Craft Izakaya at Krog Street: Drinks and Tapas

Krog Street Market certainly is a hot spot these days. I’ve only been a couple times and always discover a new place I need to put on my “must try” list. Back in January, I visited Craft Izakaya. I love the bar just outside the main dining area where you can pop in for a quick cocktail. During my dinner Vampire Diaries star, Ian Somerhalder, even stopped in. See, I told you it was a hot spot.

On my visit I spied Arianne Fielder, Atlanta’s cocktail goddess hard at work and even tasted one of the craft cocktails, the Thai Complex, though I really enjoyed the Hitachino Nest Ginger Ale more with the food.

Besides craft cocktails and sushi, they’ve got a fantastic bunch of small plates. I enjoyed the small plates so much, I never got around to the actual sushi, which I plan to rectify soon. The menu is so expansive, you’ll need at least three visits to feel like you’ve made your way though it.

My favorite was the Spicy Tuna Avocado Ball, avocado wrapped around tuna. It comes with tempura seaweed, which you use like chips to eat the tuna. However the Kimchi Pork Belly, a huge portion, was a fantastic mix of spicy, salty and slightly sweet. It’s probably the best deal of all the plates at just $14.

I’m a sucker for Hamachi Kama (Yellowtail collar) and this was a perfect compliment to the other heavier plates we tried. It was light, yet flavorful. The Ika Sugata (Whole Squid in Eel sauce) was another dish, perfect for a small group to share, tender with a slight sweetness.

The most unique of all dishes was the Chawan Mushi a creamy dish of egg custard with shrimp and scallop. It was perfect to warm me up on a cold January night. Most of the plates are between $10 and $12 and five or six are plenty for two people. So, even with a drink a piece the price is very affordable.

Craft Izakaya Website
99 Krog Street
Suite X
Atlanta, GA 30307

Craft Izakaya on Urbanspoon

Atlanta Easter Brunch Options

We’ve got your list of spots to celebrate Easter. Hurry and make your reservations before they are all taken.

Multiple locations:Saltyard_Atlanta_Brunch_frittata

All four locations of Bantam + Biddy (Ansley, Crescent, Lenox Square, Avalon) will provide their “eggs”-traordinary brunch menu between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Pair brunch with a mimosa or Bloody Mary for only $4 each.  In addition, a special $20 per-person meal is available all day while supplies last and features honey-glazed ham, stewed black-eyed peas, braised collard greens, cornbread and a choice of sweet potato pie or carrot cake. bantamandbiddy.com

All of FLIP burger boutique‘s signature milkshakes come with a special treat March 30 through April 5 – Peeps! Visit all five locations (Buckhead, West Midtown, Poncey Highlands, Birmingham, Nashville) and enjoy these bright little friends atop sweet shake flavors like Krispy Kreme and Nutella + Burnt Marshmallow. flipburgerboutique.com

Buckhead

Davio’s Atlanta – Brunch is served from 11:00AM – 4:00PM. Guests will begin with an assortment from the appetizer buffet including Tomato, Basil, Fresh Mozzarella Salad, as well as a selection of Imported and Domestic Cheeses, Prosciutto, Salami, and Bresaola. Guests then have a choice of a la carte entrée options such as the Pan Seared Sea Scallops, Prime Top Sirloin, Seared Organic Salmon, and Lamb Shank, for $58 per guest and $18 for children under 10 years of age (excludes tax and gratuity).

Haven – Two-course dining experience. Begin with beignets for the table. Easter Brunch will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., $24. For reservations or additional information, call 404-969-0700 or visit havenrestaurant.com.

The Café at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead
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Extravagant celebration on Easter Sunday. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., The Café at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead will feature an Easter Bunny, egg hunts every hour on the hour, a magician and even an exotic petting zoo with animals like kangaroos, camels and monkeys! There will also be an extra-enhanced culinary selection, including 25 cheese, caviar, hand rolled sushi, an espresso station, ice sculptures and more. The cost is $109 per person, and $55 for children.

Southern Art
From 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., the brunch spread of assorted breads and pastries, artisanal ham, charcuterie and cheeses, seafood, soups and salads is available. Traditional Easter brunch options will also be available at the various carving, omelet and dessert stations. Menu highlights include roasted leg of lamb with mint jam, buttermilk fried Springer Mountain chicken, Georgia shrimp and grits, aged cheddar mac & cheese and roasted Brussels sprouts. After brunch, children can spend the afternoon hunting for Easter eggs, enjoying the petting zoo and meeting the EasterBunny. The brunch is $65 for adults, $28 for children 12 and under and complimentary for children 6 and under. Reservations can be made by calling 404.946.9070.
True Food Kitchen
Lighten up this Easter Sunday with brunch at True Food Kitchen. The Buckhead restaurant will take reservations for the occasion during its normal brunch hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to new spring menu items such as asparagus and artichoke pizza, goji berry granola and strawberry rhubarb crisp, guests can expect day-of specials.

