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Friday, June 29, 2007

The Tattler resurfaces


We dined at the Standard last night and I ran into, of all people, Tom Houck (right), the former columnist, talk radio host and chauffeur for Martin Luther King Jr. Tom and I go back 30 years, as he kept reminding me, just so I don't forget my age. At the time, I was editor of the Atlanta Gazette, and he was writing the city's first real gossip column, The Tattler, for us.

I ate my favorite arugula salad with steak added last night, and Wayne had a burger. Tom left for dinner with a friend at Nan. He said he'd been enjoying Kevin Rathbun's new steakhouse.

Hmmm, I think I'll make this a food Tattler ...

This is from the Food Studio's PR peeps:

We are transforming into a more casual, approachable dining spot. The restaurant is reaching out to a broader audience with more relaxed menus, a modified wine and cocktail program and newly refined design touches.

"After 11 years, we felt Food Studio needed a bit of a facelift," says Fifth Group Restaurants Partner Robby Kukler. "The restaurant has had a successful run as a fine dining establishment, but rather than pigeonhole it, we wanted to make it more accessible for everyday dining. We’re certainly not fixing what isn’t broken; just breathing new life into the concept to keep it fresh and relevant to today’s dining scene," he adds.

The restaurant, which opened in 1996, has reworked its menu to make room for a more approachable, time-conscious meal. Seasonal ingredients come forth in a looser, more natural presentation under the leadership of Executive Chef Mark Alba. Starters are divided into cold and raw options such as lamb loin tartare with cucumber and tamarind-onion marmalade and a shellfish tasting with blue crab salad, smoked mussels and scallop-rock shrimp ceviche; hot appetizers feature dishes like seared Port Royal white shrimp with caramelized cippolini onions and tomato jam and an eggplant and portabella tart with goat cheese, arugula and balsamic.

You'll have to check it out in person to learn more about the new menu ...

Another Fifth Group restaurant, La Tavola Trattoria, will kick off its fifth annual Tomatofest July 25. For the following 11 days, diners can order dishes made with organic varieties like Brandywine, Sungold and Yellow Pear tomatoes. ... Woodfire Grill is holding a special tomato dinner July 18. You'll get four courses with paired wines, and your $75 will benefit Georgia Organics. ....

Danny Kim is opening a ZPizza at 5315 Windward Parkway in Alpharetta (678-205-4471). The gimmick? It's supposed to be healthy pizza. You can check out the website to see if you agree.

Danny writes this about his background: "I've lived my entire life in California and I find myself a little unusual. I always try to be different. So when I joined the food world, I started a hot dog stand called Surf Dogs at Santa Monica. The crazy thing about having a hot dog stand at the world's trendiest and probably the fittest place is that it worked. I guess you can only eat so many tofu sandwiches until you want to eat a hot dog that oozes greasy chili."...

Doc Chey's Noodle House is 10 years old this month. ... Mix on Dresden Drive is now an Italian spot, Valenza. ... Decatur's Viet Chateau has closed. ... Rumors are flying that Bob Amick will open a New Orleans-style restaurant in Inman Park. ... Another rumor has it that the chef/owners of Agave (Jack Sobel) and Red Fish (Gregg Herndon) are now operating quite independent of one another. ...

This is from a reader responding to my recent column on Tamarind Seed and the newest Figo:

I always read your column first when I pick up a new Loaf. [Blogger's note: Really, she wrote that!] Glad you tell the truth about restaurants rather than pandering to advertisers. I would have been equally pissed at Figo's management, and agree that the new locations are far inferior to the original. I hope they take notice.

Regarding Tamarind: I agree their food is fabulous, but I had my own "cheap Figo" moment there when my husband and I ordered two appetizers and one entree for lunch. They charged us $2 for the shared rice from the one meal. I politely questioned it, they defended it, I told them how ridiculous it was (no, we hadn't even asked for more rice), they shrugged me off. Obviously it's not the $2; it's the principle. I'll never go back and I've told several friends who used to like Tamarind, and they won't go back either.

My point is to thank you for letting readers know when restaurants make such stupid decisions.



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