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Nine Street Kitchen restaurant review, Roswell

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$-$$$

Stretched back in my chair, I quietly fan myself with a folded napkin beneath a welcome umbrella for a smidge of shade. In my heat-induced daze, I watch beads of condensation gain momentum as they streak down the sides of glasses littering the table. And I’m not the only one tapping my feet while humming “Margaritaville” along with the guitarist working his way through a well-worn playlist.

Review by Jenny Turknett

Review by Jenny Turknett

Oh, if only we could extend our beach escape. After tiring days of romping in the sun, there’s no simpler pleasure than chilling with a drink at the marina listening to familiar tunes. As I mentally tick off the remaining days of vacation, I glance at the solid line of cars jockeying for parking spaces. Why do all of the license plates read “Fulton County?”

We’re not at the sandy shores anymore. We’re on Canton Street in historic Roswell at Nine Street Kitchen. Nine once butted against the other restaurants on the main drag in Roswell. When Clay Cafe vacated the brick building bridging the central strip and the converted hundred-year-old homes, Nine hustled down the street from its former location for a little breathing room.

After occupying the space for about six months, in an “If you build it, they will come” moment, owners Rick and Kellie Clark drastically expanded the outdoor seating area. Their attempt to create what they call “a grown-up good old days” proved a wise decision judging by the full outdoor seating year-round. Nine even provides custom-made blankets on chair backs for snuggling since customers occupy the patio even during colder months.

Sweet and tangy salmon salad (photos by Becky Stein)

Sweet and tangy salmon salad (photos by Becky Stein)

Your best bet here is to snag a drink from the bar or the lengthy, albeit hard to read, wine list and escape to the patio, leaving the cluttered interior to distant memory. Sip and savor the acoustic guitar while you dig into the tomato havarti appetizer ($8.95), which is nothing more than broiled hand-picked tomatoes topped with a thick puddle of melted havarti. Somehow the oily glob of well-salted cheese mixed with the sweet juices oozing from the warm tomatoes satisfies the need to nosh.

After loading up on cheese, listen to your waiter as he suggests his favorite menu items. Hear the subtext — stick with salad and sandwich options. Keep it light and summery with the cranberry salmon salad ($14.95). A hefty chunk of steaming hot peppered salmon sits atop an oversized bowl of leafy greens, cranberries and walnuts with a hefty serving of house-made cranberry pineapple dressing to match. The salads here satisfy with simplicity. Consider it safe if you remember a single rule: dressing on the side.

Tomatoes with havarti cheese

Tomatoes with havarti cheese

The same rule applies to the side salads served with sandwiches. Try the ham, turkey, pimento cheese and tomato panino ($9.95) with a side Caesar. Roll up your sleeves to tackle this one stuffed with hearty slices of house-baked ham and moist turkey. It’s not a mouthful in name alone. Sunset orange pimento cheese, so melted that it’s lost the texture that made it famous, drools from every crevice of the bread. Jazzy jalapenos rescue your palate from the potential cheese-induced monotony.

If you venture out of salad and sandwich territory, you might encounter the cheesy surf and turf quesadilla ($16.95) with tiny shrimp and steak that is disconcertingly gray in both color and flavor. Or, a similarly colored heap of stringy crab topping a cream-thickened tomato chowder ($13.95) that threatens to break at any moment might make waves at your table — or in your belly. Didn’t you listen to your waiter?

While the food at Nine Street Kitchen isn’t enough to bring you in, it probably isn’t going to keep you away, either. Nine Street Kitchen excels at providing a place for you to enjoy the good things in life. Escape to your happy place on the bricked porch beneath hanging ferns while listening to a few tunes. You may not find anything risky or refined, but sometimes simple pleasures are the most satisfying.

NINE STREET KITCHEN
982 Canton St., Roswell. 678-682-3222
1stars5
Food: Casual cafe serving soups, salads, sandwiches, quesadillas and more
Service: Friendly and unhurried
Best dishes: Ham, turkey, pimento cheese and tomato panini
Vegetarian selections: Assorted soups, salads, sand
Credit cards: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover
Hours: 11 a.m.- 11 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-midnight Fridays-Saturdays
Children: Yes
Parking: Community lot up the street
Reservations: Yes
Wheelchair access: Yes, rear entrance
Smoking: No
Noise level: Moderate
Patio: Yes, a lovely front patio
Takeout: Yes

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9 comments Add your comment

A

September 15th, 2011
9:30 am

Still don’t like the star system. With a 1-star review, I will definitely not bother with either Nine or Escorpion. Sorry John, I know your reasoning behind the review system and understand it, but in my mind a 1-star just isn’t enough to get me in the door to spend my hard-earned money.

granola girl

September 15th, 2011
11:22 am

I’ve tried this place and find the prices too high for the quality of the food. WIth the other options nearby, I will only go here if the majority opinion of my group rules. Maybe I’ll go to have a nice glass of wine or something like that, but been there done that with the food.

PJ

September 15th, 2011
1:31 pm

I want to like this place more than I do. I enjoyed Magnolia Cafe & 946 South, so it seemed like I would like this place as well. There is nothing I really don’t like about it, but nothing I really like either. The menu seems scattered and unfocused, almost like a diner. Yet, the prices are a bit higher, especially when it comes to simple things like the selection of grilled cheese sandwiches or desserts. My kids LOVE the cakes offered there, but I don’t love the prices. I get that the cake servings are huge, but similar cakes are available at Peachtree Diner & Sandy Springs Diner for less money. My husband loves the tuna salad there, which is a big thing for him to say as he is quite picky about his tuna salad. I enjoy the chipotle sauce, a great carryover from the other restaurants, but can’t find the right thing on which to eat it. Given the other options around Canton St., NINE is not my first choice.

Sydney

September 15th, 2011
6:15 pm

Agree with previous posters. Love the location and outdoor area. But food quality and execution is lacking. Prices are high for uninspired dishes ($8.95 for a few everyday cheese slices melted on a tomato?). Service was also uneven and slow – well-intentioned teenage servers lacking training. I do wish them well and hope things get better, because the space and the concept are very enjoyable and have huge potential.

Kate

September 15th, 2011
7:30 pm

I can’t believe this place got l even one star. The one time I ate there my salmon was so overcooked and dry I wouldn’t have been able to swallow it if it hadn’t been swimming in mushroom sauce. My server was nice enough to say it was her fault since she didn’t ask if i like my salmon rare. Seemed like a backhanded way to tell me it was my fault for not asking for it rare. In reality, I don’t like rare fish, just fish prepared correctly. Wouldn’t go back if they paid me, thanks for the review.

Nic

September 16th, 2011
9:30 am

This place is sooo terrible. I cannot believe people pay to eat there. The cheese plate is nothing more than pre-cut kraft cheese from Publix. The chicken is DEFINITELY pre-packed and not fresh. (eckkk!) If you have any appreciation for integrity of food…DO NOT EAT HERE! They’re quesadillas are made with shredded cheddar. UGHH. It’s unfortunate that people who know nothing about food can succeed in owning a restaurant.

Gary

September 16th, 2011
11:28 am

I’d give this place two thumbs down but that would be over rating it!

RG

September 17th, 2011
4:05 pm

Service is atrocious here!