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Oct./Nov. 2006

Rosa Mexicano
New Kids on the Block
Enjoy Them While They're Hot!
by Katie Kelly Bell

Every year ushers in new opportunities for Atlantans…food opportunities. A city of Atlanta’s size reinvents the restaurant scene on a yearly basis, one of the significant pros to a population of four million plus (try to remember that when you’re sitting in traffic). We rounded up a bit of information on some of our favorite newcomers; be sure to get out there and try them before 2007! If we omitted your favorite, it was only for lack of room.

Atlantic Station
Atlantic Station has done much to invigorate the restaurant scene with the likes of Rosa Mexicano, Lobby at TWELVE, and Strip Steaks and Sushi. At Rosa Mexicano (404-347-4090, 245 18th St.), fans of Latin cuisine have been wowed by the Guacamole en Molcajete (avocados smashed tableside in volcanic mortar) or the warm chocolate passion fruit soufflé cake topped with vanilla ice cream and served with a sweet tomatillo dipping sauce.

Of course, the towering water wall in the center of Rosa Mexicano’s dining room makes a spectacular backdrop to a frozen pomegranate margarita and an order of Alambre a la Mexicana (grilled beef tenderloin, chorizo, onions, tomatoes and Serrano peppers in a tomato chipotle sauce). Lobby at TWELVE (404-961-7370, 361 17th St.) serves as both a groovy lounge and as a fine restaurant. Socialize in the hopping bar area and then withdraw to the peaceful dining room for a sampling of Chef Nick Oltarsh’s delicious fare. The lazy Susan on each table holds the chef’s daily vegetable selections, which are not to be missed. Strip Steaks and Sushi (404-385-2005, 245 18th St.), both restaurant and lounge, boasts three tiers to its dining experience. Visit the Meat Market (middle level) for nightly tunes with the in-house DJ and extensive sushi bar.

Ecco (404-347-9555, 40 Seventh St.), the newest venture of the Fifth Group restaurants, sets the mood with epicurean goodies from the Mediterranean and exotic wines from all over. Expect to sample the finest cheeses, meats and pastas along with some truly boutique wines. The menu features fried squash blossoms with fleur de sel, short rib stuffed piquillo peppers, grilled octopus, wood fired pizzas, gourmet paninis, fresh pastas and a devilishly divine dark chocolate mille feuille for dessert. The Johnson Studio did a fabulous job of converting this old fencing club into a dining room with a rustically elegant European feel.

In keeping with the Mediterranean theme, Enoteca Carbonari (404-810-9110, 710 Peachtree St.), near the Fox Theatre, serves over 700 wines and homemade, organic Italian fare. The menu is comprised mainly of cured meats and cheeses, but you’ll find a few stellar salads and some roasted options. 

Put on your slippers and hop into B.E.D. (404-222-7992, 110 Marietta St.) at the Glenn Hotel in downtown Atlanta. Lounging and socializing are elevated to new heights with B.E.D.’s newest location. Boasting a sexy rooftop terrace with sweeping views of the downtown skyline, diners are served on actual beds. Be sure to order up a Bed Kitty, featuring strawberries, lime, vodka, Elderflower cordial and ginger beer.

A click or two away from Midtown is Redfish (404-475-1200, 687 Memorial Dr.), owned by Jack Sobel of Agave restaurant fame. Sobel partnered with Greg Herndon of Tiburon Grille to bring the folks on Memorial Drive a Creole bistro. Traditional favorites share the menu with innovative options: crawfish etouffe, shrimp and grits, a three pepper catfish, honey lacquered duck or a wild salmon soufflé. All will go down nicely with a 151 Hurricane or a Red Apple Martini.

OTP-Outside the Perimeter
South City Kitchen in Vinings (770-435-0700, 1675 Cumberland Pkwy.) is another venture from Fifth Group restaurants, but this time a replay of a Midtown favorite, the original South City Kitchen on
Crescent Avenue. Situated in a new John Wieland development, this suburban version brings OTP residents upscale yet homey fare, such
as fried green tomatoes, pan roasted Georgia trout or buttermilk fried chicken. Flemings Steakhouse (770-698-8112, 4501 Olde Perimeter Way) near Perimeter Mall offers a more traditional steakhouse scene (far less racy than Strip) with a fabulous wine list featuring over 100 choices by the glass.

Delights from Restaurateur Bob Amick
Of course, no annual report of new restaurants would be complete without a mention of well-known Atlanta restaurateur Bob Amick and his Concentrics Restaurants group. This year’s additions include Lobby at TWELVE, Piebar and Trois. Hustle on over to Piebar (404-815-1605, 2160 Monroe Dr.), the consummate pizza palace complete with appropriate hip scene and approachable wine list. The pizza oven is the largest in the Southeast and weighs over 7,000 pounds. These popular thin crust pies come in combos such as wild mushroom and goat cheese or onion and white truffle. Build your own antipasto from the extensive list of toppings or just partake of the many small plates, such as tempura mushrooms or pork spring rolls. Aim to go in fine weather in order to take advantage of the ultra-cool covered patio, or if you’re in a hurry, order ahead and grab your pie from the drive-through window (it used to be a bank building). Trois (look for this one to open at 1180 Peachtree in late October), a modern French brasserie at the corner of 14th and Peachtree, comprises a whopping 14,000 square feet of dining on three levels and offers a private dining room with spectacular city views

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