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The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta located Downtown recently extended an invitation to me to dine at their restaurant, Atlanta Grill. I stayed overnight at the Hotel as well. I’ll have a full review of the hotel, services and highlights of my stay in a follow up post. But Atlanta Grill is a standout in it’s own right and deserves a separate review.
This recent evening, the weather was absolutely perfect for outdoor dining with low humidity and temperatures in the low 70s. So, even though the interior of Atlanta Grill is beautiful, I just couldn’t resist sitting outside. Atlanta Grill’s patio overlooks Peachtree Street and provides some pretty nice views of the nearby buildings. Of course, there was the occasional street noise, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying our dinner one bit.
Just after being seated, we were introduced to Silvio, the restaurant’s resident Sommelier. Although he really knows his stuff, he is completely humble about his knowledge, wanting to make suggestions never forcing his opinion on guests. The wine list is very diverse and I could have easily spent 30 minutes perusing it looking for the perfect wine, but we thought why not let the expert pick out our wines for us. He made some great choices that really opened up as we ate our meals. But more on that in a minute.
The menu isn’t huge, but has some standouts. It is mostly seafood and steaks with a couple southern favorites thrown in, a nod to the old south. A recent addition, is the Smokehouse dining options. The Smokehouse items are salmon, ribs, chicken or beef brisket. I hear that Chef Bennett Hollberg, Chef de Cuisine at Atlanta Grill has a real passion for smoking foods and it was his idea to add the Smokehouse options to the menu.
I had seen the Ox Tail ravioli on the online menu and decided I couldn’t miss that dish. The pasta was so fresh tasting. I’m not sure if it is made in house, but it sure tasted like it. The meat, while tender, was a tad on the salty side. Glen’s Arugula salad, although simple, topped with radishes and pecans, was light and flavorful. He was wise to choose something that wouldn’t fill him up as the best was still yet to come.
Silvio paired my ravioli with a Pinot Noir. And Glen had a Chardonnay. I’m not usually a fan of white wine but I did like this one as the oaky taste that tends to be apparent in most chardonnays was missing from this one. In case you were wondering, the brand of chardonnay is “ZD” and it is from CA.
When our server mentioned the special of the evening, an 8 oz filet with lump crabmeat on top – I was sold. Glen, although interested in the special as well, ordered the shrimp and grits. I was a little surprised, as I would have expected him to prefer the trout (with apples and walnut chutney) or halibut (in tarragon fennel broth), but being the good southerner he is, he went for the shrimp and grits.
Between the rolls, appetizers and entrees, this was plenty of food for the two of us, especially if we had any intention of eating dessert. But as sides aren’t included with meals, I at least wanted to sample a side dish while I was here. As one would expect of a steak and seafood restaurant, sides included mashed potatoes, creamed spinach and asparagus among a couple others. Portions are large and one is plenty for two people. So with little discussion, we both agreed on asparagus.
My filet was cooked medium and was extremely tender. I almost didn’t need the knife. The crab was delicious as well, not just thrown on top, but baked on top (see the slight browning on top of the crab).
I really love that the Atlanta Grill isn’t stingy with the crab portion as sometimes restaurants can be – no crab shortage here. The meal, although simple, was very flavorful, probably what happens when you have fresh, quality food and know how to cook it right. And, while I did enjoy the wine reduction sauce, the meal can certainly stand alone.
Glen’s dinner was equally as delicious. I’ll admit, when he placed his order I thought to myself “shrimp and grits, really?” I have had shrimp and grits plenty of times, but never tasted any quite as unique as these. Aside from the fact that the shrimp were large, fresh and cooked perfectly, there was a hint of spicy tomato mixed in the grits that gave it an overall sweet and spicy taste. Wondering why the grits are green? It is the avocado cream sauce mixed in! Glen’s Chilean Pinot Noir went very well with his meal as to be expected.
As for my wine? Well, it was like liquid velvet – all 3 glasses! Good thing I wasn’t driving home. All great recommendations from Silvio. I really appreciated the fact that he gives guests a choice of two or three wines that will pair well with their meal rather than forcing them into the one of his choosing.
I almost forgot to mention the asparagus. Not a slight at the asparagus, just because there’s so much to say about the food. This jumbo asparagus was crisp and buttery at the same time.
By this time, we were pretty full, but the assistant manager, Jason Schmalz suggested that if we were too full for dessert, that we place an order to be delivered to our room later. The cheesecake we selected was to be delivered to our room about 2 hours later. Besides the beautiful plating, it was creamy, sweet and just enough to fill us up without feeling gluttonous.
If you haven’t been able to tell by now, there’s a BIG emphasis on unparalleled service at Atlanta Grill. Staff works together to provide an outstanding meal and experience, all while making it seem effortless. Looking around I could tell there were several groups celebrating special occasions, and Atlanta Grill was certainly a great choice for it.
181 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA 30303
404 659 0400