious dining scene that Atlanta represents.

Question of the Week: What intown sports grill may not be making its numbers after a hot start in this market?

NEWS and NOTES (From my keyboard to your screen):

Buckhead. La MADELEINE, the long time West Paces Ferry favorite, has given up the ghost.

ALI-OLI, a hidden jewel, has a new owner because founder Ophelia

Santos, has sold her last restaurant to Andreous Papandreau. No immediate changes are planned.

Castleberry Hill. Look for NOIR, a sexy lounge cum restaurant to open this spring at 264 Peter Street.

College Park. Look for PHILLIPS SEAFOOD, a Baltimore Washington DC fave , to open at the airport this summer.

Downtown. According to the Spring Dining Guide, ROOM is now the name of the Bob Amick resto opening late this summer at the Twelve Centennial Park hotel. Chef Nick Oltarsh of LOBBY is creating a “contemporary steakhouse menu with prime meats and fish, skewered goodies cooked in a tandoori oven and some sushi.” So it’s LOBBY steak and sushi.

Midtown. TROIS makes the March issue of Gourmet Magazines national restaurant round up of hot places.

FUNE SUSHI BAR, in the Spire condo tower, has opened and brought a kaiten place - Tokyo style conveyor belt sushi service- to the ATL.

Thank you for your kind indulgence and remember that when we do good it frees the heart and opens us up to the wellspring of happiness.

100% right 50% of the time.

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On the advice of The Sage, I checked out one of Atlanta’s newest and coolest restaurants last week and had had a blast.

The back story is that the occasion was a special personal celebration and

I was going be hanging with the classy lady. So I had to have a special place

for a special lady. And that place was RARE. Hip, sexy with great food to

boot, our take on this in town hot spot was that it has an east village vibe.

The lobster mac ; shrimp and hoppin’ john ;and, sweet potatoes were all great.

The music and the movies on the wall were on point also. But it was the service that made our night. So when you are in the mood for fun, food and finesse; RARE is for you.

Question of the Week: What NYC luxury Italian chain is being strongly pursued for a downtown spot?

NEWS and NOTES ( From my keyboard to your screen) :

Congrats to Besha Rodell, Scott Peacock and Arnaud Berthlier for their 2007 James Beard nominations.

Buckead. BURRITO BROTHERS on Piedmont is now a ZESTOS, again.

Castleberry Hill. Look for a 5,000 square foot European bistro from the APRES DIEM folks in a new project slated to open in 2008.

Downtown. NEW ORLEANS, THE PEOPLES RESTAURANT, has opened at 255 Mitchell Street serving lunch and dinner.

East Atlanta. CRAVE, nee IRIS, has closed.

Midtown.GOLDBERG”S BAGEL and DELI is now open in Colony Square.

Thanks for stopping by and remember that to be rich is not the end, but only a

change of worries.

100% right 50% of the time.

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The birth of the cool is not slowing down for intown Atlanta’s dining scene. New faces and new places are the fuel and catalyst for the urban revitalization that is springing up all over town. And with the arrival of all the warm weather, it is time to check it out.

On the Westside there is Toscano and Sons, a hip Italian foods store/ sandwich shop; downtown there is Thrive, an uber cool bar/lounge/ restaurant that is packing in the cool crowd(at least during my visit) ; and, in Midtown Fune Sushi Bar is creating a buzz with its look and revolving sushi bar. People of all kinds are now noshing in places formerly regarded as strictly off limits or in the case of Vino Libro, didn’t even exist. All of these spots as well as many, many more are setting a tone for the coming change in our urban fabric, a change that will bring more and varied dining options set in new and dynamic environments

Speaking of new and dynamic environments had a chance to check out the new menu and new look, via Bill Johnson, of Sala this weekend and was impressed. Chef Jeff Smedstad’s carnitas are the bomb and he is a nice guy as well. And the lime crème brulee will have assaulting your maternal parental unit. Will return and soon.

Question of the Week? What recently returned former in town hot shot chef is assisting an OTP restaurant as their first project?

NEWS and NOTES( From my keyboard to your screen).

Downtown. Lou Spost, executive chef of the Hilton Atlanta, has been named “Chef of the Year” by the United Culinary Chefs Association.

Inman Park. Mind Spaces Tea Bar and Lounge has opened at 312 North Highland. It bills itself as a zen tea space with a koi pond in the back yard.

