Home » BEER, WINE, AND SPIRITS » Spring 2015: 30 Things We Love Right Now

Spring 2015: 30 Things We Love Right Now

In No Particular Order

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 8.29.32 AM1 | Penthouse Bliss at Suite Food Lounge

In real estate, they say it’s all about location, location, location. For the Atlanta dining/club scene, Suite Food Lounge certainly makes a claim as a top destination, simply by sitting pretty in the burgeoning Luckie Marietta district at the nexus of downtown and Midtown West. It helps, of course, that this new player on the scene enjoys having the Georgia Aquarium as its next-door neighbor and the downtown skyline as its backyard. One of the most sleek and modern designs in the city, Suite serves up incredibly sophisticated Southern-influenced American cuisine (Chicken and Waffles, Lobster Mac and Cheese, and Orange Miso Salmon to name a few) to go along with their luxe accommodations. The groovy downstairs Lounge and the mid-level Royal Suite create a see-and-be-seen setting that rivals Miami, Vegas, or New York. But the setting we love the most is the breathtaking Penthouse, the indoor-outdoor terrace that is one of the undisputed champion patios of the city. You’ll find it hard to peel your eyes away from the Atlanta skyline as you sip on cocktails, play billiards on their space-age tables, and enjoy people-watching at its finest. suiteatl.com

2 | Blue Chip Green Cleaning

Blue Chip Green Cleaning is committed to providing an effective and budget conscious cleaning service—for a lot of local restaurants. They understand how important it is that their clients display their best public image by maintaining clean and neat commercial facilities. Their goal is to develop cleaning solutions that positively impact your facility and the people in it. Consistency is their number-one priority. bluechipgreencleaning.com

3 | Reel Seafood’s Sunday Brunch

One of oScreen Shot 2015-04-14 at 9.38.22 PMur favorite new openings from 2014, Reel Seafood has downtown Woodstock reeling with their flown-in-daily freshseafood, serving up classic dishes inspired by the Eastern seaboard. Last year, Chef David Silverman made a break from his old Midtown gig and brought his extraordinary talents outside the perimeter, executing perfect Crab Cakes, Sweet Chile-Glazed Swordfish Steak, Pan-Seared Scallops, Jerk Grilled Salmon, and Logan Turnpike Shrimp and Grits. Our favorite guilty pleasure? The sinfully good Sunday brunch. Picture it: Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Waffles, Steak and Eggs, Fried Oyster Po-boys, and Bananas Foster Crêpes. reel-seafood.com

4 | Bivalves and Beer at Ink and Elm

An homage to Frederick Law Olmsted—the guy who not only designed NYC’s Central Park, but also Atlanta’s own Druid Hills—Ink and Elm took the dining scene by storm last year with its high-design interior, knee-buckling great food, and the biggest wall of brown liquor this side of Kentucky. On first blush, the menu looks like a rundown of Southern comfort classics like pork loin, steak, fish, and vegetables all locally-sourced. But Chef Stephen Sharp drops in delightful twists and curveballs throughout the menu, injecting global flavor profiles into beloved American staples. Without question, what we love the most is the oyster service. Order these amazing bivalves as a start to dinner in the dining room, as a nosh in their more casual tavern space, or as the accompaniment to handcrafted cocktails in the lounge—a warm, library-esque space with a stately feel. Duxbury Bay, Washburn, Naked Roy, and Arcadia are among some of the more alluring varieties that come floating on half shells with perfect ice pellets, housemade crackers, and sauces. inkandelmatlanta.com

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.15.15 AM5 | Crab Boil at Sweet Auburn Seafood

The resurgence of the Sweet Auburn district has been nothing short of miraculous. With a history dating back to the Civil War and a mixed legacy of prosperity and poverty, the future of the neighborhood has never looked so bright. Along with the addition of the city’s new streetcar, standout restaurants like Sweet Auburn Seafood deserve much of the credit for bringing Atlantans back to this gem of a neighborhood. There are so many highlights on their menu, including Sea Salt Calamari; a decadent Gumbo; Georgia Mountain Trout; and, of course, succulent Lobster. But what we love most is their Maryland Crab Boil, which includes one pound of snow crab, fresh corn, beef sausage, and herb-roasted potatoes. It’s a Yankee version of our low-country boils, but we can honor it because it’s so darn good! seafoodrestaurantatlantaga.com

