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Atlanta Restaurant Updates: new places & faces


micropundit
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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.

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Well the suspense is literally building around TROIS, the restaurant that is being counted on to raise the bar for Midtown ,as well as Atlanta, concerning fine dining. As of this weekend ,work on the restaurants 3 levels is picking up steam(although were I a betting man, I would not count on an early October opening.) But the anticipation grows in the city of highways and hip hop: last week the Wall Street Journal placed it on its national hot openings list and one of the ATL’s newest high end glossy magazines September addition carried an in- depth interview with Chef Jeremy Lieb. The interview should wet more than a few appetites regarding the food, menu and the look of Bob Amick’s latest and perhaps greatest creation.

According to the article, Chef Jeremy, an alumnus of such luminaries as France’s COTE D’OR; the late MASIONETTE; and, DANIEL has been working on the French brasserie-style menu since July and he promises to not only feature simple dishes that use only the freshest ingredients but to it change daily. Some of the creations featured in the article include snapper with crispy potato shell; flounder Parisian; and my favorite (from the super pictures), duck with clementines. In addition to creating and executing the menus, he will also have to administer 4-that’s right four, kitchens as well as a large staff. That includes the exclusive bar and lounge on the first level, the main kitchen on the second level and the private dining on the third .The large staff sounds as if service will be a premium at TROIS as well.

The look of TROIS has been created by Atlanta uber interior designer John Oetgen, who specializes in creating luxe environments and North Carolina architect Kenneth Hobgood, who has been highly praised for his facility with glass and steel, his signature materials.According to Bob Amick..”TROIS is going to be very modern and sophisticated but approachable"

Get this: “the restaurant’s design… includes expansive glass walls, a dramatic staircase connecting upstairs bar and the main dining room, pinpoint lighting, suspended artwork, and both aluminum and travertine floors “(!). It sounds to me like the ATL is getting a new design standard bearer in the heart of Midtown that will have the food and service to match.

Question of the week: What growing Midtown based restaurant group is looking hard for a sous chef for their Midtown flagship?

NEWS and NOTES:

Downtown. Look for MAMA ROSA’S PIZZA and GRILL in the old Micky D’s location on the corner of Central Avenue and MLK Jr.

Castleberry Hill is getting hipper by the day. Check out THE COFFEE LOFT at 322 Peter’s Street opening soon.

LOTTAFRUTTA, a gourmet fruit house and market serving fresh fruit, sandwiches and ice cream smoothies will open soon at 590-A Auburn Avenue.

Midtown. TAMARIND has a new home. In November TAMARIND SPICE MARKET will open in Colony Square, with a Bill Johnson design and valet parking, in the OLA, PERI PERI/ THAT’S A BURGER spot at 14th and Peach.

In the same complex, THAI CHILLI has closed.

MEDITERRANEAN GRILL, a long time Decatur fave, has opened a branch at 985 Monroe.

North Decatur. ST. CHARLES DELI on Briarcliff Road has closed.

Thank you for peeking in and remember patience is the companion of wisdom.

100% right 50% of the time.

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Broke bread with the industry bigfoot last week at POZOLE in Virginia Highlands to catch up on the latest in the dining scene. The “nuevo latino y tequila bar” is only 7 months old but is rounding out as a great little neighborhood spot- a place to hit after work for a drink / bite with friends or by yourself. The restaurant is the brainchild of Jeffery Hill(WISTERA) and Joey Masi, former opening chef at ONE MIDTOWN KITCHEN. Among the items I tried and found to be spot on were the short ribs braised with mole, the lobster tacos and Hank’s rum ice cream.( A word about HANK’S: the Grant Park ice cream shop is the best in town,run , do not walk and get the Butter Pecan.) Service at POZOLE was friendly and prompt, so the next time you are in the ‘hood , check them out.