Midtown. Word on the street is that Richard Ullio-Sotto Sotto- went to Spain in his search for an opening chef for Cuerno, his Spanish spot set to open this summer in the 905 Juniper condos.

Poncy Highland. Mirror of Korea, the long time spot next to the LaFont Theater has closed.

Roswell. Look for BA Ice Cream next to the Swallow in the Hollow this summer.

Thank you much for stopping by and remember some people dream of doing

great things while others stay awake and accomplish them.

100% right 50% of the time.

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The race between the top restaurant groups in town to create the next “it” product has taken on a new dimension: the big 3-Concentrics, Here to Serve and Fifth Group- all have new and better web sites. And with the new announced projects coming on line-TAP, LOLA ,etc, these new web sites signal a renewed battle for the hearts and wallets of Atlanta and its visitors.

The first thing that caught my eye was the use of sharper graphics. All of these companies had been using some out dated technology on their prior sites. They now look as if some major money was spent to upgrade. This is a good thing because (1) they had it to spend and (2) felt it to be necessary to spend. The second thing that caught my eye was how they featured their newest/ future projects. That made me want to learn more about the projects and of course anticipate the project‘s arrival.

For all of the buzz being generated around the respective projects it appears that we may just be seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of exciting new dining spots. Not only are the big 3 riding high but independents and out of town operators are all trying to tap into the major demographics of Atlanta as well. Atlanta’s population and job projections are eye-popping and the income and purchasing power data are not to shabby either. So the guys with the home field advantage so to speak are trying to keep their roll going. And the revamping of their electronic marketing is just the first step. So keep your eyes open for some great new faces and places to come.

Question of the Week: What in town tapas fan favorite may have to move their proposed expansion because of landlord issues?

NEWS and NOTES ( From my keyboard to your screen):

Congratulations to John Kessler on his James Beard nomination in the Newspaper features writing with recipes category.

Congratulations to Atlantan Alton Brown for the Food Network’s Peabody Award for his self produced show “Good Eats”.

Congratulations to chef Linton Hopkins for a fine but unsuccessful effort last evening on Iron Chef America. If the secret ingredient had been chicken ... .

Buckhead. According to Atlanta Magazine’s food critic, POSH may be Atlanta’s first English cuisine restaurant. In contrast to other local critics who have had reservations about the excitement factor of the menu, she found the menu to be a good example of type of cooking befitting Tom Catherall’s heritage. And with London now being recognized as a global dining leader, maybe Tom is charting a course that will attract some of that attention. After all posh is an English term for exclusive.

Downtown. FAB is scheduled to open Thursday, April 12th. The $5 million project will have 70% of its original staff and many of the fixtures from its former site in Buckhead, all in 15,000 square feet.

According to reliable sources, DEL FRISCO’S Steakhouse is high on the list of prospective tenants for at least two major downtown developers.

Midtown. A serious source has informed me that there has been a change in chefs at SWEET LOWDOWN. Film at 11.

Virginia Highland. VINE has new ownership. Entrepreneur John Polasky has purchased the wine focused eatery and has already brought in two new sous chefs to assist executive chef Tammy Harrison.

Thank you for stopping by and remember that every time you avoid doing right you increase your disposition to do wrong.

100% right 50% of the time.

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The recent Iron Chef America contest featuring Atlanta’s Linton Hopkins was the first time that I had seen the show and at the conclusion I thought about how much I enjoyed the spectacle and, more telling, how one of Atlanta’s top chefs is easy to admire but hard to adore.

While I did not disagree with the verdict-Iron Chef Morimoto was declared the victor- many locals did, crying favoritism because two of the judges worked in Japan and one was Japanese. My view was that while Chef Hopkins’ cooking was great, Chef Morimoto exhibited greater creativity in his preparation and presentation. But another factor, at least in my mind, was that in terms of theater, Chef Hopkins did not project the sense of mastery or even conceit that separates the greats from the very goods. In short, he did not look /sound like a champion.

Maybe that is a function of his personality or a function of the Atlanta market. We do have a tendency to value collegiality over competence in culinary affairs (eg.,Messers Seeger and Sotto). But what ever the case, Chef Hopkins did not razz my berry in terms of how he came across on camera and this was a televised contest. Just something for future contestants to ponder- part of the contest is based on perception and being good ain’t good enough, you have got to look good as well.

Question of the Week: What hot NYC chef is taking his long anticipated concept to Buckhead after originally favoring Midtown/downtown locations?