6 | The Pecan’s Oven-Roasted Chicken

One of the pleasures of an intrepid foodie is discovering pockets of great cooking in unsuspected places. Down in College Park, an area not really renowned for upscale cuisine, The Pecan has become a beacon for top-shelf dining—all thanks to the creativity and passion of Chef Tony Morrow. The restaurant is warm and quaint with a massive original Coca-Cola mural from 1917 painted on one of the exposed brick interior walls. Morrow’s TLC is evident throughout the menu, which surveys upscale Southern classics covering soups and salads, meats, pastas, and seafood that draws inspiration from the lowcountry and the farm. Our recommendation: Oven-Roasted Buttermilk Pecan Chicken, a boneless marinated chicken breast that has just a hint of pecan. thepecanrestaurant.com

time-mac-cheese_1000x15007 | Culinary safari at Time Lounge

Don’t take our word for how good Time Lounge is. Just ask Atlanta rap star Ludacris, just one of the many who have discovered this hidden Caribbean-influenced gem in Midtown. Besides nailing down the basics like Blackened Salmon, Jerk Chicken, and Crispy Calamari, Time Lounge shows its mad skills on island traditions like Ackee (a savory Jamaican-grown fruit), golden brown island-style Oxtails, and Crispy Snapper with glazed onions. But the thing we love most is the African section on the menu, featuring a number of off-thebeaten-path soups and hearty stews like Ogbono, a rich soup made with fish, smoked turkey, and other traditional ingredients; Whipped Okra Soup; and the flavorful Goat Meat Stew. It’s about time you expanded your palate. timerestaurantlounge.com

8 | High Tea at Kai Bar

Besides the new Star Wars movie, the coming attraction that excites us most in 2015 has to be the new Kai Bar (pronounced kay-bar). Derived from an ancient Persian word in the Zoroastrianism religion, Kai means “royal,” and promises to introduce Atlanta to a totally different concept of Persian culture and cuisine. As opposed to traditionally heavy dishes, Kai will offer Persian small plates served in a stylish fusion of eastern and western décor. Located in a long dormant pocket of Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, Kai is aiming for an opening in mid-2015. So what can you expect? A 8,000-square-foot space with a unique Persian tea station, as well as an upstairs hookah station. To boot, Kai will host special Persian DJs whose Persian sounds will fuse with contemporary lounge and dance music. By all accounts, this is going to be something very special.

9 | Grand Champion BBQ at Kroggcbbq-sandwich

Owners Robert Owens and Gregory Vivier are an odd couple in the kitchen. Vivier, a classically trained French chef, formerly wore his toque in France, Switzerland, and Canada before uniting with Owens, a Southern disciple of some of the grand masters of the barbecue universe. Together, they have created a wood pit barbecue experience dubbed Grand Champion BBQ that has been lauded by fans and critics alike as among the best in the city (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution deemed their Beef Brisket, Mac ‘n’ Cheese, and Ribs the best of the best). We can’t get enough of their Pulled Pork and sensational Brunswick Stew. Regardless of where you are, the drive to the Roswell and Milton locations will be worth worth it. To boot, they have now planted a flag inside the perimeter at the über-cool new Krog Street Market in the Old Fourth Ward so the metro folk can get their fix. gcbbq.net

10 | Affordable Fêtes at Pastis

Named for a French liqueur made from licorice root, Pastis serves up fine French cuisine at affordable prices on Canton Street in Historic Roswell for lunch, dinner, and brunch. Foie Gras, Duck Confit, and Coq Au Vin are but a few très bons items on the menu, and we suggest indulging with a large group. The Corsica and Wine rooms accommodate up to 30 people and you cannot find a more intimate and aesthetically pleasing space to have a dinner party. pastisroswell.com

SIP_KITCHEN_211 | Wine in your own time at Sip Wine and Dine

A concept dedicated to the finer things in life, Sip Wine and Dine oozes passion from the moment you set foot in the sleek space. Nibble on exquisitely diverse plates ranging from small (Crunchy Calamari), to medium (Kobe Beef Sliders), to large (Crispy Georgia Pork Belly) and pair with a selection from their voluminous wine cellar. Don’t leave without a enjoying a glass from their self-serve wine machine. Pre-pay for a card and then select from one of 64 bottles; simply hold your glass out, push a button, and enjoy a one to six-ounce pour. What better way is there to try new wine? sipwineshop.com

