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jaypm51

Seeger's (merged)

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We had the pleasure of dining at the newly reopened Seeger's. There are great chefs and there are great restaurants and, unfortunately, one doesn't necessarily imply the other. Seeger's has often been the subject of spirited discussion. Few would deny chef Seeger's greatness as a chef. Many have criticized the restaurant for its attitude, ambience and diffident service; I among them. It seems as though the Chef has not only heard, but acted definitively on the feedback.

Clearly the Chef is intent (intensity is perhaps the one quality that is most indicative of him) on creating the perfect dining experience for his guests. From the moment you arrive at the restaurant to the moment you drive off, everything is orchestrated to insure a sublime evening of fine dining and exquisite attentiveness.

As soon as you enter the parking area you are greeted by a valet who escorts you to the front door of the restaurant and announces you by name to the hostess who is standing outside to greet you. You are then led into the newly decorated lounge where you are seated and offered champagne, wine or a cocktail. The lounge area, facing the bar, is populated by a small number of cozy seating arrangements consisting of love seats and armchairs arranged for comfort and privacy. While you sip, nibble on a delicate "amuse" and relax, menus are delivered for your leisurely perusal. Whenever you are ready you are taken to the dining room and seated at "your" (you get to choose when making your reservation) table.

The room, also newly decorated, seems much larger than before until you notice that there are only half the number of tables previously there. Here again, Chef Seeger demonstrates his out-of-box thinking; halve the capacity of the restaurant and increase the number of staff in order to insure that every detail of your dining experience is attended to, and those details are evident everywhere. The ambience is warm, intimate, graceful and elegant. New linens, silver and table service adorn each table. The china, carefully chosen to accomodate the Chef's unique dishes differ from one area of the restaurant to the next. The usual unusual flower arrangements are everywhere. We were thoroughly overwhelmed even before the first course arrives. We chose to sit at the Chef's Table and sample the Chef's 12 course Menu de Degustation (only available at the Chef's Table).

Chef Guenter Seeger has long had the reputation of being a Chef's chef. His ability to coax maximum flavor from his every ingredient with minimum manipulation is his gift. Therefore, its hard to imagine that the food could have gotten any better than it was, and I'm not certain that it did. It was just purely sublime. I will not describe every dish that we had (though I will list them all) just those that I think are most indicative of Chef Seeger's particular genius.

Grand Degustation Menu

Burrata Cocktail

Marinated Eggplant, Tomato Water, Anchovy Garlic Confit, Burrata (cheese). This dish epitomizes the Chef's absolute control over his ingredients. Every flavor nuance is evident and yet it is impossible to tell where one begins and another ends (we are speaking of garlic, anchovy and eggplant, no shy flavors here). This is perfect harmony until at the very end a, symbol clash, a stunning burst of pure tomato essence. Unbelievable!

Egg

Steamed Farm Egg Custard, Maple Syrup, Shaved Mullet Bottarga. The addition of the bottarga to the Chef's classic egg prepariation was pure inspiration. The interplay of salt and sweet, maple and fish was worked brilliantly.

Sashimi (Two courses)

Loup De Mer

Seasoned with Three Peppers (as in peppercorns), Lime, Tuscan Olive Oil

Abalone on Ice. This was served thinly sliced in the shell with just a hint if citrus. The flavor was pure, clean ocean brine.

Soup

Vichyssoise, Beet Gelee, Select American Caviar. Another dish of remarkable intensity and richness that was studded with whole roast chestnuts. Again, every flavor nuance identifiable but with indistinguishable bounderies.

Oyster

Pemaquid, Cauliflower Mousse, Vegetable Vinaigrette, Spice of the Angels. Three, each served on a tasting spoon. The cauliflower mousse perfectly emphasises the sea-brine flavor of the oyster, leaving the palette clean and sweet on the finish. No "fishiness" whatsoever.

Salad

Mache Salad, Pecan Sauce. Beatifully simple, a great palette cleanser as well.

Turbot

Wild from Brittany, Wrapped in Fig Leaf, Easter Egg Radish, Olive Oil Sauce. Cooked with figs in the fig leaf, the turbot was fish perfection. Light, sweet and cooked to retain all of its natural moistness. If I didn't already, I could love fish because of this dish.

Squab

Baked in Cinnamon Cream, Woodland Gardens Glazed Carrots, Date Chutney, Squab Jus. No adjectives necessary here. The squab was crusted, cooked "a point" and simply the best squab preparation I have ever eaten by a wide margin.

Veal Tower

Four Story Hill Farm Veal Cheek, Sweetbread and Tongue, Butternut Squash Puree and Sauteed Arugula. Again, a beautifully crafted dish, rich and redolent with flavors that flow together on the palette in perfect harmony.

