restaurant review:: Marcel


For Craig’s 33rd birthday, we decided to try Ford Fry’s latest Atlanta installment, the European-inspired steak house, Marcel. It’s located in the ever-growing Westside Provisions District, which I love because we live 10-15 minutes from there. It’s amazing how much that area has been built up in the past few years!

Of the many restaurants Ford Fry has opened in Atlanta, we’ve been to most of them… JCT Kitchen, The Optimist, No. 246, King + Duke, and Superica. All are excellent, but in my humble opinion, I think Marcel is my new favorite. The atmosphere is something different from any other restaurant I’ve been to in the city… dark, moody, intimate, and a little quirky. Case in point — that gold and black wallpaper covered with mice and fire hydrants.



Our meal started with the complimentary bread service below… they served us warm, buttery focaccia bread with ricotta cheese, charcuterie, and olives. Really? I don’t know if I can accept plain old bread and butter from now on.

For starters, we chose the Broiled Humboldt Fog and the Salad Marcel (not pictured). The salad was definitely large enough to split, which we did, and it was dense and filled with lots of goodies. The maple bacon vinaigrette was icing on the cake. Neither of us had ever heard of Humboldt Fog, and I am glad the server explained what it was, because I certainly wouldn’t have guessed goat cheese. It was served with a tomato gravy and crispy French bread. Craig almost licked the bowl clean.
We each chose the 8oz filet for our entrees and added on a couple of the large, sharable sides. There were several that sounded amazing, but we decided on a couple of the server’s favorites — Pommes Aligot and Spinach Gnudi. The potatoes were mashed and SO cheesy — you could see strings of cheese pulling with each bite. And the gnudi was described as being similar to the filling in manicotti, and it was delightful. The steaks were an excellent cut and were nicely prepared — definitely comparable to the best steaks we’ve had in the city.

And for birthday dessert… Baked Alaska! Such a fun presentation, which I always appreciate.They change the ingredients occasionally, and this one was perfectly fall appropriate with pumpkin spice cake, oatmeal rum ice cream, marshmallow, and salted caramel rum sauce. The flavors were divine, and I think I could have eaten the entire dish on my own.

One of the things I appreciated most about Marcel was the exceptional service. Just a few minutes after being seated, we already had our drink orders placed (the wine and cocktails were both excellent). The manager approached us not long after and asked if we’d like to move to a different table due to being seated next to a large group. We happily obliged in order to have a quieter booth, and we were surprised to be offered drinks on the house for the “inconvenience” — which really was no problem at all because we ended up with a nicer view of the restaurant from a neat curved booth. I was impressed with the gesture, though, and the service continued to be wonderful throughout the meal. 

This was our first nice meal out since having our baby in September, and it was the perfect way to celebrate my sweet husband’s birthday. Ford Fry has done it again with another top notch restaurant option in Atlanta, and I’m so happy it’s close to home for us! We’ll most certainly be back.

restaurant review:: the general muir

We celebrated my little brother’s 29th birthday last night with dinner at The General Muir. He raves about this place, located at Emory Point, and I’ve been excited to check it out. It’s essentially a New York Jewish deli, but a bit fancier than just a walk-up counter (although they do have that as well). A neat fact — the restaurant is named for the refugee transport ship that brought co-owner Jennifer Johnson’s mother and grandparents, Holocaust survivors, to New York in 1949.