Let’s see what is on my foodar this week. First, there was a great response to the fundraiser for the wife of Daniel Porubiansky(SEEGER’S), who has been diagnosed with bone cancer. Over $ 150,000 was raised to help meet the family’s medical expenses. Donations can still be made by calling Frances Quatrano at 404-365-0410, extension 22. Thanks to all of you that showed some love.

Second, congratulations are in order for John Kessler, food writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He received an award from the Food Writers Association of America for his series on food in Alabama.

Eddie Valente, long time Buckhead Lifer, has joined THE GRAPE as VP of operations.

And last but not least, BACCHANALIA and THE DINING ROOM at the Ritz Carlton Buckhead were named as two of the top 50 restaurants in America by Gourmet magazine. I know how some people feel about the accuracy/ validity of these best of lists but hey, it is kind of fun when some of your favorites make the list, isn’t it?

Question of the Week: What two Midtown based restaurant groups are joining forces to open a new concept at the never opened WATERHOUSE site at 942 Peachtree Street?

NEWS and NOTES:

Buckhead. CITY DINER on Piedmont Circle has closed.

THE COTTAGE, an Ethiopian restaurant on Piedmont Avenue, has closed.

Inman Park. Got a press release from Kevin Rathbun announcing the opening of KEVIN RATHBUN STEAK, in “late spring 2007.” The 180 seat steakhouse, located at 154 Krog Street , is down the street from his other two restaurants at 112 Krog Street. It will feature an open kitchen, a bar, 2 private dining rooms,and a hard wood ceiling, all designed by Bill Johnson.

Old Fourth Ward. ROMAN LILLY CAFÉ is calling it quits this month after 10 years at 668 Highland Avenue. The Bohemian spot known for dishes like it’s chicken and biscuits may spring up in another location . I will keep you posted.

Thanks for spending some of your time checking us out and remember, happiness is a choice that sometimes requires a little effort.

PS. I will try to get some Bar B Que info soon.

100% right 50% of the time.

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Just when I thought that the local restaurant scene was getting hot with all of the new product coming on line, some new news has changed the calculus in a major way. Coming to the San Francisco of the South in the next few years are some big time properties that are going to take fine dining to a whole new level.

The last few weeks have been filled with announcements of several announcements of major real estate development projects inside Atlanta’s perimeter highway. Most of them involved mixing upscale hotels with luxury condos and “signature” restaurants. And each project seemed intent on outdoing the previously announced one in terms of its bells and whistles. For instance, once downtown’s W Hotel and Residences was announced-with a rumored CRAFTSTEAK restaurant- featuring 76 condos, some of which would cost over $ 1 million, a Kimpton hotel was announced for Midtown with its 38 condos Starting at $1 million.

From Trump Towers to a rumored Ritz Carlton in Midtown, the parade of projects all promised the good life and good eats. My sources tell me that Trump Towers will feature an 8,000 square foot signature restaurant at the corner of 15th and West Peach; Buckhead’ s Mansion on Peachtree will feature two gourmet restaurants, one facing Peachtree Street. The Kimpton project will have a 6,000 square foot spot . And there are more to come( 38 according to the local press). The point is that there will be some new kids on the block soon and they are going to bring some heavy hitters to our fair city, in terms of developers as well as restaurants. It should be very, very interesting to see who comes; who stays; and, who goes. You know that I will be on the case.

The next time you are in Castleberry Hill, the ATL’s gallery and arts district, you might want to check out WASABI SUSHI, WINE and SAKE LOUNGE. Located at 180 Walker Street, at the corner of Walker and Hanes, the newly opened spot with a cool vibe, moderate prices; and free parking, has some potential for not only pre/ post event meals but lunch as well. Service: buffed but not yet polished.

Question of the week: Which property of a nationally recognized Atlanta intown impresario has already gone through a “menu restructuring” and has seen its around the block lines dwindle significantly?

