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Archive for April, 2012

Late-night food delivery mixup


Last Saturday night I got the call that everyone dreads.

“Is this John?” asked a voice attached to a toll-free number. “Well, I’m afraid I have some bad news…”


That Thai food delivery we had been anticipating for the past 30 minutes wasn’t coming. It wasn’t going to come — ever.

The call came at  about 9:30 last Saturday evening, just as we were trying to avoid handfuls of cereal and blocks of cheese because we thought nam sod was just around the corner.

We had ordered through GrubHub, a web-based restaurant pick-up and delivery service (pictured in the screen shot above) that recently rolled into Atlanta. It has a huge presence in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities — and I can see why.

Customers sign in with their accounts, choose take-out or delivery, and then browse all the available menus. Once you choose your restaurant, you click to add items to your basket and then check out with a saved credit card. Delivery fees are stated up front — usually a …

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Restaurant inspections, Stats Restaurant

The recent food safety inspection report for Stats Restaurant in Atlanta is under review.

After the eatery at 300 Marietta St. received an unsatisfactory score of 57 (U), manager Bryan Bullock attributed most of the citations to a cooler that had just malfunctioned and was replaced. During the examination, the inspector did note several improper temperature-related control issues, the report showed.

The Division of Environmental Health Services confirmed in an email that “the violations are in dispute, so the inspection report is pending.”

Meanwhile, the latest report has been removed from the online system until the review is completed; therefore, the latest score on file is an 87 (B).

Here are more recent restaurant inspection scores from across the metro area.

Cherokee County

  • KFC/Taco Bell, 6760 Ga. 92, Acworth. 85/B

Clayton County

  • Atlanta’s Best Wings, 7016 Ga. 85, Riverdale. 90/A
  • Captain D’s, 4478 Jonesboro Road, Forest Park. 91/A
  • China Wang, 7020 Ga. 85, …

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Vegetable blowout in Paris

Turnip tarte tatin

Turnip tarte tatin

The turnip tart came halfway through our nine-course lunch at L’Arpege in Paris.

The kitchen had prepared it in the style of a classic apple tarte tatin — caramelizing the halved baby turnips with a bit of honey in the bottom of a heavy pan under a sheet of puff pastry. When the turnips turned golden and sticky and the pastry had poofed into feathery layers, the chef flipped it over and served it with a thin drizzle of something called “roasted colza” on the menu. It was a rabbit hole of nuttiness, this oil, its gentle smell pulling you by the nose into a mystery of flavor, both familiar and strange, ephemeral and resonant.

Colza is what the French call rapeseed, which we know as canola. This gourmet ingredient is the same stuff we buy here by the gallon.

I was in Paris — rather than back at home canola-frying a batch of hush puppies — to celebrate my sister’s birthday. She had managed to persuade our brood of siblings to cash in frequent …

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Table & Main duo to open Italian concept in Roswell

image002Nine months after opening Table & Main in Roswell, its owner, Ryan Pernice, and chef, Ted Lahey, have announced plans to fill another niche in the Roswell dining scene. The two will open a dinner-only Italian eatery in historic Roswell come summer of 2013.

The new restaurant, Osteria Mattone, will serve rustic Italian cuisine including handmade pastas and wood-fired pizzas. This neighborhood trattoria will source ingredients from local purveyors and Georgia farms. The wine list will be a prominent part of the beverage program, featuring many Italian wines and other continental varietals.

Osteria Mattone will be located just down the street from Table & Main at 1095 Canton Street, adjacent to The Fickle Pickle, a popular Roswell cafe. The site’s existing red-brick building, which inspired the name “Mattone” (Italian for brick), will undergo a complete renovation, much like the hundred-year-old home that now houses Table & Main. Plans for the space include a hand-crafted …

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Review follow-up: Antico Pizza sues Fuoco di Napoli and details on Liberato’s departure

AnticoVFuocoLast week, Eli at the local restaurant news and business blog Tommorrow’s News Today broke a story revealing that Antico Holdings, LLC and Antico Foods, LLC had filed a lawsuit accusing members of the McDowell Family, owners of Fuoco di Napoli, of trademark infringement.

My review of Fuoco di Napoli ran yesterday on the Food & More blog, and appears in today’s issue of the AJC in the Go Guide section. Our reviews are sometimes written as far as two weeks in advance before publication, and obviously, much has come to light since my visits to the Neapolitan pizzeria in Buckhead.

The night of my deadline, I came across a reference to the suit, filed on 4/4/12. While we made the decision to leave the suit out of the review, it is still newsworthy, and something that we felt obligated to investigate and report on.

Since filing the review, I obtained copies of the initial complaint filed by Antico. I spoke with the owners of both restaurants, and can now shed more light on the …

Continue reading Review follow-up: Antico Pizza sues Fuoco di Napoli and details on Liberato’s departure »

Restaurant inspections, Fortune Cookie

Recently, Fortune Cookie Chinese Restaurant in Atlanta became the subject of a reader complaint.

