THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Element Gastro Lounge + Food Lab
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THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Element Gastro Lounge + Food Lab Restaurant Review: Returning to Atlanta from a brief stint in Miami, Richard Blais, a protégé of the renowned Spanish culinary explorer Ferran Adrià, brings that "what if?" attitude back into the culinary scene. In January 2007, owners Christopher Neal and Anouk Esmail opened the restaurant in the former Cherry location after dressing up the bordello red interior. The launch was greeted with yawns. When Blais returned to Atlanta looking for opportunity, the pair re-birthed it as an experimental, contemporary adventure. What you buy here is invention, not a "topped with" recitation. Little gifts will emerge from the kitchen between courses, such as a "sashimi" of melon and goat cheese under a color, texture and taste contrast of beet "caviar." You could open with raw or hot appetizers, but why not have some of each? Kumamoto oysters announced with "pearls" of cantaloupe might be a starter or a "ravioli" of spring tomato carpaccio enfolded in thinly shaved jicama. Playing with regional tastes is a key "element" on this menu, as in the cole slaw sorbet (and it really tastes like classic cole slaw) with a tiny sandwich of pulled pork barbecue on toasted bread. The presentation is in a deep bowl covered with plastic wrap, which the server then pierces with a knife to let the aromas waft forward with the pent-up steam. For dessert check out anything with the sweet iced tea ice cream, which may come perched on yuzu custard and paired with mint syrup. One disappointment is the wine list, which, while it contains worthy items, is way too short and way too timid for the kind of journey the kitchen provides.