NEWS and NOTES:

Atlantic Station. The first restaurant tenant to sign on to locate in the intown hotspot, CLADDAGH’S IRISH PUB, has dropped out of their proposed 8,000 square foot, two level space without ever moving a brick or a stick. Plans are currently under way to replace the chain with a local operator.

Taste of Atlanta will return to Atlantic Station on October 14-15th. For more information, visit www.tasteofatlanta.net.

Downtown. The Atlanta Hawks have announced plans to place two new restaurants in their nest, Phillips Arena. The HANG TIME LOUNGE will become a full time,year around restaurant, operated by a local chain, with an entrance on Andrew Young International Blvd. THE HEADLINE GRILL will become an upscale, sit down restaurant. (Maybe the birds will play better with the addition of a better class of food in the house. IJS)

East Atlanta. There are rumors-and a sign on a building- that VICKERY’s will open its third restaurant in the ultra urban chic Glenwood Park. Folks if you have not been to Glenwood Park yet you owe it to yourself to check it out, if you are into urban chic it is the best.

Midtown. Carmen Capello, late of M!X, will be top toque at SWEET LOWDOWN, the resto going into the WATERHOUSE space at 942 Peachtree Street. The menu will feature Southern cuisine with twists of Asian, French and Italian. The scheduled opening is November 15th.

Poncy Highlands. PURA VIDA has been named as one of most innovative regional restaurants by Sante, the magazine for restaurant professionals.

West Midtown. SIX FEET UNDER, the four year old Grant Park fishhouse located across from Oakland cemetery, is opening a second location at 685 11th Street, between Howell Mill Road and Northside Drive. The 5,000 square foot location is scheduled to open next spring and promises great panoramic views of the downtown, Midtown and Buckhead skylines.

Thanks much for dropping by and remember , hold on to a true friend with both hands.

100% right 50% of the time.

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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.

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.

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 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.

His opponent was, if memory serves, Mario Batali .. as for the airing of that episode, I will email Richard Blais today and see what the current status of that episode is ... his creativity, now on display at Bartong, has probably remained virtually intact, despite his venue of the moment ...

But, in the meantime, there comes this bit of local ICA news:

what's happening chef-wise ...

sending ballots to culinary experts and esteemed food critics throughout the city of Atlanta for their top three chef nominations. The nominations were then gathered, verified and tallied to unveil the city's top 4 competing chefs. Atlanta nominees Gerry Klaskala of Aria, Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Euguene, Annie Quatrano of Bacchanalia and Kevin Rathbun of Rathbun's will compete locally on August 28th with only one winning the opportunity to head to Kitchen Stadium.
Edited by Gifted Gourmet (log)

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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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.

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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.

There was a writeup in the ajc a while back about the "competition"...

http://www.ajc.com/search/content/living/f.../05/090706.html

Over on Atlantacuisine.com Restaurant Eugene gets more hurrahs than anywhere else in town. It is a great balance of ingredients, comfort, service, and art. (and with a more friendly pricetag than places like Bacchanalia or Seegers)

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With all of the news (and requisite wailing, renting of garments, etc) surrounding Michelin Guides San Francisco treats, er… awards. I thought: wonder if Atlanta will ever be deemed Michelin worthy ? I mean are we really, really ready for the big time?

After all we do have 2 Mobile 5 star restaurants here and several James Beard award winners as well. But the press accounts from the left coast indicate that Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles are the likely candidates of the near future for the European standard for culinary excellence that is now raising expectations and blood pressure here in America.

But just suppose (moving into the subjunctive tense) that the French tire folks were to come to the ATL, with whom and where would they find favor? My hierarchy of local restaurants goes like this: SEEGER’S and THE DINING ROOM at the Ritz Carlton Buckhead are the supernova; the novas are BACCHANALIA, JOEL’S, ARIA, and WOODFIRE GRILL. The stars are RATHBUN’S, RESTAURANT EUGENE, and, KYMA.I would love to get other opinions on whether or not Michelin’s ratings are important to a community and its restaurants? So, if the Michelin guide did come to Atlanta, who would rate a star/ stars?