Midtown

Chick-a-Biddy keeps guests clucking all Easter long with its farm-fresh brunch menu served 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., including the new signature chicken and waffles flavors like bacon, red velvet and cinnamon roll. Add $4 mimosas and Bloody Marys, and Chick-a-Biddy is the top roost for brunching in Atlantic Station. 404-588-1888; chickabiddyatl.com

Easter is a fun affair for G’s Midtown and 10th& Piedmont. Both Midtown restaurants are hosting an extensive brunch buffet from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $34.95 per person. From scrambled eggs and breakfast potatoes to pancakes and French toast, brunch features the classics and more, such as carving stations of roasted prime rib and ham, penne a la vodka and shrimp in vodka gravy.communitashospitality.com

HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern in Midtown is serving its regular menu all day, plus brunch specials from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Enjoy a casual Easter brunch and a great beer selection accompanied by live music from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Bottomless mimosas are $16.95.  Hop in from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. for half-price wings. 404-968-2288; hobnobatlanta.com

Max’s Wine Dive
Celebrate Easter and the beginning of spring with MAX’s Wine Dive’s traditional Southern-inspired brunch. Perfectly paired with a selection of MAX’s Wine Dive’s exclusive wine collection, wine sales manager Sarah Dawson shares her expert recommendations for an unforgettable Easter brunch.
A glass of bubbly Argam Cava with notes of toasted anise, honeysuckle, pear and a slight zing of lemon, is not only a flavorful mimosa base but also complements executive chef Patric Bell-Good’s rich crème brulee French toast. To satisfy more savory taste buds, Dawson recommends Col de Salici Prosecco paired with the fried egg sandwich. www.maxswinedive.com/atlanta-12th-street or call 404.249.0445.

Decatur 

Wahoo! Grill
Wahoo Decatur Grill
Hop on in to Wahoo! Grill on Sunday, April 5, for an Easter brunch celebration. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. guests are invited to indulge in a special brunch buffet with items such as Charleston shrimp and grits, fresh herb egg scramble andFrench toast and $6 dollar bloody Mary’s and mimosas for guests to indulge in while spending the day with family and friends. Reservations can be made by calling 404.373.3331 or on the website.

 

Downtown

4thandswift
Celebrate Easter in the Old Fourth Ward with a seasonal brunch at 4th & Swift. From 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., chef de cuisine Jeb Aldrich will prepare a menu featuring classic brunch dishes and flavors closely reflecting the acclaimed dinner menu, incorporating the freshest ingredients from 4th & Swift’s onsite garden and local farmers. Call 678.904.0160 to reserve your spot.

Ray’s in the City for an Easter brunch buffet from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. before enjoying a special à la carte menu between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. for dinner. Brunch is $34.95 per adult and $17.95 for children 5- 10. For preferred seating, call 404-524-9224. raysrestaurants.com

Join Atlanta Grill at The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta for a special Easter Brunch on Sunday, April 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The brunch will feature live jazz entertainment, photos with the in-house Easter Bunny, cookie decorating and coloring books for the kids. The cost is $80 for adults and $40 for children ages six to 12. Please call 404.659.0400 to make reservations.

Sweet Auburn BBQ
What better way to celebrate Easter than with a brunch buffet at Sweet Auburn? Guests can enjoy a selection of Sweet Auburn’s beloved menu items such a macaroni and cheese, pulled chicken and pork and skillet green beans as well as brunch classics like cheddar eggs, buttermilk biscuits and sesame chicken and waffles. Most exciting though are the steamed bao made by owner Howard Hsu’s mother Betty. Traditional Chinese buns, Betty’s bao take on Sweet Auburn’s traditional Asian-inspired barbecue when stuffed with chef Joey Stallings’ hickory-smoked meats. Paired with bottomless mimosas and bloody Mary’s and Easter Sunday just might become your favorite day of the year. Brunch is available for $20 per guest and bottomless mimosas and bloody Mary’s are available for $15; paired together they are $30.

TWO Urban Licks
Enjoy brunch from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and join our egg hunt with the Easter Bunny at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m.!

