Urban pL8 is owned and operated by Betsy Pitts, who's spent time in the kitchens of Bacchanalia and Floataway Café. But don't let her high-falutin' credentials lead you astray. Urban pL8's goal is to be a neighborhood lunch and occasional dinner spot (it's only open for dinner Friday and Saturday nights), not an upscale scene. Pitts' staff is affable, attractive, and often flummoxed. The whole place has a kind of thrown together feel, like a lovable family who set out to start a business and is trying really hard despite not knowing exactly what they're doing. The food ranges all over the place, from basic sandwiches to New American entrées. Like much at Urban pL8, the menu has some quirky, unexpected strengths: salads and cocktails.
Situated across the street from Octane, the space, designed by design firm du jour, ai3, has an airy, modern loft-like feel, with exposed bricks, polished concrete floors, and blond wood tables, but it feels intimate and relaxed. The menu, created to be flexible and sharable, speaks most clearly of the aspirations and inspirations of talented chef Todd Ginsberg. Sandwiches take the limelight at lunch; roasted eggplant, cauliflower and a smattering of pickled vegetables are packed into a baguette roll, complemented by a spicy aioli. At dinner, the menu is made up mainly of "shared plates," as well as a couple of sandwiches and a few entrees. Bocado has tone, taste and talent locked down, and the Westside and Atlanta are even more delicious as a result.
Most of the dishes at So Ba have an almost perfumed redolence. So Ba's food is mainly good, and complaints about authenticity are surprising.