Usually I’m not a fan of restaurants with elaborate displays of stuffed bunnies in the window, but I’ll make an exception for Cafe Lapin. This restaurant in the Peachtree Battle Shopping Center attracts a healthy crowd of women in large groups and well-dressed older couples for food like this:
We’re looking at pulled chicken salad (here jalapeño, but there’s also curry, tarragon and other flavors) served with banana bread and greens with a house balsamic dressing so sweet it makes the sweet tea taste un-. The plate also holds a pale, ridged orange orb.
Here’s a closer look:
One bite and I felt like I was seven again, and the congealed salad was the only upside to the horror of lunch with my mother and her friends at the Lord & Taylor cafe.
It was strangely delicious in its wiggly way, and it serves as a cornerstone to the most dessert-like entree in the city of Atlanta.
In fact, after a meal like this you might just look at the dessert display set up in front the kitchen and snort in derision.
You’d be making a mistake.
The layer cakes and cookies here are worth the splurge, with the kinds of textures and flavors that show real Southern pedigree.
Both the chocolate and caramel cakes above have a soft, soft crumb and little flecks of vanilla bean seed in the batter. The light, creamy caramel frosting definitely dates to the era before caramel met salt. The chocolate has a richer flavor than your typical cocoa frosting, with a bittersweet edge that works well alongside the tender cake.
Both the cookies we tried were fantastic. The sugar cookies come with a tart, true lemon-juice glaze, while the oatmeal cookies were unusual. They looked sleek and shiny and broke open to reveal hollow crags studded with chocolate chips, nuts and dried cranberries. I’m guessing a little meringue figured into the recipe.
If you like classic desserts done right and want to witness the hilarious orange orb, then you should go.
Cafe Lapin: 2341 Peachtree Rd, Atlanta, 404-812-9171. The website does not work.
- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog