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Entries Tagged as 'Seafood'

First Look: The Optimist

The Optimist

There were several restaurant openings going on the other night and my sister and I were giddy to snag a last-minute, late, 9:30PM reservations to one of them: The Optimist. Located on the Westside on Howell Mill, let me just tell you it’s a beautiful space. The huge main dining room has a cool and hip vibe, it was expansive and airy, modern but comfortable. The adjacent bar, dubbed Oyster Bar at The Optimist, gigantic as it is, opens to a roomy patio. A pet project from Chef Ford Fry, The Optimist is helmed by Chef Adam Evans of JCT Kitchen.

The Optimist

Our dinner went without a hitch. Something usually unheard of among fancier restaurants on opening day. We had a celebrity sighting, too, (food critic) and even bumped into a fellow blogger (famous).

The Optimist

Our meal started with these yeasty, freshly-baked wheat rolls enveloped in butter and topped with sea salt. They were heavenly. I ate four.

The Optimist

We had a clam appetizer. Presentation was great– served in a small cast iron pan with two handles. Unfortunately, it was offensively salty that we couldn’t get past two clams. So unfortunate because the dish really looked good with lots of tender clams. The red wine fish bordelaise was just too reduced and the addition of pork belly pieces aggravated it more. Still, we had high hopes this wasn’t a preview of what’s more to come. On to the entrees.

The Optimist

I had the Crispy Day-Boat Flounder. It was delicious. It came with two filets of flounder that were lightly dusted in flour then fried lightly. I would have loved to see a crispier crust but it was negligible, nonetheless. I liked that the flavor of the fish was made to stand out. No heavy sauces, just a light touch of seasoning. A handful of small grape tomatoes and fresh rocket salad completed the dish.

The Optimist

My sister had the Alaskan Halibut that was grilled to perfection. Just like my flounder, it was seasoned perfectly. There was that offensively salty bordelaise that came with the dish but nothing that a good scraping off the plate can’t remedy. The grilled hen of the wood mushrooms were a good accompaniment as they gave a contrasting texture and an earthy flavor to the fish.

The Optimist

Remember that offensively salty red wine fish bordelaise with the clams and the halibut? That was seen again with the risotto. I really think the risotto didn’t need it at all, flavor-wise, except for presentation purposes. The risotto was passable: it was a bit too runny for me and although it looked like oatmeal, it tasted more like grits.

The Optimist

We loved the Corn Milk Hushpuppies. They tasted like cakey beignets complete with a dusting of powdered sugar. Although listed as a side item, dip them in the cane sugar butter and you’ve got a really good dessert.

I am looking forward to coming back and sampling more of the menu. There’s a pork loin dish that I’m really dying to try. Our dinner of one appetizer, two main entrees, two sides, a diet coke (mine), and a cocktail (sister’s) came to close to $100. Reasonable but definitely a place I can’t hit multiple times a week.

The Optimist
914 Howell Mill Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 477-6260

The Optimist on Urbanspoon

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New Orleans Seafood

New Orleans Seafood (Duluth)

Thanks to one of my readers, Bill Petrosky, who sent me an email the other day tipping me of this new seafood/po’boy place in Duluth. It is located a few doors down from What The Pho and Cafe Tohdamgol. Opened just two weeks ago by a Vietnamese family, it is really more of a seafood place than an eating place.

New Orleans Seafood (Duluth)

As a seafood store, they only have a few basics as of yet: shrimp, fish fillets (tuna, salmon, catfish, tilapia,) scallops, crab legs, mussels, and craw fish. I did not see any fresh oysters in the cases but there are fried ones on the menu.

As a take-out joint, they have lunch specials with fried catfish or tilapia, shrimp, and oysters with two sides that start at $5.99. Po’boys start at $3.99 with a choice of shrimp, catfish, tilapia, oysters, sausage, or calamari. They are sandwiched between a fresh loaf of Vietnamese baguette then dressed with mustard, mayo, and butter, then topped with lettuce and tomatoes.  I love the butter part!

New Orleans Seafood (Duluth)

New Orleans Seafood (Duluth)

The Fish-N-Shrimp lunch special comes with 2 fish fillets and 7 jumbo shrimp. The fried catfish is delicious — clean taste (not muddy). Shrimp are peeled and de-veined. Both are perfectly dusted with Cajun seasonings, very lightly battered,  then fried golden.

New Orleans Seafood (Duluth)

There are two tiny tables and a total of 4 chairs if you care to eat-in. I only came in for a quick stop but I will be back tomorrow to learn more about this place and try the po’boys. I will let you know how that goes.

Insider tip:
Everything is cooked to order so be ready to wait a good 10 minutes for your food.

The scoop:
New Orleans Seafood
2442 Pleasant Hill Rd., Suite 8
Duluth, GA 30096
(678) 474-0064

New Orleans Seafood on Urbanspoon

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Prime

I have been to Prime twice before a long time ago and all I can remember was that it was pricey and the service was painfully slow. So it was never put on our rotation of mall dining choices. A few days ago, we saw a sign indicating early dinner specials so we decided to try it. From 5 to 6:15PM, three types of steaks are half price. It is really a great deal considering a rib-eye steak here can set you back $36 without any sides included.

