Dining Out—New and Noteworthy
Four Atlanta Restaurants Worth a Look
by Rachael Mason
Atlanta enjoys a stellar restaurant scene in keeping with its statusas a vibrant, modern city. In fact, new options are popping up all the time as well-known chefs turn their attention to new challenges. Each of these newcomers to the dining landscape offers a unique setting and a fresh take on tried-and-true concepts, and each one is perfect for business meetings, special occasions or just getting a feel for the culinary pulse of your new city.
As you might guess from the name, the house specialty is, indeed, steak. The menu features everything from a 6-ounce filet mignon to a 24-ounce porterhouse. Other entrees include Maine lobster, pomegranate-seared duck and seared big-eye tuna. Start your meal with dishes like the Lil' BRGR sliders or the tuna tartar.
STK, which also has locations in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Miami, is known for eye-catching presentation: The parmesan truffle fries come in a stack resembling the game Jenga.
This trendy spot has a club-like atmosphere that makes it a perfect place to have dinner with friends or grab a drink like the signature Strawberry Cobbler. This cocktail, which tastes like pie, is made with Ciroc vodka and muddled strawberries and comes in a glass rimmed with graham-cracker crumbs.
Southern Art and Bourbon Bar
Opened by Art Smith, who was once Oprah Winfrey's personal chef, Southern Art is located at the Intercontinental Buckhead Atlanta. The restaurant's menu focuses on Southern cuisine, with local ingredients sourced from area farmers. The fried chicken is a house specialty, and you won't soon forget the tasty biscuits.
In fact, you'll be drawn in even before you walk into the main dining room, an impressive space where huge chandeliers of colored glass hang above the tables. Inside the front door, cakes, pies and other sweets are displayed appealingly on a long table, while cured meat can be seen at the artisan ham bar, which offers country ham and charcuterie. And at the bar, with its dramatic back-lit bottles on display, you'll find a wide selection of small-batch bourbon poured by expert bartenders, who also make excellent pre-Prohibition era cocktails.
Celebrity chef Richard Blais is familiar to reality TV fans for winning Top Chef: All Stars, but in Atlanta he's known for Flip Burger Boutique, an upscale burger joint with locations on the Westside and Buckhead. At his new spot on North Highland Avenue, the adventurous chef puts his signature spin on the hot dog. The restaurant, with its wood paneling and warm colors, has a strong retro vibe. Appetizers, or "bits and pieces" as they're called on the menu, include North African boiled peanuts (a customer favorite), shrimp fried in grits and waffled fries. Of course, the real meat of the restaurant can be found in the "stuffed" section, which includes everything from a classic dog and corndogs to the Kenturkey (turkey sausage, bacon, Mornay, tomato-pimento marmalade and parmesan) and the Garden Chili dog (a veggie frank, veggie chili, walnut mayo, crispy shallot rings).
Other eye-opening selections include a bratwurst served with beer-braised onions and whole grain mustard, and the Red Haute Dog (brisket chili with pimento jack cheese and Vidalia onion). For dessert, order a soft-serve ice cream treat or the restaurant's take on bread pudding. HD1 also has a full bar and creates seasonal cocktails you're sure to enjoy.
Located in the One Ninety One Peachtree Tower, a downtown Atlanta landmark, Alma Cocina is a Mexican restaurant with cuisine that also reflects Latin-American influences. It's the latest project from the Fifth Group, which also operates such celebrated local restaurants as South City Kitchen, the Original El Taco, Ecco and La Tavola. The downtown location attracts crowds from surrounding offices at lunchtime. Entrees include grilled flat iron steak with poblano-goat cheese potato gratin, avocado- arugula salad and adobo sauce, and roasted chicken mole oaxaca with mashed plantains, grilled green beans and sesame seeds. But you'll definitely want to try the tacos and some ceviche. Save room for desserts like the flourless chocolate-ancho cake and the sweet potato empanadas, which are served with local High Road Craft horchata ice cream, cranberry compote and spiced pepitas.