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Entries Tagged as 'Midtown'

The Spence

I’m going to start 2013 off with a post about one of the best meals I’ve had in a very long time. Yes, you read that right: one of the best meals. I have not read any reviews about The Spence prior to visiting and not even up to now. Most of the intel I have on the place was from hearsay. And most of those weren’t very favorable. But I’m here to tell you my experience and why I love this place.

The Spence

I came on a very busy Friday night with four friends. The place was packed. Being an impromptu dinner out, we didn’t have reservations. Big mistake. Luckily, we were quickly able to snag space at the communal table at the bar and didn’t have to wait over an hour for a regular table. Being in the communal table can be awkward, as my friends lamented. Servers constantly reach overhead for bottles of alcohol stocked on the hanging shelf above the table. But I’m ADHD so I didn’t even notice it. But what I did notice was that it was loud, the place has an awesome, fun vibe, and everyone from guests to servers to cooks looked cool.

The Spence

The Spence

While menus change daily, there are mainstays I wouldn’t mind eating again and again. I’ve been here twice and both times have been phenomenal meals. One of the things you shouldn’t miss here is the Bone Marrow. Bone marrow is quite difficult to pull off. Most versions elsewhere give you nothing but a big glop of tasteless fat. Here, the grilled marrow is topped with tuna tartare for added texture and flavor. Oh, and the best part? Get this… it comes with two fried quail eggs. Eggs! The result is a flavor explosion in every bite. A perfect topping for the grilled brioche.

The Spence

Salads and veggies are usually a waste of stomach space for me. But the Fried Brussel Sprouts were definitely worth a tiny bit of the space. They weren’t bitter. They were firm and crunchy. And the peanuty vinaigrette made them easier to eat.

The Spence

Fries are also usually ho-hum. But here, the Juicy Lucy fries are triple cooked (boiled, fried then fried again). They were crispy and crunchy and just plain good. I taste a hint of duck fat in them, too.

The Spence

Macaroni and Head Cheese. I would love a huge bowl of this. So delicious and creamy. Pulled head meat that was so incredibly flavorful topped the mac and cheese.

The Spence

I had the Beef Short Rib that was just divine. The meat melted in your mouth like butter. The reduction sauce, to die for. A different take on meat and potatoes, this dish had creamy, cheesy mashed potatoes that just went well with the meatiness of the short rib. Chinese cabbage, radishes, and mushrooms rounded up an exceptional dish. I can eat this over and over again.

The Spence

Chicken is chicken. But guess what? Not at The Spence. Richard Blais managed to elevate this normally dry dish into the most juiciest, tastiest roast chicken on the planet. A huge serving, better pace yourself.

The Spence

I love pork and the Pork Leg dish here did not disappoint. The crispy exterior enveloped a fall-of-the-bone, delicious meat interior. Slight sweetness was added to the dish by way of slices of dried apple. I get tired of pork dishes that are accompanied by apple sauce or something so sweet they take away from the real flavor of the pork. This was one inventive dish. Bravo!

The Cod was another amazing dish (sorry, no photo). It was so clean tasting. The red wine sauce was so subtle it still allowed the flavor of the fish to shine through. Turnips and potato wedges gave it a more interesting twist.

The Spence

The Spence

The Spence

I’m not a dessert person. I’m a breadgetarian. I would rather eat bread for dessert. But my sister has a huge sweet tooth and ordered three desserts. The Vanilla Panna Cotta was just absolutely exquisite. It was so soft and creamy unlike others that have too much gelatin in them. It had the consistency of firm yogurt. It tasted very much like vanilla. I could trade my bread for this. The Icebox Tiramisu was like a hard (but not frozen) cake that tasted, well, like tiramisu. The Milk Chocolate was more like a slice of firmer mousse and served with banana ice cream.

Everything about The Spence is good. The food, the service, the vibe. Even the diet Coke :) It’s my favorite restaurant. Run, don’t walk. GO NOW.

The Spence
75 Fifth Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30308
(404) 892-9111

The Spence on Urbanspoon

[tag]American, Midtown, Richard Blais[/tags]


Cafe Agora – Midtown

Cafe Agora - Midtown

I interrupt this hiatus for an important announcement. Cafe Agora Midtown is now open! Stopped by for lunch yesterday with my bestie. The digs are a little bit cramped but expect the same stellar food from owner Al (whom we bumped in to outside and ate one of my doughnuts!!!) Order your food and pay, then prop yourself upstairs on one of the tables in front of a big screen tv where it’s cooler and quiet. A drink station will be available upstairs one day soon.

Park behind the Margaret Mitchell house in the Delta Credit Union parking lot. Make sure you park in the designated spots marked for Cafe Agora.