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We started out with a couple orders of the Poutine (fries, gravy, cheddar cheese curds, crispy pastrami), Deviled Eggs, Matzo Ball Soup, and Swiss Chard Fritters. Everything was demolished, so I’ll assume it was all good. My favorite was most definitely the Poutine, and you can see why from the photo below.
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A few of us chose “The Burger” (gruyere, caramelized onions, crispy pastrami, Russian dressing, pickles, and fries) after seeing countless plates of them being carried by our table. Chef Todd Ginsberg is credited with creating the famed Bocado burger (which has been my favorite in the city), and he absolutely did not disappoint with his version here. In fact… I think it’s now tied with Bocado for my favorite Atlanta burger. I didn’t think I’d care for the dressing and pastrami on the burger (I’ll confess that I didn’t really know what pastrami was), but I was so wrong. The flavors were unreal, and the freshly made bun was perfection. The fries were piping hot and drizzled with sea salt – also perfect. 
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So there were 8 people at our table… and we ended up with 7 desserts. Yikes. I blame it on the menu — too many choices (all of which are made in-house), and they all sounded good. One of my favorites, which was unexpected, was the Blood Orange and Brown Sugar Cheesecake — such a unique flavor combination, and pretty to boot. All of the desserts were a hit.
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I’m sort of sad that it’s taken us this long to make it over to Emory Point to eat at The General Muir. I hear their fried chicken (only on Fridays) is some of the best in the city, so I think we’ll be back soon… although I don’t know how I will keep from ordering that burger!

restaurant review:: husk (nashville)

When we started planning our mini vacay to Nashville a few months ago, we knew we wanted to eat at Husk. We’d tried last fall, but it was booked up, so we were really excited to get a reservation there last Friday night.  Charleston boasts the original restaurant by the same name, and I’m excited that there’s now another one in Craig’s hometown. Located in Rutledge Hill, just a few blocks from Downtown, the restaurant is in a historic brick building that served as the Mayor’s home once upon a time. From their website, “At Husk, there are some rules about what can go on the plate. “If it doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming through the door,” says Brock (chef). “

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Husk’s bar features just about every type of bourbon you can think of (they have a whole menu devoted to it), as well as a wide array of other fancy, interesting cocktails. I started off with the Athens’ Opal (Tito’s Vodka, Carpano Bianco, African Blue Basil-Cilantro Syrup, Fresh Grapefruit, Aged Balsamic Salt), which is pictured below. Craig got a bourbon cocktail (can’t remember the name), which he raved about. 
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I could have eaten 100 of those sesame seed rolls with butter.
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To start, we chose the Ember Roasted Sweet Corn and Heirloom Peppers, Salsa Verde, and Sheeps Milk Cheese. It was the perfect portion for two, and it had really nice grilled/spicy flavors.

For dinner, I chose the Wedge Oak Chicken (Grilled Okra, Curds and Whey, Pepper Preserves). Okra is not my thing, so I handed that off to Craig, but the chicken was incredibly juicy and flavorful. I’m not so sure about curds and whey, but it was fun to try something from a nursery rhyme. 😉

Craig got the Shrimp and Grits, and we shared the Hot Water Cornbread with Sliced Tomatoes and Raw Onion, which had a really interesting texture. It was super crispy on the outside, and almost a bit gooey inside. 
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Before arriving at Husk, we’d decided we would have either an appetizer OR a dessert. Well… you see how that played out. We got both. Below is the Buttermilk Pie with raspberries and a lemon sorbet. Our usual desserts involve lots of chocolate (or pecan pie or coconut), so we went with the server’s recommendation. 
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We had such a lovely dinner, and I’m glad we finally got to see what the fuss is all about. And the best part is that you can dine at Husk in either Nashville or Charleston! Their menu changes some each day, so there will always be an excuse to go back. 
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restaurant review:: no. 246

So for birthday dinner #14 (only slightly kidding), a few of my favorite girlfriends and I headed over to Restaurant No. 246 in Decatur. I’d heard several rave reviews about this little Italian-inspired spot, which was opened by the famed ATL Chef, Ford Fry, and Chef Drew Belline. The interior is just as interesting and beautiful as his other ATL hits — I especially loved the style of the bar below. They also have a large outdoor patio, complete with string lights and ping pong tables. I’m excited to go back when the weather is cooler so we can enjoy that space, too.

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We started with fun birthday cocktails — including yummy non-alcoholic versions for our momma-to-be of the group.
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For starters, we chose a meat and cheese platter, which included Coppa and two GA-made cheeses, as well as candied nuts, stone ground mustard, toast, pickles, and macerated cherries. 
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And after hearing such great things about the melt-in-your-mouth meatballs, we ordered 3. The sauce was so good, one of our friends scooped the rest of it up with a spoon and almost licked the bowl clean.
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By the time dinner rolled around, it was a bit too dark to snap any shots of the entrees. We may have also started eating them too quickly…. anyway, between the five of us, we tried three different pastas and a woodfired pizza. All were exceptional.