Well DiRoNA (Distinguished Restaurants of North America) must think we are important, they are holding their 16th annual Awards and Education conference h at the Ritz Carlton Buckhead ,October 22-24.Visit www.dirona.org for further details.

Question of the week: What noted restaurant architect is also a secret chef in their own right?

NEWS and NOTES:

Alpharetta. Look for a LITTLE AZIO, serving pizza and pasta , to open next year. It will actually be in Crabapple- but who knows where that is?

Buckhead. Sushi lovers rejoice! TAKA has reopened under the original management.

And a little bit country The Buckhead Life Group is opening their second CHOPS LOBSTER BAR in Nashville’s West End by late 2007.

Downtown. LOMBARDI’S, the long time Italian standard in Underground Atlanta,

has changed their name to TRINGALI. Don’t ask

Grant Park. LIVING FOODS DELIGHTS, a vegetarian restaurant, has opened at 465 Boulevard.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read through this and I hope you will give me some feedback. So, until next week, remember walk in the shoes of someone you dislike before you step on their toes.

100% right 50% of the time.

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With all of the news (and requisite wailing, renting of garments, etc) surrounding Michelin Guides San Francisco treats, er… awards. I thought: wonder if Atlanta will ever be deemed Michelin worthy ? I mean are we really, really ready for the big time?

Michelin does have its HQ in Greenville, just 2 hours north of you. Why don't you call then up and ask them?

Edited by The Cynical Chef (log)

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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Just by chance, I talked briefly with Kevin Rathbun last week about his new restaurant, KEVIN RATHBUN STEAK. He said that it was not going to be a traditional, Kansas City type place but more modern, like BLT STEAK in New York. I mentioned that there were going to be some big name competitors such as CRAFTSTEAK coming into the market and he shrugged them off by saying that he knows the market better than the “out of town guys”. He invited me to check out his new place which is only two blocks from RATHBUN’S and KROG BAR.

Construction has just started but I could see the potential for the space, which is located in a renovated warehouse, to become a destination spot. And not just for the residents of tony Inman Park. I have to hand to the guy; he knows the local market and gives us what we want with style, service and of course, good food.

Speaking of the local market, Besha Rodell did an excellent cover story in last weeks Creative Loafing-a local alt weekly- concerning Atlanta’s Slow Food movement. Slow Food is a term that refers to the practice of eating locally, of slowing down, of preserving local cuisines and artisan food producers. She did an excellent job of highlighting some of the key players that are brining these practices to the local market. Please check it out.

.

Question of the week: What Buckhead Life restaurant has lost its top toque and

is looking for a replacement to “ take (it) in a new direction”?

NEWS and NOTES:

Alpharetta. Look for a swank THE VILLA STEAKHOUSE, featuring a 2,5000 sq foot dining room and 4 waterfalls, to open this month at 11605 Jones Bridge Road.

Buckhead. THE BLUE ROOM, a jazz lounge and bar in the Peachtree Battle shopping center, has closed.

SUSHI ROCK CAFÉ, one of the first sushi spots in the ATL, has closed to make way for a condo project on Roswell Road.

Downtown. PEARL , an expansion of BALTIMORE CRAB and SEAFOOD , will open this month. The 1,000 square foot space was designed by Michael Hibachy(COMPOUND) and will feature a slick chocolate, blue and white color palate and seat 50 in the dining area and another 25 on the patio , in addition to a full bar. The menu will include lobster, oysters and grilled rib eye steak. Lunch prices will range from $ 6.99-14.99. Dinner prices are from $14.99-29.99. Castleberry Hill rocks!

Midtown. Flash: A reliable source told me that Tom Harvey, formerly of NAVA, will be the new top toque at ONE MIDTOWN KITCHEN. Congrats to Tom and good luck.