NEWS and NOTES ( From my computer to your screen).

Restaurant design guru Bill Johnston, fresh off his work at the Ritz Carlton Dallas, is now working on a project for the Ritz Carlton Charlotte.

1138 Peachtree. Folks remember that address because it will be the site of one of the most amazing hotels and buildings this city has ever seen and if, as rumored, it is a Mandarin Oriental, look for a true 5 star restaurant there as well.

Castleberry Hill. Check out ZENNUBIAN 7, an Afro-Asian tea room at 163 Peters Street. It features a menu of, gourmet teas, salads and sandwiches along with rice and noodle dishes.

Decatur. 5th EARL MARKET, across from Agnes Scott College, has just opened. It is a sandwich, soup and salad place with some great beer selections as well.

Downtown. According to the Industry Bigfoot, John Metz-AQUA BLUE- is looking for a location for a restaurant/bar near the Georgia Aquarium. He is a major player in the OTP market and the fact that he is now looking to set up shop downtown is huge.

Inman Park. Look for THE ELBERT from Tia Landeau( sister of Jeff Landeau of Metrotainment restaurant group) to open near SOTTO SOTTO this fall.

Midtown. Word on the street is that SPICE is now closed and that the property is now in the hands of Chris”Ludicris” Bridges.

West Midtown. Rumor also has it that the Brickworks development on Marietta street has snagged a 5 SEASONS BREWING to locate next to TOSCANOS and SONS .Look for it to come on line next year.

Thank you for stopping by and checking the column out and remember that patience can be a bitter plant but sometimes it bears sweet fruit.

100% right 50% of the time.

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Been reading for months MP and just realized you never answer your questions of the week!!!  :biggrin:  :laugh:  :wacko:

Noticed that too.

Most I already know, but a few I don't like this weeks.

But I acknowledge when you guys get them right. Seriously , I don't usually follow up because of time constaints but just because it is you guys (and I had a break today), I am following up:the answer is Tom Colicchio and CRAFT going in to The Mansion on Peachtree hotel.

100% right 50% of the time.

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Last week Forbes magazine published an article rating the top 10 restaurant cities in America and guess what city came in #8? Well bingo, you are now a certified savant and soothsayer-but the real deal (aside from my extreme distrust of anything in Forbes-I am a Fortune guy) was that we were ahead of Las Vegas but behind Houston and D.C. Now I am no expert- I just play one on the internet- but it is hard to imagine how they came up with that order.

Although the story had KYMA in Midtown, they did spell our name correctly. And at this stage of the game any publicity that our dining scene gets is a net plus. After all, we have suffered the loss of one of our two Mobil Five Star restaurants and several noted chefs recently. BTW, when are Marvin (Woods) and (Richard) Blais’s new projects coming on line?

So I guess I will just have to count our blessings and strive to keep hope alive that someday, someway Atlanta will receive even better national recognition for our dining scene. Who knows, it may come from a nationally recognized authority on the subject.

Question of the Week: What long time superstar chef, who has made his bones with two eponymous upscale restaurants, (including his current one), is now branching out into opening restaurants in Buckhead luxury retirement homes?

NEWS and NOTES: (From my keyboard to your screen)

Atlantic Station. The Atlanta Wine Festival, held last month at Atlantic Station, raised a record $1.6 million for the High museum. Last year’s total was $1.1 million.

Buckhead. On a less upbeat note, Greg Gammage, long time executive chef at BONES, passed away at age 48 last week. Under his leadership, not only was the Buckhead resto one of “the “spots for the city’s shakers and movers but consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top steakhouses as well. RIP.

JOEL is getting a complete makeover. The French themed brassiere, helmed by Jame Beard award winner Joel Antunes, will be split into an 80 seat bistro and a 100 seat fine dining establishment by the Johnson Studio, the original architects. An early summer completion is anticipated.

Decatur. Finally: Lyn Sawicky’s MEAT SEAFOOD and MORE is scheduled to open this week after some interesting setbacks, she never gave up.

East Atlanta. CENCI, a “graze friendly” vegetarian café has opened at 125 Glenwood Avenue.

Virginia Highland. Chris Reid-MURPHY’s,WOODFIRE GRILL- is the new GM and sommelier at VINE.

Thanks once again for dropping by and remember that sometimes it is better to follow well than to lead indifferently.

100% right 50% of the time.