The Summer Squash Pizza was made up of thinly sliced squash, truffle vinaigrette, mozzarella, and backyard herbs — literally from their backyard. It’s not something I would have been adventurous enough to order, but the thinly sliced squash was really nice in combination with everything else.

We also tried the Agnolotti, which the waitress described as “pillows” or “little clouds” because the pasta looked like little clouds filled with goodness ( ricotta, corn, wild chanterelles, tarragon, humbolt fog).  I could have eaten my entire dish in one sitting — the Pork Bolognese with a red wine sauce — but I refrained and kept some for lunch the next day. I kinda still dream about it.

I highly recommend checking out 246. The food is mouthwatering, the drinks are excellent, and the restaurant itself is beautiful. To top it off, our server (I believe her name was Kristin) was one of the most knowledgeable I’ve ever had. She gave the most visual, interesting descriptions of the dishes and really helped us to understand the various Italian terms we weren’t familiar with. I’ll definitely request her next time we’re back.

And to end this post, there’s this. Who knew there were so many giraffes in downtown Decatur?
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restaurant review:: TRACE at W Midtown

My parents came in town last weekend to celebrate both mine and my dad’s birthdays, which we all love to do together. We had one night that we were able to do a big celebration dinner, so I made a reservation at a new place we hadn’t been to — TRACE at the W Midtown. It recently replaced Spice Market, and I have to say, I’m a big fan. We first heard of TRACE at the ATL Food & Wine Festival a few months ago. They had the most delicious (and adorable) mini chicken pot pies, and I just HAD to come back for more. 

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I loved the ambiance at TRACE. Tall ceilings and huge windows letting in tons of natural light, stacks of cookbooks on shelves by the bar, and a shabby-chic sort of decor, including that giant wall of decorative pots. So cute!

That’s my cute mom!
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They have a fun cocktail menu, and it was hard to make a decision. I don’t remember the name of mine, but it was a “Georgia” cocktail made with Tito’s vodka, strawberries, and a peppercorn syrup.
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We started with the Roasted Corn Hush Puppies (perfectly crispy), Grilled Chicken Wings (which smelled SO good), and the Deviled Eggs (which I don’t eat, but they were gobbled up pretty quickly). We didn’t end up getting them, but the Chicken and Waffles sounded fun — they do a different take on the dish by frying the chicken in waffle batter!
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All I’d been thinking about was the Chicken Pot Pie, so my entree ordering was easy. In fact, all 3 ladies at the table chose this dish. All 3 guys chose the Family Farm Burger, made with a short rib and brisket patty. The pot pie was perfect — filled with chicken, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and peas, and it was topped with a giant, fluffy biscuit. It was a large portion — perfect for lunch leftovers!
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We were really impressed with the service at TRACE. The manager stopped by a few times to check on us, and our server was incredibly attentive. They knew it was 2 of our birthdays, and they brought out not one, but THREE complimentary desserts for the table. From top, we had the flourless chocolate cake, goat cheese cheesecake, and peach cobbler. They were all fantastic, but I think everyone agreed that we couldn’t get enough of the cobbler. I  also enjoyed the turquoise icing messages on the plates. 🙂 
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If you’re near the Midtown area, be sure to check out TRACE. I can’t wait to go back for some more pot pie!

restaurant review:: the pig and the pearl

The Pig and the Pearl just opened at Atlantic Station last week, and we checked it out while my dad was passing through town. I’m pretty sure I’m still full from that meal almost a week later.  Chef Todd Richards (of The Shed at Glenwood) has created a really enticing menu, filled with all things smoked, as well as raw and smoked seafood. He even stopped by our table to ask how our experience was, which was a nice touch.

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I think we were a little overzealous in our ordering, as we ended up with 5 starters… for 4 people. But we really enjoyed everything we tried: Pimiento Cheese Croquettes, Brunswick Stew “Pot Pie,” Rib Tips ‘n Grits, and raw oysters. The plating and presentation was beautiful with every dish.