Cheese Degustation

Selection of International Artisan Cheeses. Like everything else in the restaurant, the dozen or so cheeses represented the best of its genre.

Seeger's Chocolate Dream

Vanilla Cappucchino, Chocolate Crisp, Utah Salt.

Peach

From Georgia Mountain, Baked with Grand Marnier, Lemon Verbena Ice Cream.

Both desserts were extraordinary but the peach was as good as it gets. The flavor was just absolute, peach.

The Chef's stated intent of the remake was to create a new standard of dining experience for his customer. Incredible food and service from start to finish with total focus on the guest and every detail atteded to. Atlanta deserves a destination restaurant and with the reopenning of Seeger's I think we have one. If all this sounds as if I'm a fan, I am not. I've been converted. I'm unashamedly a devotee. I think Atlanta finally has a chef run restaurant worth the trip.


Jay

You are what you eat.

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I very much appreciate your "update" on Seeger's! We had a discussion on Seeger's versus Joel here about which had the finest dining experience in the Atlanta area. This newly revitalized Seeger's may have clinched the deal!


Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I traveled to Atlanta(for the first time) last week with only a few days notice and after much perusal of reviews on-line and here on eGullet, I decided that one night I would go to ONE.midtown kitchen and Seeger's the second. (I considered myself lucky to get a 5:30 res at Seeger's on such short notice). I will try to keep this review brief, but would like to mention two things. TFirst, the previous night I had an amazing tasting menu at ONE.midtown and two, this was to be my first time dining alone at such an "upper level" restaurant (not a major factor, but makes one desire to be entertained more by the food than by the company). I think I am capable of giving an unbiased opinion, but felt this should be mentioned for accuracy.

In brief, before disussing the food, I found the restaurant without incident and pulled into the small parking lot in front. There are three spaces with handicapped signs and two without. I pulled into a vacant non-handicapped spot and was then greeted by the hostess. She informed me that this small parking lot was for handicapped only and that I should use the valet. "But where?" She explained it was around the back and she would come down the short garden path to meet me there. Even though there was no sign indicating this was how things worked here, I felt a slight twinge of embarassment and then I proceeded to the valet. Okay, no biggie, water off a duck's back, not gonna ruin my meal.

Okay, so made it inside, was well received, led to sit in the bar where I ordered a glass of champagne. With my champagne I was brought a small plate of ordinary-tasting popcorn and small goat cheese tart. Whooppeee! While one expects attention at such an establishment I couldn't help people were staring at me more often as it is probably unusual to see a 24 year-old (who looks 17) dining at Seeger's alone. Whatever, I'm here primarily to eat some good food.

I should mention that while waiting I overheard the waitstaff speaking to one another quite casually behind some curtains. i.e. "same shit different day." I'm not offended, but would think that at such a restaurant with only 12 tables, they would know when the first one has arrived and is sitting right outside.

Okay, I was seated in the very pretty, dining room at the corner table on the sofa overlooking the rest of the dining room. I was already a bit "worried", but then my waitress/captain/whatever came by and helped my relax while I was waiting for the first course. Her name was Molly. She was the one person I ever got any real personality out of that night. I really tried to get some of the other waiters and sommeliers to let down their guard a bit, not as a trick, just to be more friendly, help teach me a bit more about the cuisine, etc. But, Molly was very nice carrying on some small talk, etc.

First course/Amuse: A nickel-sized sphere of foie gras, coated in a nut (almond?) and served with a little persimmon jelly. Not bad, standard stuff, but got me ready for more, which is its purpose.

second amuse: a creamy celery soup. This was nice. It was more like a small bowl of concentrated butter with a hint of celery. You can't go wrong with the power of butter and/or cream. Very nice to warm me up a bit.

3rd course: Tuna Tartare: Georgia mountain trout, slightly smoked, horseradish cream, select american caviar, beet apple chutney, juniper oil.

very nice presentation, with the round tartare surrounded by the little drops of oil. I don't recall the last time I had trout like this. I'm not sure if it wasn't smoked enough, or trout, in this manner of service, was too oily and fishy tasting for me. (as a note, I love many kinds of sushi) I liked examining the difference between the chutney and caviar when mixed with the trout. Anyway, this was something I was okay with trying, but would not order it off a menu if given a choice. I could have done with half as big of a serving.

4th course: 4 washington sate kumamoto oysters were borought out, each in their individual little dish, atop a jerusalem artichoke mousse, with vegetable vinaigrette and spice of the angels.

I haven't had too many experiences with raw oysters, so this was nice to try them. I liked the artichoke mousse they were on and appreciated their briny flavor. They really speak more for themselves than of Chef Seeger's culinary prowess.