Esquire magazine has named two Midtown Atlanta restaurants, ECCO and REPAST as “Best New Restaurants of 2006”.

Well thank you for looking in and checking us out and remember, don’t wait for the light to appear at the end of the tunnel, stride down there and light it yourself.

Edited by micropundit (log)

100% right 50% of the time.

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Attention Atlanta foodies, here are some ideas that I would like to see here in Atlanta:

An Annie Quatrano, Frank Stitt collaboration; an upscale Italian restaurant on the order of say,IL MULINO; a swank supper club on the order of London’s MILK and HONEY; and ,last but not least , a LE CIRQUE type of joint.

Why you ask? Well, it seems as if Atlanta has lost some its national luster. Once,pre 1996, Atlanta was lauded by the food media and others as the best dining city in the “New South”. Almost every top ten listing of restaurants had at least two Atlanta spots on their list. Now, one is hard pressed to find media recognition for any Atlanta restaurant, with the only the usual suspects garning any type of ink. For instance, Gayot.com only has ATL one restaurant in their 2006 Top 40.I was just thinking that maybe if we can get some of the names and/or types that are popular in the food centers, i.e. New York, San Francisco or LA, then we could return to our pre-Olympic days rankings. Or not.

Question of the Week? What is the new opening date for TROIS? (It has been changed again)

NEWS and NOTES:

Buckhead. AU PIED de COHEN has a new chef; Jerome Grilhot has been promoted to top toque.

Philippe Buttin, the long time Sommelier and wine director, has left JOEL and will join NYC‘s LE BERNADIN. Wow, now that is what I call a career move.

SEEGERS was named one of Gayot.com’s 40 best American restaurants for 2006.

Downtown. Look for METRO CAFÉ DINER, a 24 hour spot with a full bar, to replace the former MICK’S at Peachtree Center.

Midtown. Fans of Drew Van Levan(SPICE,IRIS), and you know who you are, can rejoice: he will be the top toque at SAGA, to open soon at 1100 Crescent Avenue. SAGA stands for South African Georgia and will serve South African food with a southern America twist.

Roswell. VAN GOGH’S has closed but will reopen as BISTRO VG on Nov 4th, still owned by the same owners. It will be repositioned featuring “innovative French bistro fare".

Thanks for visiting with me and remember when the tide is against you, the tide must always turn.

100% right 50% of the time.

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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.

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As a long-time (almost 20 years) Atlantan (now elsewhere), I'm wondering if there's any indication of progress in solving Atlanta's "downtown dilemma"...IOW, the impossibility of getting around it without a car, and how this frustrates any easy chance of achieving critical mass in terms of building an independent, vibrant, and vital urban center.

Maybe this is off-topic, since I think the answer probably has something to do with MARTA and crime...but I think it's the fundamental obstacle to Atlanta's obtaining a "real downtown" (you know what I mean) and the culinary options that seem to go along with that.

Anyway, if anyone has any links or pointers to recent analyses of the situation, I'd be interested.

thanks,

mark

ETA: Oops, somehow I missed the 2nd page of this topic. There is obviously progress afoot...but I'll leave my original post intact JIC anyone else wants to chime in.

Edited by markemorse (log)
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While enjoying this past weekend’s weather-quite possibly the last “good” weather for a while- I noticed that Atlanta’s landscape is changing quite a bit, especially the built environment, as the planners say. If you use restaurants as a metaphor, and I shall, then the physical, cultural and socio-economic changes that are occurring take on some sort of context i.e., the city is becoming more attractive for residents and visitors.

Neighborhoods from East Atlanta to Castleberry Hill and several points in between are taking on new looks; residents; and, new restaurants in rapid order. Most are of the small, chef driven variety but there are chains-albeit small, local ones- numbered among the newly minted eateries. And there are more on the way. Aspiring entrepreneurs, familiar names and out of town operators are all seeking the proverbial gold in these here to fore undesirable and in many case, non existent neighborhoods. Warehouses; condo towers and former restaurant locations all are part of this new urban equation being formulated here in the ATL.