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For dinner, I chose the Knife & Fork Pork Shoulder Sandwich, piled high with pickled peaches and arugula. Other dishes at the table were the Spare Ribs and the Knife & Fork Brisket Sandwich. We also shared sides of Smoked Cheddar Mac n Cheese (with double cream, of course), Creamed Corn, and BBQ Red Peas. All were delicious, especially the ribs, brisket, and the sides. My pork shoulder was very heavy on the fat, which I absolutely do not like, but the non-fatty pieces were quite good.
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And even after all that, we somehow ended up with three desserts. It’s amazing we didn’t have to be rolled out of there. Here are the goods…
this peach crumble wasn’t on the online menu, and I can’t remember the exact name or ingredients, but it was divine. That coconut ice cream was the perfect accompaniment. Not pictured are the Frozen Jars — a trio of homemade key lime sorbet, chocolate ice cream, and peanut brittle ice cream in mason jars, as well as an assortment of the chef’s confections. 
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Camp Fire Treat:: smoked chocolate pot de creme, toasted marshmallow mushrooms, pecan praline, salted meringue
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I was really surprised at how well-run the restaurant was for having been open less than a week at that point. The servers were incredibly attentive, and the food was delicious. It’s nice to see an interesting addition to the dining options at Atlantic Station!

restaurant review:: watershed

My dad was in town for the night last week, and it just happened to be on Fried Chicken Night at Watershed on Peachtree… so naturally, we had to go. I’ve had Watershed on my list of restaurants to try for years, so I’m not sure why it took so long. And frankly, after having that fried chicken, I’m sort of sad that I’ve been missing out for this long.

We started off somewhat healthy with the Veggie Plate, which was huge and quite filling. This time around, it consisted of pimiento cheese-topped cornbread (to die for), fancy fried okra w/buttermilk dipping sauce,  carrots glazed with sesame seeds and soy sauce, green beans almondine, tomatoes and cabbage, and a small salad. I think the guys would have preferred the good ol’ Southern style fried okra, but everything was interesting and I’m glad we tried something a little different than the typical fried appetizer.  They also ordered the Spicy Shrimp and said they were delicious — and very spicy! 
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Fried Chicken Night with biscuits! This chicken was incredibly moist, and I loved that they gave us an entire honey bear on the table… I think I used about 1/3 of it.
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Some of the most amazing mac n cheese ever. SO creamy, almost like the consistency of a quiche. Everyone at the table raved over it. 
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Fried catfish with green coconut rice and veggies. Craig said it was really good, but I’m pretty sure he had slight order envy over our fried chicken. 
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Very Good Chocolate Cake (in a jar). And it was very good — incredibly rich, dense, and chocolatey, and the whipped cream on top was a nice, cool addition to the dish. Not pictured is the Hot Milk Cake with caramel icing and sea salt, which was the highlight of the dessert course. I think everyone really considered ordering a 2nd helping of that one.

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Cookie Bag (we chose chocolate chip). Perfect for taking home to enjoy later!
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I highly recommend checking out Watershed if you are in Atlanta! Every dish was excellent, and the service (our server’s name was Heather) was great. Can’t wait to go back!

restaurant review:: ink & elm brunch

Earlier in the summer, I came across a Scoutmob Hand-picked deal for Sunday brunch for 2 at Ink & Elm in Emory Village. Since having drinks there one night last winter, it’s been on our list of places to go back to for dinner. We went recently with a couple friends, and it was the perfect opportunity to check it out for a really reasonable price. The voucher included 2 brunch cocktails (mimosas, bellinis, or bloody marys), two entrees, house-made scones, and a cinnamon roll to share.




I chose the Quiche Westover, which on Sunday, included bacon, onions, and creamy bleu cheese. It was beyond creamy and really good, but I wish it had more bacon. You can never go wrong with too much bacon. I added on the potato wedges, which came with a hollandaise-type dipping sauce. Yum.

