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:: Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand

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Last weekend, Craig and I were in search of a good lunch spot to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. We didn’t want any of the same old places we usually frequent, but we did want something cheap-ish, somewhere interesting or new, and somewhere to sit outside. As we were driving somewhat aimlessly toward the Westside, Craig suggested Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand, which we’d driven by recently. I have heard great things about the East Atlanta location, and I believe this 2nd installment is fairly new. I love that they have a decent amount of parking (especially for a pretty small restaurant), and that they used an empty shipping container for outdoor seating on top of the restaurant.  It was the perfect day for dining outside, and the food was yummy and different…. all focused on chicken sausage, of course.

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So many chicken choices…. even a couple that include grilled Krispy Kreme donuts!
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I chose the Southern Sanchez Sliders (chorizo chicken sausage, pimiento cheese, sweet pickles) on really soft rolls with a side of Wedgies (and cheese sauce). YUM! I ate all of my sliders, but I couldn’t finish off the tasty fries. 
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Craig went with a “Slinger” — the Gunn Slinger, to be exact. (Chorizo chicken sausage, guacamole, salsa, fresh jalapenos, and “comeback” sauce.) His only complaint (if you can call it that) was that he would have preferred pickled jalapenos.
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Because the menu is so focused, I doubt we’ll be back often — but when we do visit again, we know it’ll be good.

restaurant review:: The Optimist

Last weekend, my parents came into town for Father’s Day weekend. Per usual when they visit, we book reservations to eat our way around Atlanta. What can I say — I get my love of food honestly, I guess. My brother had really been wanting to try The Optimist, the new seafood hot spot on the Westside, so we made reservations for the night they arrived.


The restaurant is appealing as soon as you walk up — 3 mini putting greens, oyster shells as “mulch” along the walkways, and giant bright blue adirondack chairs to use when there is a wait. Guests enter at the oyster bar, where the wood fired oven is the focal point — complete with a mural of a giant octopus encircling the oven’s opening. I was told that the restaurant was designed by the same team responsible for JCT Kitchen’s decor, and it’s obvious with the metal pendant lights, rustic wooden tables, whitewashed walls, and a cool bar that’s the main attraction in the room.



We started out with some fun cocktails, like the 5-Gallon Carboy (Redemption rye, strawberries, lemon, All-spice Dram, Allagash White ale) and the Scurvy Scoundrel (Deep Eddy vodka, house made grapefruit cordial, lime), and a large amount of appetizers…par for the course with our family. Oysters, mussels, shrimp, rolls with sea salt, and “beignet style” corn milk hushpuppies were brought to the table just as a HUGE storm rolled in. Dark clouds, thunder, crazy lightning, and tons of rain are no big deal right? Wrong. Not 10 minutes after ordering our dinner, every light in the building went out. Luckily, we were on the edge of the restaurant near some floor-to-ceiling windows, so we had a bit of light on our table. Those in the center of the restaurant (near the soon-to-be very smoky kitchen) did not fare so well. We had such high hopes for our dinner, so we held strong for a while… until it was apparent that the lights weren’t coming on any time soon — there or anywhere within a several block radius.


I obviously can’t speak to how the entrees were since we never got them, but we’d ordered the duckfat poached swordfish, cornmeal crusted skate wing, and black grouper, among other things. I’m sure it would have been excellent. They also have some really enticing desserts — the Savannah Beignets with bourbon praline and fired pecans being my #1 choice. Ah well… now we have a really good excuse to try it again soon — hopefully next time sans power outage.