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Three Sheets restaurant review, Sandy Springs

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In a sprawling city, sometimes there are voids in dining and nightlife that need filling. Staring down an hour round trip on a Friday night just for some good food, drink and dancing can be daunting.

Brothers Jonathan and Ryan Akly opened Three Sheets to fill one such void in Sandy Springs. Part cocktail and cigar bar, part restaurant, part ultra lounge, the Aklys turned the space into a slice of Midtown in the suburbs. There is little question that during its design the words “sexy” and “luxurious” came up a few times.

Crimson and gold fabrics drape the walls, sofa-encircled tables line the floor, and a piano topped with dripping candelabras overlooks the scene. On weekends and late nights, Three Sheets goes full-on cocktail lounge, complete with a DJ spinning (mostly) house music and crowds of attractive people mingling with martinis.

Overall, the lounge aspect of the Three Sheets experience comes together very well and draws some of the largest crowds. If that is the experience that you want out of an evening at Three Sheets, you’ll likely be quite happy with it.

Unfortunately, upon pulling back that luxurious curtain, I find Three Sheets has more style than substance and plenty of room to improve.

The menu focuses almost entirely on small plates, a choice that fits well with an overall experience that should be equal parts drinks, food and atmosphere. Most dishes are bite-sized, well suited for snacking while schmoozing, no unsightly bib needed.

092112dine_5

Credit: Becky Stein

On our server’s recommendation, I made sure not to miss an order of the blackened chicken egg roll ($6.50), enticed by her description of the juicy chicken, soaked overnight in a house-made marinade. But after all of that mouth-watering buildup, I bit into a chicken egg roll that I’ve had a hundred times before, barely registering a kick of Thai-chili sauce.

She also sang high praises for the spicy mac and cheese ($5.50), which I might have echoed if not for the near total lack of heat and overly mild cheese flavor. The dried dome of not-so-recently-melted cheese entombing the pasta didn’t help matters much.

Both dishes suffered from the same flaw as much of the rest of the menu — they were forgettable. Not bad, not great, but the flavor profiles and concepts brought nothing innovative or memorable to the dining experience. Much like my bowl of passable fried calamari ($8), which I mildly enjoyed consuming, they felt phoned-in. You’ve seen and tasted all of this before.

That wasn’t the case with all the dishes. I won’t soon forget the plate of deviled eggs with truffle oil ($4.50) that began our next visit. What looked to be a run-of-the-mill deviled egg hid one of the most heavy-handed doses of truffle oil in recent memory. And this is coming from someone who would put truffle on cardboard and likely be impressed.

But amid the mediocrity were some rays of light. As I bit into the first of my trio of sliders ($9), an Angus beef patty topped with lettuce, tomato and sriracha aioli, my eyes brightened. The beef was well-cooked, had a nice crust and the aioli complemented the slider. It vanished in record time.

But neither the grilled chicken with basil aioli nor the pulled pork and jalapeno coleslaw made much of an impression.

You’d be hard pressed not to relish bites of a buttery grilled cheese sandwich ($9) dipped in a cup of tomato bisque, just as I’d be hard pressed to find anything negative to say about it. It was seriously delicious. But in the context of a menu that includes a plate of lamb lollipops drizzled with balsamic reduction ($19.50), it speaks volumes that a grilled cheese sandwich is the clear standout.

Review by Jon Watson

Review by Jon Watson

Usually, this is where the bar saves the day. Small plates aren’t up to snuff? Then praise the Lord for the mixologist and his array of imaginative cocktails. But it seems the same muse that called in sick in the kitchen took a sabbatical from the bar.

While well-stocked with a range of spirits, there is practically nothing unique about the cocktail selection, which at its

most ambitious puts a minor tweak on the classics. Did they make a good rye Manhattan ($10)? Sure, but that deserves about as much applause as making a good grilled cheese.

If the Aklys want a club to give neighbors an alternative to driving into the city, they should have kept the focus there. That, they do well. But there is little about the food or cocktails that should make you reconsider a drive into town for dinner.

 
THREE SHEETS
6071 Sandy Springs Circle, Atlanta, 404-303-6423
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Food: internationally inspired small plates
Service: fine, bartenders are friendly and attentive, especially on slow nights
Best dishes: grilled cheese sandwich and angus slider
Vegetarian selections: multiple options, including hummus, cheese plates and falafel
Credit cards: Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover
Hours: 5 p.m.-midnight Tuesdays-Thursdays, 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays. Closed Sundays-Mondays.
Children: Not allowed
Parking: Ample and free
Reservations: yes, and tables on Fridays and Saturdays require a minimum expenditure
Wheelchair access: yes
Smoking: yes, after 10 p.m.
Noise level: moderate to loud, especially when the music starts
Patio: yes
Takeout: yes
Website: www.threesheetsatlanta.com

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10 comments Add your comment

Beer Geek

September 20th, 2012
10:56 am

Sigh…….

Nothing about the beer selection?

Not everyone desires a sugary cocktail or trendy martini. Some of us truly enjoy what we consume. I know they must have beer there. Again, the AJC files an incomplete review.

BDD

September 20th, 2012
11:33 am

Sounds like it’ll be gone in no time

sheriff john brown

September 20th, 2012
12:10 pm

LOL….and some wonder why people have a no OTP policy

david c

September 20th, 2012
2:16 pm

A pretty damning indictment when one of the best dishes, Deviled Eggs, are chock full of artificial truffle flavoring.

nsk

September 20th, 2012
3:19 pm

Cue the peanut gallery alleging anti-OTP bias by the AJC.

Jon Watson

September 20th, 2012
6:28 pm

@ Beer Geek – I happen to love beer, and brew it at home as well as consume it whenever possible. But, there wasn’t really much to comment on regarding the beer list – it was acceptable, not particularly impressive or unimpressive – but beer isn’t a marketing thrust for the restaurant, so the cocktails got more attention in the review. Unfortunately, we are limited to a certain word count, and the beer list wound up on the cutting room floor.

jimmy

September 21st, 2012
8:26 am

THEUS

September 21st, 2012
2:07 pm

ha. def a clown review. first three paragraphs tell the entire story.

Billy

September 21st, 2012
4:36 pm

The food was better when Chef Josh Carden (now Executive Chef at Cucina Asellina) was there. The menu hasn’t really changed but the execution was just much better.

Baltisraul.....

September 25th, 2012
7:29 am

Most people would not drive 2 blocks to a resturant that has the best deviled eggs in town but nothing else. Washing down eggs w/ a Manhatten, well you get the picture!