“They are hanging up the inspection that was done two times ago – two years ago – because the score is much better,” the Atlanta reader wrote in an email.

The reader then followed up with a call to the DeKalb County Environmental Health officials. In the meantime, a scheduled follow-up inspection was completed April 12, showing that the complaint was valid.

“Upon arrival most recent inspection score was not posted. … Advised PIC [person in charge] that the most current inspection score should always be posted within public view,” the inspector wrote, noting that the violation was corrected at the time of the inspection.

Days later the reader followed up again, noting that the older score – a 94 (A) from May 2010 – was posted again. Restaurants could face tougher penalties for repeat violations, including double-point deductions and stricter citations.

The …

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Fuoco di Napoli dining review, Buckhead



His reputation certainly preceded him.

The buzz around Fuoco di Napoli (Fire of Naples), the newly opened Neapolitan pizza restaurant in Buckhead, quickly spread through the blogosphere. And it all stemmed from the man working the oven: Enrico Liberato. Pizza-heads should recognize Atlanta’s most notorious pie-slinger as the former pizzaiolo at Fritti, Antico and (briefly) Vingenzo’s.

Review by Jon Watson

Review by Jon Watson

But Liberato soon may earn the nomadic, pied-piper status for Neapolitan pizza that Peter Chang garnered for Szechuan cuisine. He can’t seem to stay in one place for very long.

Although the details around his departure remain fuzzy and management has declined to elaborate, co-owner Lori McDowell confirmed that the rumors are true: Liberato is no longer with Fuoco di Napoli.

Opened last December in the space formerly home to McTighe’s Irish Pub at Peachtree and Pharr roads in Buckhead, the restaurant has a calculated hole-in-the wall décor. Cans of DOP tomatoes …

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Guest at Czar Ice Bar opening hospitalized from cocktail

The new Czar Ice Bar, which opened this week in Buckhead, aims to bring something novel and fresh to Atlanta’s bar scene. This vodka bar, offering 300 kinds of vodka from 23 countries, features a 27 foot bar constructed from ice.

Originally, Czar intended to serve vodka chilled with liquid nitrogen. This plan changed, however, after an incident last weekend with the liquid-nitrogen chilled beverages — an incident which sent one guest to the hospital. The restaurant group’s Director of Marketing, Simmy Ahluwalia, confirmed the incident but could provide no details except that the gentleman has recovered and that Czar has decided to scrap liquid nitrogen in favor of serving vodka in blocks of ice. He says Czar “could not take the risk.”

Guests can choose the vodka to fill those ice blocks from Kindle devices containing descriptions of the 300 choices. Ahluwalia says the list of options was compiled after a year of extensive research.

To accompany vodka flights, Czar …

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Food news: STG Trattoria, Yard House and more

courtesy STG Trattoria

courtesy STG Trattoria

Bocado owner Brian Lewis recently opened STG Trattoria, named for the first letters of his three sons’ names, in Buckhead. Executive chef Joshua Hopkins, formerly of Abattoir, and chef de cuisine Adam Waller, formerly of Sotto Sotto, lead the kitchen in preparing Italian fare that pays homage to its roots but allows for chef-driven creativity. In a press release, Lewis said, “Our focus at STG will be on traditional execution, ingredient quality and disciplined creativity. I can’t think of better people to execute our vision than Josh and Adam.”

STG serves small plates, sandwiches, specialty dinner pastas and traditional Neapolitan pizza. The pizza is prepared in wood-fired Acunto ovens shipped here from Naples, Italy. They are approved by the APN, an Italian organization that regulates the preparation of Neapolitan-style pizzas throughout the world.

STG’s modern, yet rustic design features communal tables and a walk-in wine cellar. …

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Dining out on a whole roast

Seven-hour lamb at J'Go, Paris

Seven-hour lamb at J'Go, Paris

I’ve just gotten back from Paris, where I gathered with my huge brood of siblings to celebrate a sister’s big birthday. For the most part we didn’t go too crazy with our dining choices, gathering at brasseries, wine bars and easygoing restaurants.

One place we tried, on the recommendation of Clotilde Dusoulier, who writes the Chocolate and Zucchini blog, was a really fun spot called J’Go. The name is a bit of a play on words, as it sounds like “gigot,” or leg of lamb in French. It  specializes in cuisine from Toulouse and the Southwestern region of Gascony. You sit at long wooden tables, drink great Gascon wines and — if you’re in a large group — order from a menu that sets you to large joints of spit-roasted pork and lamb. There are also whole ducks and chickens, as well as Southwestern specialties like cassoulet.

As it is hard for groups of more than one Kessler to agree on anything, I couldn’t get much traction going for a whole leg of lamb …

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