12 | Rib-Eye at Stock Bistro

Woodstock has never been considered an epicurean Mecca, but with a bevy of new original concepts on offer, we’re starting to take notice. Leading the charge is Stock Bistro, a fresh take on the upscale neighborhood gastropub that nails down the classics, from Fried Green Tomatoes to Shrimp and Grits to a good ol’ fashioned 12oz Rib-Eye served with skillet potatoes. We especially love the Pan-Roasted Grouper served with creamy, spicy jalapeño and corn grits in a fire-roasted tomato broth. If Stock’s early success is any indication, Woodstock’s appetite for more comfort food has just begun to heat up. stock-bistro.com

13 | Cutting-edge kegs at Black Bear TavernScreen Shot 2015-04-14 at 10.11.32 PM

One of our all-time favorite taverns hides in plain sight right in the heart of Buckhead across from Piedmont Hospital. Loaded with gobs of personality and tavern-like charm, Black Bear Tavern dishes some of the best stick-to-your-ribs comfort food in the city, including their new Smoked Brisket and Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich, as well as some new sliders like the Chicken Parmesan and Grilled Chicken and Cheese varieties. Plus, you can order and pay online if you’re on the move. Oh, and keep your steins primed for their new Brulock keg system, an ingenious pouring contraption that uses compressed air instead of gas to make your Heineken and Newcastle pints taste as if they were poured right from the brewery’s tap.  blackbeartavern.net

14 | Bordeaux on the patio at ANIS

Hidden away on a quiet street in Buckhead like a delightfully intimate secret, Anis has been charming those in the know for over 20 years with artisan renderings of French bistro classics. The kitchen’s mastery of dishes like Moules Marinières (steamed mussels in white wine sauce), Croque Monsieur (buttery grilled ham and cheese sandwiches made with Black Forest ham), Truite Meunière (pan-roasted trout with capers), and Steak Frites makes us feel like Garden Hills is our own private pocket of Provence. To top it all off, their charming brick patio has even drawn the affection of The New York Times. Come spring, you’ll be sure to find us most afternoons sipping a Bordeaux en plein air and celebrating our joie de vivre. anisbistro.com

skillet-007_300x22515 | Silver Skillet’s Award-Worthy Southern Skillet

When it comes to Atlanta dining icons, The Silver Skillet is a landmark. It’s a classic Southern diner in every sense of the word, from the motif—which hasn’t changed since it opened its doors in 1967—to the legendary breakfasts and Southern Skillet lunch features that have made them world-famous. Countless movies, TV shows, and music videos have been filmed on their hallowed grounds. And if that weren’t enough of a feather in their cap, Oscar winners, Grammy winners, food critics, rock stars, and politicians from around the globe have enjoyed the experience here. It kind of makes you feel like dining at Silver Skillet is akin to being on your own movie set. When appetites set in, be sure to nosh on the Skillet Country Ham Sandwich with eggs and cheese for breakfast. It’s salty. It’s savory. It’s seductive. thesilverskillet.com

16 | Jump Kitchen’s Alligat0r

Sure, you can zero in on Jump Kitchen’s patented Jump Wings with flavors like Sweet Teriyaki, Chipotle jump_kitchen_logoBBQ, or the tongue-scorching Terilingua. Or you can jump all over one of their amazing tacos with blackened tilapia, spicy ground beef, or fried shrimp. Maybe you are tough enough for the Big Forkin’ Burger, made with chili, cheese, and chipotle mayo. Whatever your taste, Jump Kitchen delivers some of the best cheffed-up bar food we have ever tried. But our favorite thing has to be the Fried Alligator with lightly battered tail meat that’s fried and served with a dipping sauce. The expression “it tastes like chicken” just doesn’t do this justice; it’s tender, slightly gamey, and just plain delicious. woodstock.jumpkitchensaloon.com

