Monday, March 13, 2006

Restaurant Review and Other Surprises

Once again, you may or may not have been wondering what I've been up to lately. Besides not blogging. Well, truth may not have seen me on the Barbara Walter's special, but I have had a little side project going on.

Somehow between my Thunderbolt Kicks, Jeff and I managed to celebrate our 2 year anniversarry on March 6. It's been 2 amazing years of adventure, love, misunderstandings laughs and lots of Indian food.

Speaking of celebrate our two years as Weavers, Jeff took me to a restaurant that I had heard good things about, but never tried. It turned out to be quite possibly the best meal I've ever had in Atlanta not cooked by my mom.

Rathbuns - American cuisine tucked away in a converted steel mill which lies in the heart of Atlanta's Urban renewal explosion. While countless mills and factories in the area have given way to lofts and condoes, so for the neighborhood's most valuable addition is the brainchild, and namesake of renowned Atlanta chef Kevin Rathbun. He has taken his Buckhead restaurant experience at spots like BluePointe and Nava, and added his own nouveau southern accent to create an outstanding melange of fresh, culinary interplay.

The offerings, both "small plates" and larger entrees are a creative blend of Asian, French, fresh, and tres fatty. But make no mistake, this is a restaurant in the heart of the new south. Sides like country ham grits, creamed corn with gouda and smoked mashed potatoes pay homage to Mr. Rathbun's roots. As did Jeff's entree - Seared Cod and sauteed shrimp over smoked mashed potatoes with slivered almonds and cranberries.

Now, you won't find many a gourmande making cod fancy, but this was an outstanding preparation of no-knife-needed fish, and some of the freshest tasting shrimp I've had in a while. My small plate sampling included Rathbun's signature dish, and his mama's recipe, of Eggplant fries dusted with powdered sugar, served with a brilliantly yin/yang side of tabasco and powdered sugar for dipping. While delighful and different, this was probably my least favorite of the plates. My lamb scaloppini was out of this world, its apricot sauce had fresh mint, bacon and little teaser cubes of goat gouda. Okay, combining the sharpness of chevre with the creamy comfort of gouda..I couldve eaten a block of JUST the cheese.

Perhaps the most surprisingly good small plate were the salmon tostadas. How can a smoked salmon taste THAT fresh - not overly salty, but perfectly smokey with a sunset pink hue that melted in my mouth. Each little chunk was served on a crispy cracker with a habanero creme fresh. An exciting kick on the back end of each bite. I should also note, that the pre-meal bread was the best I've ever had at a restaurant for pure freshness, unique herb flavors and salted-crust taste.

Dessert, briefly, because it was tiny, but just what our stuffed tummies needed - a banana peanut-butter creme pie. Seriously, had one of us happened to get a head-wound or have a digit cut off during dinner...we would have stayed for the pie... It's Jeff's favorite combination of flavors and I'm just a general sucker for sweet things. It was fabulous, and just the right size (they do "small plate" desserts too).

Final libation note: on our waiter's recommendation, we tested a Pinot Noir (2003 Porta, Bio Bio Valley) from surprising Chile and it was outstanding in value and taste. A classic burgundian bite that accompanied our diverse meal selections wonderfully.

Ambience: Very hip, but not pretentious. We saw all types there - business casual folks, hipster friends and elderly couples. High ceilings and textured brick walls make it less intimate than some other options, but we were successfully able to enjoy each other company and conversation... then the food came, all chatter ceased and for the next 30 minutes we gazed lovingly at the food before us and our empty forks... Visit Rathbun's.

Review over. Maybe more to come, if we can think of more anniversarry's to celebrate. Next big event - Jeff's graduation (finally!) from MBA academy. May 2.


anaxx said...

Nice IMDB writeup. You look great with long hair. :)

Rathbun's eh? We'll have to check it out. We went to Kyma for Kathryn's birthday last month. Wow.

Mazie Lynn said...

And if you ever just want a small plate and wine, their little Krog St. bar adjacent to R's is great too!

Puddleglum said...

Katie - awesome job on the review. It was very cool to read this on this busy Tuesday. You're a great writer, Katie. Seriously.

I'm going to give this place a try. Sounds great. On May 22 they are having their 1st year anniversary with live music. We should gather a group and go?

Anonymous said...

Next career choice for you should be food critic. Well done! Wish I lived in Atlanta . . . just for the food and to see you and Jeff, of course. Tell my friend I said hi.

Marci said...

Sorry, signed in anonymously . . . It's me . . . Marci