Now this is not to totally discount the luxe lounges coming on line. TROIS and DOLCE will soon open their highly anticipated doors. However, there is a new and fascinating culinary energy coming from the neighborhoods that bears further watching. And in keeping with my fervent desire to make this blog the vade mecum for Atlanta foodies, I will note some of the new locations below.

Question of the Week: What restaurant group that has made its bones so to speak by developing exciting and good neighborhood restaurants is looking for top toque for yet another of its flagship restaurants?

NEWS and NOTES:

Downtown. Look for RARE, “serving soul food with a fine dining twist”, in the Piedmont Avenue location that has seen a Bar Be Que joint among others not succeed. The owners are the same folks that operate the HARLEM BAR on Edgewood Avenue.

Midtown. The former COMMUNE/SAMPAN spot will re-open this spring as JCT KITCHEN and BAR.

Old Fourth Ward. The Bob Amick and Scott Serpas collaboration on Highland Avenue will be a Cajun resto named PARISH(as in the Louisiana governing unit analogous to our counties). It will be across the street from SOTTO SOTTO.

Speaking of SOTTO SOTTO, it will move one block west into a bigger space and be re-named, SOTTO SOTTO NUOVO. The current location will be converted to a private event space named, SOTTO SOTTO VECCHO.

And last,The ROMAN LILLY space on Highland Avenue will become home to a Thai small plate resto.

Poncey Highlands. Award winning PURA VIDA Chef Hector Santiago is going upscale with his new resto, BODEGA GASTRONOMIA. It will be located next its sibling in the same building.

Thanks for dropping by, I hope you will keep checking us out and remember, whoever envies another admits their own inferiority.

Edited by micropundit (log)

100% right 50% of the time.

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Got a chance to peruse the greatly anticipated and long awaited TROIS this past weekend during a benefit for the Atlanta Symphony and here are some first impressions: In a word, TROIS has panache.

The architectural elements are the initial point of reference. The style is modern but as one of the guests remarked to me ”you don’t feel like you are on a spaceship”. There are few hard edges or straight lines; curves and rounded corners predominate. The colors are subdued with an occasional burst of red and the high ceilings in the main dining area give the space some drama.

The materials, the marble, the leathers etc., are all high end. (Note to Bob; the marble stairs are tres slippery) The craftsmanship is excellent and the furniture and fixtures are top of the line, especially in the bar. The use of light, both natural and artificial, is one of TROIS strengths. The floors to ceiling windows provide a great deal of visual stimulation and the pin lighting augments the effect extremely well.

The space is quite different from any restaurant in Atlanta in both form and function. Spread out over 3 levels with 3 distinct functions, TROIS is composed of : the Bar, think London private club in Notting Hill.(check out the lighting on the floor); the restaurant itself is surprisingly petite but offers a grand open kitchen from which Chef Jeremy Leib will conduct the concerto that will be the dining experience at TROIS (Note to Bob: the art on the poles is a discordant note; why not try them on the walls in the staircases?) ;and, above TROIS, which will be ,IMHO, one of the hottest event spaces in town .

The food? Well this was a special event and while food flowed copiously, I think I want to sit down and dine.( the lobster corn dogs will definitely be on my list) I spoke briefly with Chef Jeremy and he said that the next week or so until the official opening will be spent on staff training. Now that was music to my ears because if there is anything that can and will kill a restaurant’s buzz better that anything you can buy in a drugstore, it is service and more precisely, the lack thereof.

TROIS is not DANIEL or LE CIRQUE; however it will be a place that you could take guests from Lilburn or London and they would be very comfortable. I am sure that with all of the thought and money that went into this project that the end product will provide some swagger and verve to Atlanta’s dining scene for some time.

Question of the Week: What the heck is going on at a certain Midtown hotspot with all the rumors of financial and staff issues?