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My lunch with the Industry Bigfoot at FRENCH AMERICAN BRASSERIE last week convinced me that not only is this place is a star but it is a portend of things to come for downtown.

The food, décor and service all set FAB apart from the madding crowd. There is a balance here: the design is beautiful without being intimidating; the menu reflects the Le BERNADIN DNA both in the execution and style; and the service is experienced and efficient. In contrast to TROIS and JOEL, there is warmth that Frabrice brings to his place that will attract a wide and diverse clientele.

During my visit, the place was poetry in commotion. From my patio vantage point I saw everyone from tourists to business people packing in the place and being served professionally. They had to have done at least two turns on that day alone. With all of the development scheduled for the Allen Plaza area, the future looks promising for a place that combines the best elements of French and American cosmo cuisine in a comfortable setting with gracious service.

Question of the Week: What famed national chain, famous for its upscale casual style and menu, is rumored to be reducing the number of it Atlanta units?

NEWS and NOTES (From my keyboard to your screen).

East Atlanta. Rumor has it that HASS, as in the pear, will be the new na me of the spot that used to be IRIS/CRAVE.

Emory. Look for an expansion of FLOATAWAY CAFÉ by fall at the earliest.

Lindberg Center. Look for MY PANINI, SAXBY’S COFFEE SHOP and SIP, a wine bar, this fall.

Midtown.LOCA L UNA is relocating to the old RED CHAIR space

Look for a RITA’S WATER ICE in Midtown Plaza.

TROIS is the only Atlanta entry on Conde Nast Traveler’s annual hot list. The list is includes restaurants, clubs and spas that had designs, services that “transcended industry standards”.

South Fulton. Hillary White, 103 West, will open a spot called HIL in Serenbe this fall. The South will rise again.

Thanks again for stopping by and think how rarely we weigh o ur neighbor in the same balance in which we weigh ourselves.

100% right 50% of the time.

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East Atlanta. Rumor has it that HASS, as in the pear, will be the new na me of the spot that used to be IRIS/CRAVE.

I'm not positive but I think it's HAAS like the avocado rather than HASS like the pear. I went Saturday night and the food and service were both pretty good. As I understand it, it's the same owners as Crave but they've implemented a new tapas-style menu and minor interior redesign to go with the name change.

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I could use a Sunday late breakfast, early lunch recommendation for Atlanta. Maybe Table 1280 but how is the food since Shaun has moved on?

John Malik

Chef/Owner

33 Liberty Restaurant

Greenville, SC

www.33liberty.com

Customer at the carving station: "Pardon me but is that roast beef rare?"

Apprentice Cook Malik: "No sir! There's plenty more in the kitchen!"

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I like Flying Biscuit a lot for breakfast. For something a little fancier, Murphy's is very good for brunch. Sun in My Belly in Decatur is good as well. All are very different. Flying Biscuit is bohemian. Murphy's is yuppie. Sun in My Belly is ecletic. I hear Babette's Cafe is good, but I've never been.

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I like Flying Biscuit a lot for breakfast.  For something a little fancier, Murphy's is very good for brunch.  Sun in My Belly in Decatur is good as well.  All are very different.  Flying Biscuit is bohemian.  Murphy's is yuppie.  Sun in My Belly is ecletic.  I hear Babette's Cafe is good, but I've never been.

Shaun Doty serves Sunday Brunch at Shaun's Social Club! I'm headed there....

John Malik

Chef/Owner

33 Liberty Restaurant

Greenville, SC

www.33liberty.com

Customer at the carving station: "Pardon me but is that roast beef rare?"

Apprentice Cook Malik: "No sir! There's plenty more in the kitchen!"

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It is received wisdom that a trend that many restaurants are following is to feature smaller plates, chef driven menus, value pricing and a trendy bar. A prime example of this trend is the gastropub:a term coined from the English public house or bar that features good food as well as good brews and beverages. If a recent press release from Bob Amick is any indication, then Atlanta is about to have one of the trendier gastropubs in the country.

TAP, the gastropub slated to open this spring at 1180 Peachtree Street, will be..”a two story space with a patio facing Peachtree that features a simple but eclectic menu”. The name comes from the extensive wine and draft beer selection that will be served along with seasonally driven, innovative comfort food. The kitchen will be headed by Todd Ginsberg who has ALAIN DUCASSE and the DINING ROOM at the Ritz Carlton Buckhead on his impressive bio. He promises to use only the freshest ingredients available and has toured the best gastropubs in London to prepare for this job.