5th course: Maine codfish, sashimi quality, poached in court bullion, root vegetables, horseradish snow

I had been a bit worried and let down until this dish, which had the first flavors I really started to enjoy. The fish was well cooked, but for some reason, I really only started tasting the broth and flavors closer to the inside of the serving. I also failed to taste any horseradish on the foam set atop the fish. I love horseradish and would have loved it giving another angle of flavor to this dish other than a nice cooked piece of fish in a creamy broth.

6th course: a flown-in-today live diver scallop from Mass, grilled, with marinated prune and black truffle from Vancluse.

I enjoyed this reasonably well. Every scallop I have ever had has been a bit soft, not chewy, but soft. This scallop was much more firm and had a much more meaty texture that I found very enjoyable. I liked the prune, but was disappointed at the 2 ultra-mega-thin slices of black truffle.

7th course: Squab from california, baked in cinnamon cream, sausage, giblet confit, glazed carrots, date chutney, carrot cream

By far, this main course, superseded anything else of the night. I wish I could have just had 8 plates of this. The squab breast was amazingly full of flavor. I had never had squab before and thought it would tast gamey, but it was awesome. They used the leg and made sausage that was stuffed with oyster mushrooms and a little foie gras and some herbs. A completely different flavor from the brease, but awesome hearty flavor as well. The giblet confit (I believe the heart and liver) was also very good. It was tender, yet chewy, but full of flavor. It reminded me of the beef cheek ravioli at Babbo in New York.

8th course: Cheese course - will not discuss here, but very nice selection

9th course: Terrine of mango and creme fraiche, topped with a spicy mint granite.

This was the little pre-dessert amuse. I really liked this and was surprised that the mint was not overpowering at all.

10th course: Souffle of meyer lemon, citrus compote, and white chocolate sorbet.

This was very enjoyable. I loved how the souffle was baked and served in the hollowed out lemon. Very light and tasty.

Mignardises - These were all very good. Molly, the waitress was kind enough to offer to give me extras to take home to my fiancee. I gladly accepted.

Summary: I've had about a week to reflect on this experience before writing it up and am still not sure what to think so this may be a jumble of thoughts and feelings. I really liked the appearance of the restaurant. I was glad to try some things I wouldn't normally order and it is apparent that Chef Seeger lets the featured food proucts speak more for themselves rather than dressing them up in fanciful sauces, etc.

I should mention that I did have wine pairings with almost every course and while the wines were all very unique and tasty, they seemed out of order. By this I mean, I would have a glass that I thought would have paired better with the previous course and a glass that would have been more suited to the following course. I do not think this was some mistake in communication, just selection. However, I have a long way to go to fully developing my palatte, but this is still my feeling.

There is also the unpleasant matter of the bill. I knew this was an expenseive restaurant and have no problem paying for that. However, many of the things I read about Seeger's on-line was that the dfegustation was $95. Its really $128. I think for the quantity of food I was given and for my enjoyment of the meal, I would have felt more comfortable and reasonable paying $95. The wine pairings were $80 and well worth it compared to my glass of champagne at $25. With the included gratuity it all came to just under $300. I guess experience is expensive.

I'm gonna stop here as this turned out way to long, but perhaps someone will read/listen and comment.

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There is one other thing that confuses me about this restaurant compared to others I have eaten at such as TRU in Chicago and La Ferme in Chamonix, France

For the price payed at Seeger's there was half as much food for the same price at TRU. Also at TRU, I was given a staircase of various caviars, not just a spoonful. At TRU truffles were shaved thick and generously as opposed to my two pitiful nickel sized slivers.

Do you think Seeger's is trying to pay off their new renovations or is it that being a fairly new foodie I am missing something at Seeger's compared to other places? Thanks for the info

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Interesting report. I am still reflecting(ok maybe I am a little lazy :hmmm: ) on my meal at the "new" Seegers, report forthcoming. Two questions was the squab breast brioche crusted? and you say

corner table on the sofa overlooking the rest of the dining room
do you mean sofa or loveseat(small sofa) some may be confused by this due to tha fact that one of the changes made was the removal of the banquet.
For the price payed at Seeger's there was half as much food for the same price at TRU.
that is the infamous value to portion to experience problem many have with WD-50 and of course this thread is great even if you have no interest in Masa Is Masa worth it?

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The squab was not encrusted in brioche

It was a loveseat, a light gold color with purple silk pillows.

