Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Go to bed late and eat very well

Posted By on Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 11:14 AM

After 10 p.m., an octopus takes over
  • After 10 p.m., an octopus takes over
I rarely get to bed before 1 or 2 in the morning, so I was very happy to learn about the new late-night Octopus Bar that opened recently inside So Ba in East Atlanta Village. It's the brainchild of So Ba owner/chef Nhan Le and Angus Brown, executive chef, who was formerly with Miller Union.

I sampled three dishes last night and here's my evaluation: mind-blowing. The menu brilliantly hybridizes ingredients from around the world. Most menu items are small plates meant for sharing.

My entree-sized dish was a bowl of shredded braised rabbit, ricotta cavatelli, cauliflower cream, curry oil and wilted escarole. Imagine something like extra-creamy mac and cheese with flavors that startle and blend into something completely new to your palate.

I also tried a plate of banh beo, a classic Vietnamese dish of small, soft rice cakes topped here with dollops of minced mung beans, pork rinds and shrimp drizzled in a light fish-sauce vinaigrette. Think Vietnamese eggless deviled eggs. At only $5, there are plenty for two. Eating them is kind of tricky. Balance them on a fork or pinch them with your fingers.

Finally, I downed a cup of hazelnut panna cotta (think light Nutella) topped with five-spiced creme fraiche, sweet and slightly bitter.

I'll have more to say in "Grazing" in a few weeks. But you should have no hesitation in going now.

***

As it happens, Wayne and I also visited So Ba for dinner recently, slurping up the pho. What we really liked was the starter of salt-and-pepper tofu topped with grilled onions.

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