This week's column is devoted to your feedback. Lisa Richmond is suffering in Grant Park: "I too was sad to see Willis Bakery in East Atlanta close. That place had heart. I am famished for fresh baked goods in Grant Park.
"There is obviously a market for decent dining here in the neighborhood, but almost all of the restaurants in Grant Park and East Atlanta are mediocre... Carroll Street Cafe woefully misses the mark. I wish they would get with the program. I used to love it, but recent visits have been disappointing."
I was happy to receive a call from Michael Elsen, the brilliant vegetarian chef at the old In the Shade Cafe. He says he is very close to opening a restaurant of his own and has been traveling the country, testing others' vegetarian food. "It's been disappointing," he said. "There's not much out there."
Speaking of vegetarian, someone called recommend Fung's Vegetarian on Jimmy Carter Boulevard instead. "They are light years ahead in terms of fake meat," she said.
I've written here frequently about Rabun County, a very pleasant mountainous area just 90 minutes north of Atlanta. Besides Green Shutters and Julia's, it's hard to find a good meal in the area. Craig Kettles writes to announce he is trying to improve the culinary scene there:
"My partner and I moved here last June and are in the process of opening a store in the former Lakemont post office (next to Alley's store on old U.S. 441). We have named it Lakemont Provisions. We have been using Raymond Hook (former cheese man at Star Provisions and Bacchanalia) to consult on our cheeses.
"We are trying to be the best in Rabun County -- even though the county may not be ready for us. We open Memorial Day weekend and will be open Thursday-Sunday through October.
"We will be offering upscale food, wine, beer, cheese, sandwiches, card gift items, personal care products and a garden center with products not available at the local Wal-Mart or Ingles. If you do get up this way, you should also stop by Tiger Mountain Vineyards -- easily the best wine made in Georgia."
Dianne Tanner wrote following my recent review of Eclipse di Luna: "You could have mentioned the new chef at Eclipse, Nancy Mathews. She is responsible for a lot of the dishes that you raved about. Their business has gone through the roof with her running the kitchen."
Dennis Lange, owner-chef of Five Seasons Brewing and operator of the former Yakitori Den Chan, called to complain about Taka Sushi Cafe, the new sushi restaurant in Buckhead. Dennis dined there on a cold night and found the heat not working. Chef Taka offered to make his party a soup to warm them. He didn't mention he'd be charging them $20 for it.
Michele Botwinick wrote to note that What's the Scoop? has begun serving crepes. "The crepe menu looks tantalizing. Valrhona chocolate and blood orange? Nutella and bananas? Smoked salmon and dill? They make the crepes to order."
Randall Johnson and Donald Mellott wrote to recommend the new Ali-Oli in Buckhead: "We had a really good lunch there today. We are always surprised to find non-chain restaurants that open on Saturdays for lunch. ... We had the risotto special with grilled chicken, spinach in a bourbon creme sauce and the fettuccine Bolognese. The food was great, the waiter was perfect, and the space is so interesting and gorgeous. Please try the restaurant if you have not and tell people about Saturday lunch there and maybe they will continue it."
A woman wrote and called several times frantically looking for The Lark and the Dove. The restaurant, once the only decent one in Sandy Springs, has been closed several years. I recently ran into Les Carloss who has given our city some of its best Creole cuisine at restaurants like Taste of New Orleans. He is moving to Memphis to open a restaurant there.
Someone called to report that a second Nuevo Laredo Cantina is opening in the Inman Park area. I can't wait! Woodfire, Michael Tuohy's new restaurant, will be opening late summer in the old Marra's location on Cheshire Bridge. The second location of Taqueria del Sol will likely open in late June, on Ponce in Decatur, across from Watershed, where, by the way, Sunday brunch is drawing rave remarks.
Jake, a displaced Miami resident who says he's accustomed to eating Cuban food Ken Clark called to complain about Oh, Maria! where he tried to use a 2-for-1 coupon by himself and was repeatedly accused by a staff member of seeking a "free ride." Eventually, he left, rather than continue the argument.
A displaced Yankee called to complain about the absence of good authentic Jewish delis in the city. I get this complaint every other week and I've come to the conclusion that the real problem is that these immigrants wish they were still in New York. The Bagel Palace in Toco Hills is as good as it gets.
A clarification, courtesy of a reader: Apparently I recently wrote that Sotto Sotto is in Virginia-Highland when it is actually in Inman Park.
Leave Cliff Bostock a voice-mail at 404-688-5623, ext. 1504 or e-mail him at email@example.com.
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