NEWS and NOTES:

Buckhead. Congratulations to THE DINING ROOM at the Ritz Carlton Buckhead and SEEGERS for retaining the coveted AAA 5 Diamond status for 2007. It marks the 18th consecutive year for THE DINING ROOM and the 6th for SEEGERS.BTW, Atlanta had 15 4 Diamond award restaurants, ranking us third among all cities , behind Las Vegas and New York.

Decatur. Look for a TED’S MONTANA GRILL this spring in downtown Decatur.

Midtown. ENO has a new top toque. Chef Jor Rego, formerly of SOTTO SOTTO, has joined the smart restaurant/ wine bar and will be unveiling his new fall menu soon.

SILK is offering the only kaiseki dining in Atlanta. The 7-10 course traditional Japanese feast can be reserved for up to parties of 5 with 10 days advance notice. For further information, call 678-705-8888.

Old Fourth Ward. I checked out TRES P’s CAJUN MARKET CAFÉ ,located at 245 Highland Avenue, last week, on a lark, and was I glad that I did! Loni and Troy, the two New Orleanians who are the owners, bring some serious food and hospitality to the rapidly gentrifying intown community. Located in one of the new condo projects that springing up like kudzu on Highland, the stylish café and retail space is already attracting folks from outside the ‘hood in droves.

Thank you for visiting, and please, if you have any suggestions as to how I can improve this blog let me know and remember, leadership is an opportunity to serve not a trumpet call to self-importance.

100% right 50% of the time.

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This past week saw yet another set of announcements concerning billion dollar real estate developments inside the perimeter that will feature an exciting mix of high end office, residences, retail and restaurants. With the onslaught of developers into the Central City comes a competition for the hearts, minds and wallets of Atlanta. And it appears that restaurants are the trump card.

The Industry Bigfoot has mentioned names such as Lettuce Surprise You, the Chicago dining group, and IL MULINO as evidence that some of the national players are becoming keen on Atlanta. One of the factors upon which some, if not a majority of the restaurateurs, will base their decisions on is money. How much will a developer be willing to fork over in order to have what they hope will be a draw to their development? From hotels-and there are a ton being proposed here- to shopping malls, the ATL is going to see a plethora of new and exciting restaurants gracing the new” urban” Atlanta.

But the flow will be going both ways: at the TROIS party last week I was told that Bob Amick et al are going national in a big way. You heard it first here.

And a big shout out to SEEGERS and the DINING ROOM at the Ritz Carlton, they were awarded the coveted 5 star rating from the Mobile Guide for 2007. Atlanta’s two awardees tied it for second place among American cities in terms of award recipients. BACCHANALIA and PARK 75 were Atlanta’s 4 star awardees.

Question of the Week: What internationally recognized Buckhead restaurant that has had recent financial challenges is for sale and rumored to be in financial straights again?

NEWS and NOTES:

Buckhead. According to the Industry Bigfoot, RUTH’S CHRIS STEAKHOUSE will be moving from its current East Paces Ferry Road location to the Embassy Suites on Peachtree Road.

Also, according to the IB, there will not be a Jean George Vongerichten resto in the Atlanta ST. Regis hotel, as had been rumored.Oh well, it would have been nice.

Decatur.The RED SHOE will open this week in lovely downtown Decatur. The venue, located at 2891 East Ponce de Leon, will feature live jazz along with such Southern faves as chicken, fried shrimp and red beans and rice. Decatur is becoming more and more like the ATL’s Brooklyn.

Inman Park. PACIFIC KITCHEN, which just opened in March of this year, is already on its second chef. Nick Leaky has been hired to replace opening chef Michael De Marco. With its location and setting , this spot should be doing big numbers. IMJS

Midtown.THE SWEET LOWDWN, the new Southern resto opening on the 21st of this month at 942 Peachtree, will feature on the first floor cow hide print carpet, cream colored micro fiber upholstered booths and sixties style steel chairs at the tables. Atlanta interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn -- a fixture on TBS' "Movie and a Makeover" -- is designing the space, which will be a mixture of the old and new South. The management team will include staff who worked at two high-volume and trendy New York restaurants, Sushi Samba and Nobu. Sounds like southern chic to me.