17 | The Peach and the Pork Chop’s Adult Milkshakes

One of the coolest new concepts we’ve come across in sometime, The Peach and Pork Chop redefines the upscale neighborhood family restaurant experience in many ways. Owner Chuck Staley has a crusader’s passion for all-natural ingredients that he uses in his approachably gourmet comfort food. Starters like Coca-Cola-Braised North Georgia Pork Belly, “northern style” sandwiches (read: lots of meat), and entrées like Seared Jumbo Scallops are all religiously locally-sourced and made fresh to order. Even the extensive kids’ menu uses only fresh ingredients. The only thing ever frozen at the restaurant is their ice cream (which, by the way, is the transcendently good High Road Ice Cream). Speaking of, we highly recommend a luxurious treat via the adult milkshakes, especially the Salty Pig. It’s made with salted caramel ice cream and bacon-infused vodka. It’s so wrong in so many ways, it’s just plain right. peachandtheporkchop.com

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.22.17 AM18 | B.A.D.A.S.S. Happy Hour at STK

What do you get when you mix top-notch liquor TK Atlanta with world-class fun? STK. That’s right, high energy dining concept STK has partnered with the world’s original luxury vodka Belvedere to offer a $7 specialty cocktail menu featuring Belvedere All Day And Saturday Sunday (B.A.D.A.S.S.). $7 B.A.D.A.S.S. cocktail offerings are available from open to close seven days a week, along with a $7 bar bites menu available every Monday through Friday, 5:30-7pm. Now that’s B.A.D.A.S.S.  togrp.com/reservation/stk

19 |Pizza in Pala at Ribalta Pizza Atlanta

It seems like there’s a Neapolitan pizza joint opening on every corner, but before you crown a king, try the pizza from the guys who operate an actual pizza cooking school in Italy. That’s right, at Ribalta, the building block of every great pie is the crust. They obsess over the “mother dough” here, a process which takes 72 hours for leavening. The dough is made with an exclusive variety of 00 flour called 5 Stagioni Flour (Italian, of course) from a miller who has been milling flour since 1400. Our favorite pizza in the mix has to be the Pizza in Pala. Pala is a method whereby they fold over the dough twice for a crispy outside and a soft, flavorful inside. We love the Salina, too, though—a white pizza for two people baked on a light, springy crust and topped with cherry tomatoes, buffalo ricotta, Sicilian capers, Gaeta olives, and mozzarella. There’s only one thing to do: mangia, mangia, mangia! ribaltapizzarestaurant.com

20 | Games and burgers at Bada Bings!bada_bings_burger

We love the Old Fourth Ward, but let’s face it, sometimes the mood can get a little stuffy. Thankfully, Bada Bings! injects some much-needed irreverence into the hood with old-school drinking games like beer pong, corn in the hole, jenga, and Golden Tee 2014. But while games excite, nothing feeds our carnivorous cravings like the 50/50 Burger—50-percent Angus beef and 50-percent bacon packed into one mind-blowing mouth grenade. Add white cheddar or Gorgonzola and top with jalapeños, peppers, or mushrooms (or all of the above) and you just might explode with joy. The Old Fourth Ward was long overdue for this happenin’ haunt. Thanks, Bada Bings! badabingsatl.com

21 | Classic elegance at Morton’s The Steakhouse

Sometimes, nothing beats the tried and true—like the classic Grey Goose Martini, served up, alongside the Five PeppercornRubbed Prime Strip Steak at Morton’s The Steakhouse. You can go above and beyond with an Oscar upgrade (starring fresh crab) and a side of Twice-Baked Au Gratin Potatoes, but save just a wee bit of room for the pièce de résistance: walnutstudded Carrot Cake, served à la mode. And sure, another one of those crisp martinis to wash it all down. There’s something to be said for tradition, and Morton’s does it like nobody else. mortons.com

22 | Comforting classics at The Downwinddownwind_burger

Some restaurants literally buzz with energy; at The Downwind, it’s guaranteed. No, not that kind of buzz—the propeller kind! Located a few feet from the tarmac at Peachtree Dekalb Airport, The Downwind serves straight-up comfort food classics, including burgers, salads, sandwiches, wings, and nostalgic entrées like Blackened Chicken and Wild-Caught Gulf Shrimp. We have a habit of showing up for the Wild-Caught Salmon, a gorgeous six-ounce fillet that comes grilled, blackened, or lemon pepper-dusted, then flat top-grilled, and served with potatoes and the vegetable of the day. Order this and grab a window seat to enjoy the takeoffs and landings. It’s like your own HDTV! downwindrestaurant.com