OTP
Aqua blue is hosting a brunch buffet between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.  featuring carving stations, made-to-order omelets, blue ribbon sushi, desserts and more. It’s all available for $34.95 for adults and $9.95 for children 4-12.  The under-4 crowd eats for free. No brunch is complete without bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys, and Aqua blue has them for only $15. 770-643-8886;aquablueatl.com

Ray’s on the River in Sandy Springs will satisfy holiday guests of all ages between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.  The cost is $42.95 for adults and $21.95 for children 5-10. For preferred seating, call 770-955-1187. Ray’s at Killer Creek is providing a buffet for Alpharetta diners between 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and serving an à la carte dinner menu between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.The buffet price for adults is $34.95, and children 5-10 dine for $17.95. For preferred seating, call 770-649-0064.

South City Kitchen Vinings
Gather the whole family this Easter Sunday and join South City Kitchen Midtown or Vinings for a special all-day brunch on April 5, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. for 3 course meal. Menu highlights include fried green tomatoes with goat cheese, pepper coulis and basil, she-crab soup with fresh cream and sherry,buttermilk fried chicken with garlic collard greens, bliss potatoes and honey-thyme jus and shrimp & red mule gritswith poblanos, tasso ham and smoked tomato gravy. The brunch is $32 for adults and $16 for children under 12. Reservations can be made by calling 404.873.7358 (Midtown) or770.435.0700 (Vinings).

Village Tavern
Bring the whole family to Village Tavern for an Easter brunch for all to enjoy. Dishes such as the French toast with fruit choice served with Tavern hash browns and warm maple syrup, steak and eggs and the Tavern Benedict with classic Virginia cured ham, sautéed fresh spinach, diced Roma tomatoes, poached eggs, Southern buttermilk biscuits and a choice of Hollandaise will sure to dazzle even the pickiest eater.

Colletta Italian Eatery in Avalon, Alpharetta, First Impressions

Located in the new Avalon center, in the heart of Alpharetta, Colletta opened its doors to show us what a twist on Italian food really looks like. Chef Perez put together a menu inspired by Northern Italian cuisine and local, fresh produce. With that, he created new wave Italian cuisine which is pretty amazing.

When you walk into Colletta, there is instantly a vibe of ardor and comfort. Dim lights and candles surround the entire restaurant. High wooden tables, an open view kitchen, and ceiling high wine cabinetry are a few things that will catch your eye. All of the carefully arranged elements bring an undeniable sense of romance and sensuality that is often associated with traditional Italy.

I started off tasting their two signature cocktails. One was a take on the signature Manhattan cocktail, but with a Colletta twist, which was a combination of red wine and liqueur. This was very strong with bold flavors being sweet yet dry. The other, being a prosecco based cocktail, which was sweet, light, and refreshing.

Colletta-Restaurant-Alpharetta

As we were seated, I realized the service was extremely slow – negligent even. My head resembled a tennis match, bobbing back and forth as the wait staff walk past my table with samples in hand. Needless to say I was not impressed by the lack of attention, and on top of that I was famished!

The pancetta pizza finally came around, and luckily it was delicious. Every component made for an wonderful appetizer. The prosciutto di parma was also a winning combination of flavors that is sure to leave any palate satisfied. Lastly, their meatballs filled with beef, pork, tomato, basil, polenta and pecorino romano were sinfully delicious.

Although I only got to experience a small portion of what Colletta had to offer, I was extremely impressed with the nuance in their flavor combinations, and their futuristic take on traditional Italian favorites.

Colletta Website
900 3rd St,
Alpharetta, GA 30009

Disclosure: As this was a media event, our food and drink was complimentary, but the opinions expressed are my own.

Colletta on Urbanspoon

Christophe’s To Go: Healthy Prepared Foods

Sometimes you just don’t feel like cooking, but you don’t want to go out. You know those evenings when you just want to sit on the couch and binge on your current Netflix obsession? But you aren’t limited to just pizza or Chinese takeout. There’s a much healthier option: Christophe’s To Go. The concept is healthy prepared foods.

I tried a bevy of dishes: Eggplant Parmesan, Beef Burgundy Pie, Turkey Lasagna, Curried Cauliflower and Plum Pork with Brussels Sprouts. With the exception of an over-salted Lasagna and an overly cheesy Eggplant Parm, I thought the other items were quality. The best of the bunch was the Beef Burgundy Pie. It was comfort food at its best, the red wine flavor adding an exceptional layer of flavor. I’m a bit miffed at my husband for snagging the leftovers for his lunch. A second favorite was the Curried Cauliflower, with dried apricots and almonds. The ingredients were pretty high end for the cost.