Prime (Buckhead)

Prime (Buckhead)

We tried the chicken and andouille gumbo and Octopus Tiradito for starters. The gumbo was a little on the salty side but negligible. It had lots of chicken and sausage and the broth was good overall. The tiradito, a form of ceviche, had thin slices of fresh octopus, cilantro, long slivers of carrots and beets, and cucumber slices. It was in a sriracha-yuzu soy-based sauce that leaned more on the salty than citrusy instead of a balance of both . Good, but get the sauce on the side instead.

Prime (Buckhead)

We settled on the boneless rib-eye steak for our main dish. An impressive piece of meat came before us: 14 ounces of thick, juicy, tender, well-seasoned rib-eye, perfectly grilled to our desired temperature, all for $14.50. A steal if you ask me.

Prime (Buckhead)

We were told that the $5 sides are served family style and big enough for sharing. Wrong. Really. I finished the tiny order by myself. My chosen side was the Truffled Creamed Corn that was just fabulous. It is made from freshly-cut kernels, with most of them still sticking to each other. It is creamy, buttery, cheesy, mushroomy. Really, it is very, very good. The fries were forgettable. They were so soggy.

Prime (Buckhead)

The $17 Wagyu Kobe Burger is a waste of money. Although it was served at medium (as requested), it was very, very dry. It was so dry I had to have a gulp of water after each bite to get it to go down my throat. Disappointed and left untouched after the second bite. Total waste of money.

Overall, the steaks are a great deal. Take advantage of the specials while they have it. Service is impeccable and the servers really knew the menu well.

Insider tip:
Located on the second floor at the entrance of Lenox Square mall.

The scoop:
Prime
3393 Peachtree Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30326
(404) 812-0555

Prime on Urbanspoon

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Be Back Soon…

I apologize for the lack of posts. I spent last week in Florida with my brother and his family. Being New Yorkers, a beach vacation is a must for them. We did the Disney parks, the beach, and the nightly trips to Ghirardelli. It was too short but fun. I am now in the DC area this whole week for a certification class. I should be back this weekend. For now, I leave you with this:

Blue crabs

Tonight’s dinner was courtesy of Bethesda Crab House. It was a super duper fantastic dinner. The blue crabs were huge, fresh, and sweet tasting. If I were to choose my last meal on earth, it would be blue crabs. These crabs were so huge the meat was equivalent to 4 regular blue crabs. I finished all 6. That’s like eating 2 dozen crabs. All on my own. Time to take a nap.

Be back soon!
–Chloe.

Bethesda Crab House on Urbanspoon\

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Grand Buffet

Grand Buffet:  Hot Pot

I’m not really big on buffets. There are only three places I (and my family) ever go to where buffet is the norm: Fogo, and the brunch at the Ritz and the Renaissance Waverly hotels. But my mom is a big hot pot fan and Grand Buffet has been the place we’ve been going to for many years. It is also one of the oldest places to offer it.

Grand Buffet is a Chinese super buffet. The have tons of food including king crab legs, whole steamed fish, sushi, and fresh oysters aside from the usual Chinese fare. But we only go here for the hot pot alone. Sadly, the atmosphere became unbearable as years went by. Serving utensils are greasy, the floors are wet and slimy, the smell is dank, the carpets are moldy, and the tables are sticky. Just thinking about it grosses me out. So we stopped going all together.

Grand Buffet:  Hot Pot

But last Friday, my mom insisted we give it another try. We were doing the no-meat-on-Fridays during Lent and seafood hot pot seemed like a good idea. I wanted to go to Mini Hot Pot but my mom wanted all the fixings that were only available at Grand Buffet. Besides, she contended, we were going to cook our own food anyway so we know it’ll be clean. It’s hard to argue with her so we let her win.

Well, what a surprise — the place was immaculate! The floors were scrubbed clean and spotless, the serving utensils were all clean, and the food were neatly and nicely placed in their steam trays. I was literally astounded. The food has also tripled in quantity: there were lobsters in ginger/scallion sauce, barbecue duck, crawfish, frogs legs, Chinese barbecue, and even dimsum! We didn’t touch any of the buffet items so I can’t comment on the food. But the hot pot items have expanded: fresh shrimp, blue crabs, Manila clams, crawfish, giant clams, mussels, fish, oysters; assorted tofu, dumplings, and fish cakes, plus various green leafy veggies, and several kinds of mushrooms. You can really go overboard with your hot pot fixings here.

A welcome surprise — the place is spotless, the quantity and quality of food have improved, and service is outstanding. I’d put this place back on my rotation for hot pot. Incidentally, the place is under new management. I’ve seen this place get a score as low as 70 on their health inspection. This visit, they’re at 92.

Insider tip:

Located off Shackleford Rd. next to Home Depot and Oriental Pearl.
Buffet: $12.95 (daily)
Hot Pot: $14.95 (available during dinner on Friday, Saturday, Sunday)

The scoop:
Grand Buffet
1825 Liddell Ln
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 279-0606

Grand Buffet & Grill on Urbanspoon

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