The space was designed by Taylor Dawson and John Otegen(TROIS). The focal point on the first floor will be a large bar with a ceiling created by a 72 barrel glass enclosed vault where beer and wine will be stored and served from. The second floor will feature an open kitchen with counter seating.

When I finished reading the information, I thought that once again there will be a blend of location,14th and Peach; modern design; and a chef with a great pedigree-all of the elements that are increasingly driving the marketplace both here and around the country. I can hardly wait to see how this spot turns out.

Question of the Week : What big time national chain is rumored to be reducing the number of its Atlanta units?

NEWS and NOTES ( From my keyboard to your screen)

Buckhead. Look for a gastropub to open in the space next to RESTAURANT EUGENE operated by one of their staff with the support of Hopkins.

Marietta. Chef David Chang has left TASTY CHINA. Rumor has it that he will take his stellar Sichuan culinary skills to another OTP location.

Midtown. The word on the street is that TACO MAC will take the former location of JOEY’S MEXICAN GRILL and STOOL PIGEONS in the Metropolis condos and open this fall.

According to their liquor license application, TAMARIND SEED , will be the name on the front of the Colony Square location of the former TAMARIND. Guess that means that SPICE MARKET will be one of the restos in the Midtown W hotel, slated to come on line in 2008.

Vinings. Look for C& S OYSTER BAR in the Cobb County ‘hood this summer.

Thank you for stopping by and remember what most people need to learn in life is how to love people and use things, instead of loving things and using people

100% right 50% of the time.

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On Tuesday, May 8th, Atlanta became part of the land of the rising fun with the opening of L A hotspot GEISHA HOUSE in Atlantic Station.

I got a chance to check out this casual chic place whose decor and menu were designed with socialization in mind just before the grand opening and was impressed. The main floor of the two level space features, among other things, a 20 foot long sushi bar light in deep ruby red tones; lush banquettes; and sleek cocktail tables all artfully arranged to create a sociable vibe throughout. A wall of shimmering candles perfectly accents the room that showcases Asian themed art on the remaining walls.

The second level is more”EL-LAY”: the furnishings are mad mod (and fun) and the lighting is more subdued. There is a wrap around balcony that overlooks Atlantic Stations two main drags and is sure to be in great demand in the warm months ahead. Although the final finishing touches were not in place during my visit, it was plain to me that the second level offered a lot of promise for both dining as well as chilling out.

The food: pristine product; the sushi was well sourced and there is wide variety available, including some novelty items like surf and turf. Dishes to try include the miso cod, the eel roll (my fave) and the yuzu tart for dessert. The staff was still going through training so I can’t make that call but they seemed to be eager and willing. Shelby Case is one of the key staffers in the operation who look like they are committed to making the customer experience at GEISHA HOUSE second to none.

So there you have it, the ATL’s newest sushi hotspot is up and running and it looks like it will go the distance.

Question of the Week: What national barbeque chain is closing all 6 of their Atlanta locations as part of a company retreat from the line of business?

NEWS and NOTES (From my keyboard to your screen).

Buckhead. THE LOOP pizza bar has closed.

Decatur.Congrats to WATERSHED’S Scott Peacock on his 2007 James Beard award for best chef of the Southeast. He joins Guenter Seeger, Anne Qutrano, and Joel Antune as an Atlanta awardee of this prestigious honor.

Speaking of WATERSHED, look for a retail location this summer from the artesianal coffee roasting company Bendorf and Bronson, across the street .The store will be designed to look like a wine store and will feature highly trained baristas and specialty drinks. In addition to selling specialty blends.

M idtown. Scott Black, formerly of BONES, is opening a restaurant in the Renoylds condominiums on Peachtree Street.

Richard Blais will be taking over as culinary director of Element on the corner of west peachtree and 11th and relaunching it as Element gastro lounge and food lab.

Grant Park. According to Creative Loafing, the city’s weekly alt newspaper,

HANK’S ICE CREAM is losing its lease this June. (This is not good: where will I fix my butter pecan jones ?)

Marietta. NUCCI’S , a Philadelphia based gelato franchise, has opened at 1050 E. Piedmont at the corner of Roswell Road.

Virginia Highland. FIGO is now open at the former PAD THAI spot.

Thank you for dropping by and remember sometimes adversity reveals genius while prosperity conceals it.

Edited by micropundit (log)

100% right 50% of the time.

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