23 | Happy hour at Village Tavern

When dining in Alpharetta, no trip is complete without a trip to Village Tavern for happy hour. Monday through Friday 3-6pm and 9pm-Close, guests can indulge in mouth-watering appetizers such as Thai Chicken Nachos, Spring Rolls, Hot Crab Dip with toasted garlic bread, and Pimiento Cheese Fondue for 50-percent off at the bar and on the patio. Don’t forget to ask your server for the rotating drink of the month— one of our favorite indulgences. villagetavern.com

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 8.18.18 AM24 | Spanish Octopus at Kouzina Cristos

The delectable blend of Italian and Greek cuisines at Kouzina Christos is no secret in Atlanta, but their signature recipe for octopus might be. As Chef/Owner Christos Giannes tells us, the deep sea delight is sealed in a container with paprika and extra virgin olive oil, then poached sousvide in a 178-degree bath for two hours and chilled in an ice bath. The result is an unbelievably tender treat that makes us fall in love with the tentacled delicacy all over again. kouzinachristos.com

25 | Sun in My Belly’s Inspiration

When Picasso was asked what inspired him to create, the response was the “sun in my belly.” That is what inspires the team behind aptly-named Sun in My Belly, creating Southern-rooted, global-inspired fare with dishes like the Fez Burger with lamb, feta, and olives; and the Brown Sugar and ChileBrined Pork Chop. If you ask them to put their concept in words, it comes to this: “Sun in my Belly specializes in perfecting the details behind life’s most important moments.” It turns out, those details are incredibly delicious. suninmybelly.com

26 | Happy Seafood Bites at The OceanAire

Happy hour is so named for a reason, and while we often rejoice at the end of a grueling work day with glasses of Chardonnay and small-bite indulgences all over the city, we’ve become quite the regulars at The Oceanaire on Peachtree. Why? Well, the tree-shaded dining room is right in the middle of downtown buzz, but relaxing enough to let us unwind from business as usual. As food goes, there are plenty of small treats to keep us titillated—like the Red Chili Calamari, Steamed Mussels, and addictive Parmesan Truffle Fries. The classic Oceanaire cocktail is an apt pairing for just about everything on the food menu, with Absolut vodka and curaçao anchoring the glass. But we’re also suckers for a pour of dry-piquant Pinot Gris. The moral: If you’ve been looking for a happier hour to end the day, we definitely recommend The Oceanaire. theoceanaire.com

Seasonal Sips 

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 7.40.37 PM27 | Top Shelf Margarita From Agave

Salt the rim of a lowball glass and set aside. In a shaker with ice, combine 1-1/2 ounces Herradura Silver tequila, 1-1/2 ounces Grand Marnier, 1/2 ounce freshlysqueezed lime juice, and 2 ounces sweet-and-sour. Shake well and strain into lowball glass over ice. Garnish with a slice of lime. agaverestaurant.com

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 7.44.25 PM28 | SummerTime Sadness From Henry’s

In a shaker, muddle 4 mint leaves with 1/2 ounce fresh strawberry purée, 1-1/2 ounces Svedka Strawberry Lemonade vodka, and 2 ounces lemonade. Shake well and strain over ice into a lowball glass. Garnish with a half lemon wheel and a sprig of mint. henrysatl.com

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 7.51.11 PM29 | Jamaican Mojito from Stir It Up

In a pint glass, muddle 3 lime wedges, 3 oranges wedges, 6 large mint leaves, and 3/4 ounce spiced cane syrup. Add 1 drop orange bitters and 2 ounces Sugar Island spiced rum. Shake well and strain into a chilled glass. Float with a splash of seltzer. stiritupatl.com

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 7.44.53 PM30 | Desperate Housewives Martini from Red Sky Tapas

In a shaker, combine 3 ounces vodka, 2 ounces peach Schnapps, 2 ounces cranberry juice, and 2 ounces pineapple juice. Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass. redskytapas.com