Craig got the burger — Velveeta fondue, dilly pickle, arugula, Worcestershire aioli, benne bun, and potato wedges. He also added a fried egg. The fondue is the kicker — just like you can never have too much bacon, you can never have too much cheese in my opinion.
Head on over to Emory Village sometime and check out one of the newer additions to the ATL restaurant scene. The ambiance is fancy and high class, but still approachable, the bar is beautiful and the drinks are great, and the food is delicious. You’ll be glad you did!

restaurant review:: Folk Art

As part of my summer bucket list, we tried a new restaurant last weekend. After hearing several good things about Folk Art in Inman Park, we met a few friends there for Sunday brunch. The wait was about 45 minutes, so it was obvious from the start that this newish spot is pretty popular. Because of the wait, we grabbed some mimosas and bloody marys to quench our thirst while we stood outside. Both hit the spot. 😉

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The inside of the restaurant is quite charming, and the service was great. Our waiter immediately asked how long we’d had to wait and then sent over a piping hot plate of their Sweet Potato Beignets. We were surprised to receive a complimentary starter since everyone else had to wait, too, but we gladly accepted and scarfed them down. I’d like some more right now.
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Craig chose the Bad to the Bone Sandwich (house roasted pork shoulder topped with collard green cole slaw, date chili bourbon BBQ, gruyére cheese, and crisp shaved onions), and OMG it was good. Greasy, but so, so good. I think he ate every bite, other than what some of us at the table stole.
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I had originally come here wanting the S’mores Waffle, but quickly changed my mind when he said the Foul Play (the chicken + waffle dish) was one of their best. And believe me, it did not disappoint. The waffle itself was made with a sweet potato base, and the dish came with a side of whiskey peach compote, which I could have eaten for days. I also added on the hash browns, which were cooked perfectly. 
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There are so many more dishes on their menu that I want to try, but I really may just go back and get the same thing because it was so yummy. If you’re in the Atlanta area, it’s a must-try for brunch – and probably all other meals, too.

restaurant review:: date night in Buckhead

Earlier this month, Craig and I had a Buckhead date night in celebration of our 5-year wedding anniversary, so I thought I’d share more about the places we visited. We started our night at Holeman + Finch Public House for cocktails. They’re located right in Buckhead, and while I think they’re usually pretty busy for dinner and brunch, it was easy to grab a drink in the bar area. They have a long list of fancy cocktail offerings with all sorts of interesting ingredients (most of which I didn’t recognize). I ended up choosing the “Pink Noise” and Craig got a whiskey drink — the name escapes me now. It was fun watching the bartenders expertly concoct our drinks, and they tasted just as good as they looked.

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Because they’re known for their bread products, we also ordered a Buttered Pretzel with yellow mustard to snack on. That mustard was SPICY, and the pretzel was hot and delicious. I’d go back just to eat that. 
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We had dinner at 1Kept, which is a newer restaurant just down the street from H+F. I’d been once before with girlfriends and everyone in our group raved about the food and service. It’s hidden behind a strip of shops on Peachtree, but it’s definitely worth the little bit of effort to look for it.
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We started off with the Pimiento Cheese Board, which consisted of crostini with pimiento cheese, bacon jam, grain mustard, and chow chow relish — all of which is homemade. It was so good, we contemplated ordering another one as a meal. And because we were celebrating, our waiter treated us to some of their Black Truffle Popcorn w/Parmesan. I don’t typically care for truffle oil, but this popcorn is really good.
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We accidentally filled up on appetizers, so we ended up both ordering flatbreads for our meals. I chose the SGT. Peppers (local peppers, caramelized onions, smoked provolone, and rustic tomato ragout), and Craig chose the Spicy Calamari (calamari stuffed with house-made spicy sausage, artichoke hearts, marinated olives, and herb goat cheese). I was too stuffed to finish mine, but they were both crispy and flavorful.  We managed to save room for the Flourless Chocolate Cake, and it was divine. Our waiter also surprised us with complimentary glasses of champagne to top off our night. Such a nice treat!

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I highly recommend both restaurants if you’re looking for a date night spot or just a fun place to go with friends. Both have excellent food, drinks, service, and a great atmosphere. Cheers!