Thank you for checking me out, I enjoyed your comments about last week’s blog. Remember, courage is the ladder upon which the other virtues mount.

100% right 50% of the time.

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In the November 30th edition of Wine Spectator magazine, John Mariani, he whose name is feared/loathed in the culinary universe, opines that Midtown is Atlanta’s new dining mecca . Citing the advent of such new hotspots as ECCO and REPAST, as well as the influx of condos, the arts scene and the location, the exulted one removes the crown from Buckhead’s brow and places it squarely on the new kid. It will become even harder to dispute his claim with the rash of new restaurants scheduled to come on line this spring, further putting Midtown’s cutting edge culinary offerings in the lead in this the Chicago of the South.

However, all of the buzz in midtown is not coming from or is about the new kids on the block. This past week a visit to SPICE put to rest the notion that only the newly minted restaurants are the pace setters. Chef Marvin Woods has , in a very short time, transformed the hip hotspot not only menu wise but has revamped the décor as well. Gone are the former dark, edgy colors; replaced by a lighter, cleaner palate that gives off a whole new vibe: cool but very hot.

Chef Marvin has, in the wording of Signor Mariani, created a new” flavor palette theory” based upon his New York, Charleston, London and Miami experiences. He takes the provender of the “New South” and spices it up with the favors of the low country, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. My lovely dining companion and I were thrilled by dishes such as the Halibut crusted with panko; the Island Chicken salad; and, the ginger sorbet.I was also told that even higher grade fish and meat offerings were in SPICES immediate future. In short and summary, Chef Marvin has given me a reason to go back to SPICE.

A shout out to the folks at DOLCE-more on it next week- they are doing some serious work there.

Question of the Week: What intown resto company has lost the opening chef at their concept restaurant noted for both its architecture and unique treatment of an American favorite?

NEWS and NOTES:

Buckhead. EATZI’S, the gourmet resto, grocery / take out spot has closed. All locations except for the original Dallas, Texas location are shuttered. Word on the street is that labor costs and poor management were significant factors.

Cumberland. STONEY RIVER STEAKS, the local steakhouse chain with several locations outside of Georgia, has opened at 1640 Cumberland blvd, in the newly renovated Cumberland Mall.

Decatur. Mellissa Fedorko, opening chef at PIEBAR, is now top toque at FEAST.

Midtown. Look for RITA’S, a Philadelphia based franchise company, to open one of their signature stores in Midtown this spring. The hot concept sells Italian ices, cream ices, gelati and frozen custard.

Thanks for checking me out and I hope you and your loved ones have a blessed and safe Thanksgiving.

100% right 50% of the time.

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Question of the Week: What intown resto company has lost the opening chef at their concept restaurant noted for both its architecture and unique treatment of an American favorite?

Decatur. Mellissa Fedorko, opening chef at PIEBAR, is now top toque at FEAST.

The second quote answers the first.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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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.

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Buckhead. EATZI’S, the gourmet resto, grocery / take out spot has closed. All locations except for the original Dallas, Texas location are shuttered. Word on the street is that labor costs and poor management were significant factors.

:sad::angry:

I was planning to visit EATZI's when I visit in December. That is really a shame.

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Relax .. at least we now have our Atlanta Trader Joe's to look forward to .. they have opened two stores already with more to come ... not the same, I realize but better than what we had to choose from before ...

Eatzi's closing was a big surprise, it seems, and I thought their bakery was terrific!

AJC information coming in ... :shock: looks like Whole Foods and Fresh Market aim to take up the slack created in this gourmet vacuum ...

Edited by Gifted Gourmet (log)

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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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.

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