Sunday, September 14, 2008

Eros, Gloria Gaynor, great food, hot servers

Posted By on Sun, Sep 14, 2008 at 3:35 AM

eros-and-pan.jpg

I headed out Saturday night for another meal at La Pietra Cucina — and found the place closed. There was no sign on the window and the man at the desk inside One Peachtree Pointe said it had not been open all day, but was very busy last night. I have no clue.

So we headed over to the new Eros World Tapas Bar, in the modernist location of the defunct Pie Bar. I really, really wish I'd taken my camera along, but I didn't because I expected to eat at La Pietra, where I'd already taken pictures.

Why do I wish I'd carried my camera? Because our visit to Eros was one of the most interesting restaurant experiences I've had in a long time. The place looks great -- much cozier and more elegant than when it was Pie Bar -- and the rear patio has been transformed into something that could truly be the minimalist living room of Eros.

When we stepped into the restaurant we were hit by a blast of incredibly loud music. There was a DJ on hand and he apparently was in a '70s mood. The restaurant was about empty -- it only opened Friday night -- but the staff of black-clad men and women were dancing here, there and behind the bar. One of the bartenders needs to make immediate application for one of those TV dance shows. Either that or join the cast of Swinging Richards.

Wayne, being Wayne, fell immediately into the groove and when the speakers started blaring "I Will Survive," he became Gloria Gaynor -- or at least a man impersonating a drag queen impersonating Gloria Gaynor. It was very Backstreet, 1978. Meanwhile a video of the Black Eyed Peas was projected on two walls. Madonna was up next.

I could go on. But here's the best news: The food, prepared in an open kitchen behind the bar (as it was at Pie Bar) by occasionally dancing cooks, was quite good and inexpensive. Most of the tapas cost $5 and the servings were generous.

My favorite was some velvety chicken livers cooked with onions in peri-peri sauce. The marinated, grilled octopus may be the best in our city outside Kyma. We also ordered: bruschetta, white anchovies, fried goat cheese, grilled lamb chops and fried shrimp in a mild Buffalo-like sauce. There wasn't a dish that we didn't like.

Ashley, our server, told us that the owners are Greeks who lived for a time in South Africa. That explains the great octopus and the peri-peri sauce, which turns up in at least one other dish.

Still, I'm not totally getting the concept here. I get that it's all about sensuality. It felt to us as much like a club as a restaurant. There's dancing 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and the kitchen is open until closing every night of the week. See the full schedule of hours here.

So, I guess it's a dance club with great food. A gastrodisco!

More in an upcoming Grazing column.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/Xv6lHwWwO3w" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

(Above, one of my favorite sculptures: Aphrodite about to smack Pan with her sandal while her winged child Eros mediates, ca. 100 BCE, National Archaeological Museum of Athens.)

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