Once you enter, sweeping aside a velvet curtain, your gaze follows along an open kitchen arcing beneath a speckled canopy. To the right is the dining room, black walls lit by dangling golden icicles; to the far end resides the bar. Against the wall, wine bottles are cataloged like a library of libations from the towering facade's base to apex. But in lieu of a card catalog is a tier system. Nearly 80 wines -- equal numbers red and white separated into four price tiers -- are offered by the glass, half-glass, bottomless glass or bottle. If prepared to settle in, the bottomless glass allows for unlimited sampling throughout the selected tier, so it has its allure, but for the casual drinker or connoisseur, it will likely be more fulfilling to order by the half-glass.
Sitting or standing in the bar or on the patio, looking out onto the Midtown skyline, it's easy to understand why fair amounts of patrons have a slight air of self-importance to them. The environment certainly instills a feeling of being in the know, or at least in the thick of those firmly entrenched in the now.
Not in the mood for the grape? Well, you're in equally good hands with the grain -- any manner of distilled spirit is available in a selection of more than 15 "martinis," i.e., specialty cocktails from Cosmos to margaritas, Manhattans to mojitos, all available straight-up or on the rocks. Don't expect sculpturesque garnishes: The art of mixology is in finesse, not flash, and is certainly evident.
And in case you ingest enough "liquid courage," here's a hint: Proceed at your own risk, but the bathrooms are, how do you say, big enough for two? For a more socially acceptable coupling, request cozy corner booth Table 30.
Understated in its decor, One is admittedly a little loud in volume. The room is buzzing, but what do you care -- after a round or two, so are you. And you'll end up passing the buzz to others looking for more than mere sensationalism.
One Midtown Kitchen, 559 Dutch Valley Road. Mon.-Thurs., 5:30 p.m.-midnight; Fri.-Sat., 5:30 p.m.-1 a.m.; Sun., 5:30-10 p.m. 404-892-4111. www.onemidtownkitchen.com.
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