Now back for a little bit more of hibernation…

Cafe Agora (Midtown)
92 Peachtree Pl NE Map.68a9562
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 253-2997

Cafe Agora on Urbanspoon

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Best thing I ate last week: Empire State South

Empire State South

I was cajoled by my sister to have a very late lunch here. It was 15 minutes til closing when we came in but we made sure (called ahead) and asked again upon arrival if it was still okay to come in. I’ll leave the pedigree details to all the other reviewers here, here, and here. Great pictures from Ironman Jimmy are here. Let me just tell you about the food.

Empire State South

Empire State South

We started with the Pork Rilette. It was creamy yet still had shreds of meat to render enough texture. It was topped with sweet wheatberries and cucumbers. It was so good I could have eaten it straight from the jar.

Empire State South

My sister’s Pan Roasted Carolina Trout was so fresh and clean tasting and the side of collard greens really rocked.

Empire State South

My Grilled Pork Chop was so fantastic I’m still dreaming of it up to now. It was succulent and so perfectly seasoned. It was topped with a small piece of cider-glazed apple to provide a slight sweetness but not too much to take away from the pure flavor of the pork.  As a friend would say, “It’s crazy good.”  The slightly stir-fried radishes in brown butter vinaigrette was an interesting concept on paper but was amazing in the mouth.  Crisp, buttery, earthy.  It works.  The rice-a-roniesque rice (both in taste and texture) with field peas was the only thing that was weak.

Empire State South

My sister also had the chocolate pudding topped with Chantilly cream. She liked it.

Despite having arrived so late, we were never rushed. Lunch (and table service) is until 3PM, we left past 4. Service was so hospitable and the place was so cozy we wanted to stay and hang out the entire afternoon. Actually, they would have let us. Can’t wait to go back.

Empire State South
999 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 541-1105

Empire State South on Urbanspoon

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Get up to this: West Egg Cafe

West Egg Cafe has been one of my go-to places for breakfast (that is, the few times I can get myself out of bed early enough). Had a chance to finally go to their new location in White Provisions a couple of months back and I might say, the place is really nice. Funky nice. My visit was the first stop in my usual “food field trip” — several lunches, several dinners all in one day with one of my eating buddies — so we were very conservative in ordering food.

West Egg Cafe

The Georgia Benedict had these savory turkey sausage patties topped with beautiful poached eggs sitting on their famous biscuit. All these were drenched in a turkey sausage gravy that was perfect in consistency (thin enough to go down smoothly, yet thick enough to coat everything). It’s always been a trusted favorite. It was, however, a little floury for my tastes this time around. My eggs came with a side of grits. They serve one of the best grits in town and it didn’t disappoint as usual. It was creamy and the taste of corn really stood out.

West Egg Cafe

The Belgian Waffle was good. It was crispy on the outside. I would have loved it to be chewier on the inside, though. Make sure you substitute regular butter if you aren’t a sweet (honey) butter person like me.

West Egg Cafe

FB’s Blue Plate is a good choice if you want a hearty meal. We’re both huge fans of cheesy eggs and he wanted to get the same effect but they just couldn’t duplicate it. Oh well. It was still good. I do love that the skillet potatoes came with chunks of crusty potatoes. They were peppery and really flavorful.

Other favorites of mine here include the Black Bean Cakes and Eggs (an interesting take on the Huevos Rancheros) and the bacon, eggs, and cheese biscuit (or the biscuit period). Read more here.

West Egg Cafe
1100 Howell Mill Rd NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 872-3973

West Egg Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Dinner now: NOON Midtown

NOON Midtown

Quite simply one of the best pasta dishes I’ve had in a while: Spring Fettucine. Made with homemade fettuccine and house-made ricotta. With thin strips of asparagus to hold the pasta together as you twirl your fork around. Fresh mushrooms and English peas complete the gang. Oh so unbelievably light and delicious. Repeat: delicious.

NOON Midtown

NOON Midtown

But wait. Everything else is good. The Green+Egg+Ham is inventive and outstanding. The 5-minute egg has a crispy shell. Ham is courtesy of Benton’s, while the Green is provided by a creamy veggie puree. Yummy.

NOON Midtown

The Potato and Manchego Croquettes are balls of crunch and soft. A perfect pairing of opposing textures and flavors.

NOON Midtown

The usually ho-hum Steak Frites is wonderfully executed. The steak is tender and flavorful and the fries retained their crunch up to the last bite. Need I say more? Go. Now.

More here, here, and here.

Insider tip:
Last time I was there, Chef Katie was fermenting lemons in vodka for 40 days for use in a house-made Limoncello. Go ask. Oh, and my sister swears by their The View From Up Here cocktail. Go try.
Free 2-hour parking.

NOON Midtown
1050 Crescent Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 496-4891

Noon Midtown on Urbanspoon

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