Umi sushi makes its debut today at 3050 Peachtree Road in Buckhead. With a 23-foot custom bar built from white oak, dark green banquettes, and hand-charred cypress walls, the interior is a scene of aesthetic delight where patrons can enjoy dishes such as yellowtail with jalapeño, spicy tuna kamikaze rolls, and grilled black cod misoyaki.
Ford Fry's much-anticipated open-hearth restaurant, King + Duke, is officially open in the former Nava space at 3060 Peachtree Road. Menu items range from candied lamb belly to charred octopus salad to a little gems salad with chicken schnitzel.
CousCous has quietly opened at 560 Dutch Valley Road. The approachable Mediterranean cuisine is a good fit for the Midtown market - particularly the hungry lunch crowd who want something tasty but affordable. Dishes include Barbary brined pork confit with cauliflower purée, arugula apple salad, and brandied grape sauce; kefteji butternut squash with potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and harissa; and Merguez lamb sausage with kefteji and mint-rosemary aioli.
In-towners now have a dedicated crepe restaurant of their own in Julianna's Coffees & Crepes, newly opened at 775 Lake Ave. The new eatery serves up renditions of the Old World classic from a vintage house in Inman Park, creating sweet and savory varieties that incorporate local produce and Georgia-made preserves. Try indulgent treats like the "Lemon Love" or "the Almighty," combining melted Nutella with fruit, Nutella whipped cream, minced walnut, and bananas.
Local sushi chef Taka Moriuchi has been debating via Twitter if he will continue making nigiri sushi, following several citations from the city. It seems he prefers to make this delicacy with naked hands rather than gloves. Recent tweets, however, indicate that he has found a special variety of Japanese-made gloves to which rice does not stick, so patrons may not have to give up favorite at Taka Sushi (385 Pharr Road) just yet.
Flavored popcorn seems to be trending in Atlanta (see CaJa Popcorn, for starters). Another specialty boutique, It's Poppin, is now open at 3165 Peachtree Road in Buckhead . From Cake Cafe owner Ardra Tippett, the shop's roster of 300 gourmet flavors includes the likes of rosemary-garlic, buffalo wing, and peach vodka. You'll also find funnel cakes, jelly beans, and cotton candy, with actual cocktails on the way soon.
Ormewood Park's Morelli's Gourmet Ice Cream (749 Moreland Ave.) has earned a spot on the Daily Meal's list of the top 25 ice cream parlors in the world. The article calls out flavors like caramelized peach ice cream as well as the cinnamon toast sundae.
Jeremy Miller, the executive chef at Midtown's sexy steak restaurant STK, has announced his departure to focus full-time on his up-and-coming Miller's Artisan Sodas. The bubbly beverages, currently available at local farmers markets, Buttermilk Kitchen in Buckhead, and Bantam + Biddy in Midtown, include flavors such as sweet tea, cream, root beer, and orange.
A new vino value program debuted at PARISH Foods & Goods (240 North Highland Ave.) last Tuesday night. Buy any one glass from the restaurant's featured wine list on Tuesday and Thursdays, plus an entrée, and get the whole bottle - gratis. Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m., but remember: only one wine bottle per person. (Hey, it's Tuesday; take it easy.)
In Midtown, TAP (1180 Peachtree St.) has also added several new libations for the season. Fresh options include the Fruta Picante, featuring El Jimador infused with pineapples, strawberries and serano peppers, then shaken with fresh orange and lime juice and served with a salted rim; the Yin and Yang featuring Chateau Julien mascato and Crispin cider, served over ice with a rim of sugar, cayenne and black pepper; and the Breakfast at Tiffany's, with house-infused vanilla vodka, a splash of amaretto, and Founder's breakfast stout.
Cafe at Pharr's Buckhead location (3145 Peachtree Road) has joined the long list of local restaurants hawking King of Pops on their menus. No word yet on special or exclusive flavors.
Following Chicken and the Egg chef Marc Taft's consulting stint at Roswell's the Mill Kitchen & Bar (590 Mimosa Blvd.), the restaurant has found a new toque in Benjamin Castro. The Athens native has traveled the country and back, working in New York - notably The Woods, Paco's, db Bistro, and New World Home Cooking Company - before returning to the South. In Atlanta, Castro has worked at the now-shuttered Pura Vida, Bluepointe, Chops Lobster Bar, and Buckhead Diner. Most recently, he worked at Seed Kitchen & Bar in Marietta.
Big Tex Decatur (308 W. Ponce De Leon Ave.) has launched a new spring/summer cocktail menu. The concoctions were devised to complement a patio setting, so you can sip them al fresco to feel refreshed. Examples include the Surfer Rosa, made from Anejo Tequila, St. Germaine elderflower liqueur, ruby red grapefruit juice, ginger beer, lemon juice, and grapefruit bitters. Drink up.
Last week, Uncle Maddio's Pizza Joint opened its ninth Atlanta-area location in Tucker, across from the Northlake Mall at 3983 La Vista Road. The build-your-own pizza restaurant is the brainchild of a co-founder of Moe's burritos, which explains Maddio's have-it-your-way concept. Owner Matt Andrew notes that 20 locations will be open by the end of summer 2013, and an additional 125 will soon pepper the Southeast region.
First Watch has a new spring menu. The "daytime cafe," with locations in Vinings and Johns Creek, is dishing up creative new meals for breakfast, brunch, and lunch - from smoked salmon with spring chive scramble; a turkey-artichoke sandwich; and a quinoa power bowl with quinoa, kale, carrots, roasted tomatoes, chicken, feta, and basil pesto.
No. 246 has just added a call-ahead lunch menu for the area's busy work crowd, who will happily find their meals hot and ready upon arrival. The midday options include a chicken parmesan sandwich, wood-baked ziti with meatballs, chicken wings and soup, and a chopped salad. The Decatur Italian restaurant is also bringing back its popular ping-pong tournaments on Sunday evenings beginning June 2. The events will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. in the eatery's back yard, when attendees can enjoy chef Drew Belline's pork rillettes, beet pickled farm eggs, tuna conserva, margherita pizzas, and more, then wash it down with select beers or shots of rye whiskey.
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NYE Party at Smoke Ring with Sweet Auburn String Band. Come hang!