Christophes-To-Go-Atlanta

L: Beef Burgundy Pie, R: Plum Pork and Brussels Sprouts

Although Christophe’s offers delivery ($6 in advance, $12 for same day delivery), you can also go to one of their four locations around town (Brookhaven, Dunwoody, Johns Creek or Sandy Springs) and pick up your items yourself. I visited the Sandy Springs location and not only was the selection of items plentiful, but I found the staff really friendly and knowledgeable in answering all my questions and making recommendations.

Pros:
Everything clearly labeled
Accurate portion sizes
Healthy Ingredients
Lots of entree choices

Cons:
Overuse of salt or cheese on some items

Christophes-to-go-Prepared-Foods
All the meals are clearly labeled with not only the ingredients and preparation instructions, but whether they are Vegan, Vegetarian, or Gluten Free, which many of the dishes are. All entrees come in recyclable containers that can be used for heating. I loved that the portions are very generous too. A “single” serve entree easily feeds two, quite the opposite of many prepared foods where you have to halve a serving size suggestion for it to be realistic.

Christophes-To-Go Healthy Prepared Foods

Parisian Mac and Fromage

Besides meals, Christophe’s To Go also has sandwiches, soups and plenty of side dishes. If you are a macaroni cheese lover you should check out their selection: Parisian, Southwestern and more! Sides and soups are around $5, while single entrees are about $8 and family style entrees are just under $20. Christophe’s To Go also does catering.

Disclosure: My samples were complimentary, but the opinions expressed are my own.

Christophe's To Go on Urbanspoon

Maya-Dining-Sandy-Springs

MAYA Steaks and Seafood in Sandy Springs

MAYA Steak, only open for about two months in Sandy Springs, took the place of the short-lived Seabass Kitchen. The restaurant is completely revamped from it’s former decor, with the bright blue tile replaced by lovely reclaimed wood. The dark and cozy ambience lends itself to intimate date nights or catching up with a few friends over a bottle of wine.

Speaking of wine, that’s reason enough to visit MAYA, with over 40 wines by the glass, all chosen by MAYA’s owner. A Tempranillo, suggested by our server, was surprisingly light bodied and went well with seafood appetizers. But a spicy Zinfandel was the perfect match for my ribeye.

Maya-Steaks-Seafood-Sandy-SPrings

Chef Mimmo Alboumeh

You really can’t talk about MAYA without mentioning the chef and owner behind the concept, Mimmo Alboumeh. He’s owner of Red Pepper Taqueria restaurants. With several locations around the city, they are known for their locally sourced organic ingredients.

However, Mimmo wasn’t completely satisfied until he’d opened a restaurant that reflected his time spent in both Spain and Italy. MAYA, named after his youngest daughter, brings his passion for multiple cuisines to fruition. He’s gonna charm the pants off the Sandy Spring residents with his gregarious and welcoming personality.

Maya-Restaurant-Atlanta

Maya appetizers: Crispy Lobster, Shrimp and Crab, Beef Carpaccio, Wedge Salad

There are two standout starters on MAYA’s menu: The Crispy Lobster Tail and Beef Carpaccio. A very light batter covers the perfectly succulent lobster tail. And the Aji remoulade with a slight spice and tanginess is the perfect dipper. Even if you’re planning on getting a steak, I’d urge you to try the Beef Carpaccio, sliced fresh daily.

Though the restaurant name includes several seafood choices, Steaks are the star of the menu with choices of Filet, Veal Porterhouse, Ribeye and NY Strip supplied from Braveheart Black Angus Beef Purveyors. My ribeye was juicy and oh so flavorful. Although there are over 10 “steak addictions” (toppings), I chose the simple, M’ sauce, not too overpowering with a slight kick. Seafood fans will love the Chilean Seabass, bathed in a lobster cream sauce.

Maya seafood sandy springs  Maya Steaks New Restaurant Atlanta

I loved my comfy booth, set against the back wall. However, Mimmo’s favorite spot is the high top in the front of the restaurant, which he calls the Gangster booth. No matter where you sit, MAYA Steaks is a lovely addition to the Sandy Springs neighborhood. Pop in soon and find out for yourself.

MAYA Steaks
6152 Roswell Road
Atlanta, GA 30328

Disclosure: My meal was complimentary, but the opinions expressed are my own. 

Maya Steaks & Seafood on Urbanspoon