Interesting report. I am still reflecting(ok maybe I am a little lazy :hmmm: ) on my meal at the "new" Seegers, report forthcoming. Two questions was the squab breast brioche crusted? and you say 
corner table on the sofa overlooking the rest of the dining room
do you mean sofa or loveseat(small sofa) some may be confused by this due to tha fact that one of the changes made was the removal of the banquet.
For the price payed at Seeger's there was half as much food for the same price at TRU.
that is the infamous value to portion to experience problem many have with WD-50 and of course this thread is great even if you have no interest in Masa Is Masa worth it?

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I'm gonna stop here as this turned out way to long, but perhaps someone will read/listen and comment.

Thanks for posting re your recent experience at Seeger's. As a local who eats there once or twice a year (but haven't been since the renovation) I'll say that your experience is pretty much exactly what I'd have described if you'd asked me to do so in advance (right down to Molly being the highlight of your evening service-wise).


Can you pee in the ocean?

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I'm gonna stop here as this turned out way to long, but perhaps someone will read/listen and comment.

Thanks for posting re your recent experience at Seeger's. As a local who eats there once or twice a year (but haven't been since the renovation) I'll say that your experience is pretty much exactly what I'd have described if you'd asked me to do so in advance (right down to Molly being the highlight of your evening service-wise).

I appreciated your review as well. As an Atlantan who has never eaten at Seeger's, it just reinforces my feeling not to spend my money there.

If you get a chance to return to our beautiful city, I really hope you try Restaurant Eugene. My husband and I have had lots of fantastic dinners around the world and this was one of our highlights.


Patti Davis

www.anatomyofadinnerparty.com

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I appreciated your review as well.  As an Atlantan who has never eaten at Seeger's, it just reinforces my feeling not to spend my money there.

The comments of babern38 about portion size remind me of the old saw: "The food was terrible. . . and the portions were so small!"

Unlike LoveToEatATL, I am a New Yorker who has been to Seeger's and I take strong exception to the idea that one oughtn't spend one's money there. Indeed if you have some extra money laying around and can't think what else to do with it, I can hardly come up with a better idea than dining at Seeger's. His food is technically rigorous, innovative and for me, nothing short of inspiring.

Just one quick example: He made a dish--raviolis with brunoise of celeriac served in a light chicken demi glace. As I ate through it, I noticed a crunch and realized it was garnished with tiny cracklins of chicken skin. Stunning, smart, simple. He took root vegetable stuffed ravioli in chicken broth and raised it to high art.

I wouldn't miss an opportunity to spend my money at Seeger's.


You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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Stunning, smart, simple.  He took root vegetable stuffed ravioli in chicken broth and raised it to high art.

I wouldn't miss an opportunity to spend my money at Seeger's.

Thank you, Ned, for this positive, upbeat and detailed review of Seegers! He is known as a perfectionist in all respects and his food is consistently praised as innovative and masterful. Good to hear good news!

Vancouver Magazine's Jamie Maw on Gunther Seeger

lots of Seeger discussion here though!


Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Latest article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Seeger's:

Seeger's Number 1? (free registration for Access Atlanta)

(Seeger) is without question the most technically gifted chef in the city; arguably in the Southeast. Perfection is this guy's middle name: perfection of technique; perfection of ingredients.... his signature farm egg custard, served in the shell with chantilly cream, maple syrup and a thin shaving of salty bottarga, slides across the tongue so easily...  Santa Barbara sashimi-style sardine ... contrasting textures of American paddlefish caviar and a frothy lemongrass foam.  The cheese course is displayed on guéridon now, and while it allows for a selection that will rock your world from creamy French-style mont d'or to peppery Italian tomino

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Guest MNewman

I have eaten at about half the Relais Gourmand restaurants in North American and rank Seegers last.

I have dined at Seegers 4 times and had the best meal I have ever had in Atlanta there and 3 other questionable experiences (poor service, burned rolls, dishes that were not well executed).

Generally, if I am served 8 dishes, 4 of them will be outstanding and the other 4 ho hum.

I don't waste my money there anymore. I'm in the minority, but...one person's opinion, for what it is worth.


Edited by MNewman (log)

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Followup on the AJC review of Seeger's ... scroll back 2 posts to read ...

My last Dish about the Seeger's makeover yielded an influx of e-mail, some proclaiming my genius and others letting me know what a complete idiot I am. This opposing view from two readers: "Great article on Seeger's. You portrayed it just perfectly ... Did you work with him before because you draw a perfect picture of 'the man' ".

And this: "I think you're missing the bigger picture. This guy is trying to create a restaurant of the highest order right here in Atlanta. He's not trying to create a metro, hip, everybody-get-rowdy atmosphere. He is in the business of culinary art. His wait staff are professionals. He has a vision of being the finest restaurant in the world. He cares very deeply about what he prepares. It is his every thought, his deepest feeling."

source for quote

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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