I think the lack of content about pastry chef Kirk Parks and his outstanding desserts at Rathbun's was a significant oversight in this article. it simply is not a complete and accurate review without including this key aspect of dining at Rathbun's.
But that's not the case at Rathbun's. In fact, the restaurant makes a point of distinguishing itself in the sweets department, particularly by serving desserts in small portions. This allows a small sweet bite at the end of a meal, which, especially after devouring one of Rathbun's signature huge entrees, is often a perfect compromise. At $3.95 each, or as a tasting of 4 for $11 or $12 (their choice, $11, your choice $12), the system allows for a relatively inexpensive splurge or a fun way to share tastes with table mates.
I'm not quite as enamored of the desserts themselves as I am of the system. During my visits I sampled a lovely tiny peach tarte tatin humming with summer sweetness and layers of flaky, buttery pastry. But I also had a coconut cake with frosting that tasted like marshmallow fluff, far too heavy for what should be a feathery, light cake. And the oversized, candy-inspired chocolate bars that seem to be such huge crowd pleasers are far too sweet for my taste.
None of this means that the desserts at Rathbun's should be left out of the review. But we come back to the issue of space. Our recent redesign has, in my opinion, made our paper far more pleasing to the eye. But that beauty comes at a price - word count. I've lost some space in order to make room for photography and creative design. Even when I had more space, there was usually some sacrifice in content in order to make word count. With a restaurant as important to Atlanta as Rathbun's, there's so much to be said. Deciding what stays and what goes from the discussion is difficult.
I feel strongly that wine is a place where Atlanta restaurants have a true opportunity to distinguish themselves. Not enough of our eateries take wine seriously, and that's a trend I'd like to see reversed. We won't be considered a serious dining town until our serious restaurants have serious lists. Cocktails are also increasingly important to a restaurant's personality and reputation. These are areas I've begun to focus more attention, especially because I don't see that happening in other publications. But should I do so at the expense of covering desserts? Or decor? Or service?
In a perfect world I'd have thousands of words every week. Actually, that would probably bore y'all silly. But what do you think? What are the most important things to cover in a restaurant review?
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