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November 2009 Archive

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Adding to his string of classic Atlanta restaurants, Pano Karatassos has opened his long-awaited Bistro Niko in the Sovereign, a luxury high-rise condominium. The executive chef is Gary Donlick, who was the last chef at Pano's & Paul's before it closed as planned after 30 years in Buckhead. The French-style Bistro Niko opened its doors for dinner on November 5. Lunch service followed on November 12. Now the Sovereign's residents have a number of dining choices without having to leave the building. The restaurant's understated elegance evokes the Gaslight Era of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Romance is everywhere, with booths for two against the walls and well-spaced tables throughout, making the large room feel cozy and intimate. At a curved bar in the back of the restaurant, guests may sip cocktails while enjoying the scenic views of Peachtree Road. Classic French bistro fare includes croque monsieur, ravioli de lapin, hachis parmentier de veau (a veal shepherd's pie), sole à la Barigoule (a sauce of puréed vegetables with carrots and artichokes) and other French delights. A wine list focused on French wines supports the bill of fare most admirably. Brunch started December 6. Lunch Mon.-Sat., Dinner nightly, Brunch Sun. Bistro Niko, Sovereign, 3344 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30326, 404-261-6456.
Chef Todd Ginsberg has seen it all, from working for Frédéric Robert and Alain Ducasse to TAP and TROIS (now closed) in the Concentrics Restaurant group. We also remember the graceful fare he helped create at Asher in Roswell. Now he's heading the team at Bocado (Spanish for "mouthful"), where his gift for developing exciting small plates will make this inventive establishment a destination in the Marietta Street redevelopment area of downtown Atlanta. Seeking out the best of local ingredients, Ginsberg produces comfort fare such as braised veal cheeks on grits, chicken thigh on fried polenta with Brussels sprouts and bacon, and his version of the Mexican "torta," with ham, roast pork, chilies and cheese. Sweet Grass Dairy cheeses from South Georgia and a warm chocolate tart convey the kind of cooking one finds in this comfort moderne-style establishment. There's also a classical panna cotta with minced fresh fruits on top. Lots of in-house-made touches convey a unique and personal style. Lunch & Dinner Mon.-Sat. Bocado, 887 Howell Mill Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA 30318, 404-815-1399.
Lupe Atlanta restaurateur Riccardo Ullio has opened Lupe, a Mexican taqueria, in the Midtown space formerly occupied by Cuerno, which was devoted to Spanish cuisine. Named for the Virgin of Guadalupe, Lupe features a menu that captures the bold and customary tastes, ingredients and dishes of Mexico in appetizers, quesadillas, salads, tacos, sides and traditional dishes. The dessert menu showcases a peppery Aztec chocolate mousse, smooth guava crème brûlée, and classic flan. Tequilas and drinks based on mescal are among the beverage offerings. Allusions of Mexican culture and imagery and a Spanish Colonial feel shape the restaurant's décor. Located between the main dining room and the bar, a 14-seat communal Scorpion Table invites sharing dishes. Open for dinner Tuesday-Thursday from 6:30 p.m.-midnight and Friday-Saturday from 6:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Each Thursday evening, the restaurant will host Rumba y Sabor, live salsa dancing events. For more information, visit or call 678-904-4584. Dinner Tues.-Sat. Lupe, 905 Juniper St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, 678-904-4584.

News Bytes

57th Fighter Squadron Restaurant Returns
In October, the engines of the old 57th Fighter Squadron Restaurant roared back to life like a renovated B-17 bomber, ripping a new page right out of WWII nostalgia. The place is named in honor of the old 57th Pursuit Group that was organized in 1940 and activated in January 1941 at old Mitchell Field, LI, NY. The original restaurant, closed for some years, re-created the specter of a French farmhouse of the era with WWII memorabilia throughout the grounds. The food and wine both were then less interesting than the circumstances, as patrons could sit at tables and watch planes take off and land at the nearby general aviation airport. Appearing partially bombed out, the building with randomly arranged dining spaces is a visual "I'll Be Seeing You," and the sound system runs through endless replays of vintage tunes. Today, the menu is American with Southern touches, focused on steaks, seafood, roasted chicken and short ribs at dinner--all served in he-man portions. Sunday brunch is a buffet, after which (3 p.m.) a bar menu is available until 8 p.m. This is a great place to bring kids and let them in on the history of an almost-vanished era. In charge of the kitchen at the revived 57th is chef Mo Darger, tapped for the position from Utah. Dancing and music will come after the first of the year. The 57th Fighter Squadron Restaurant, 3829 Clairmont Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30341, 770-234-0057.
Village Tavern Provides More Service with a Private Room
Village Tavern in Alpharetta has added a new private dining room to its service space. Seating up to 80 guests and featuring draped curtains to separate the area from the main dining space, the new facility offers a fireplace and a combination of tables as well as small and large booths. This area may be used for a wide range of events, from family and corporate holiday parties and birthday celebrations to business lunches, wedding rehearsal dinners and more. The entire wide-ranging menu is available, or patrons may create a special customized menu. Village Tavern, 11555 Rainwater Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30004, 770-777-6490.
Holiday Ice Skating at The St. Regis Atlanta
The Astor Holiday Rink debuted on December 2 for The St. Regis Atlanta hotel's inaugural holiday season. The ice skating rink will be open from noon-8 p.m. daily throughout the month of December. Skating sessions will start every hour, on the hour, and will be priced at $30 per hour for adults and $15 per hour for children under the age of 16. Guests and visitors are encouraged to make arrangements in advance as space is limited. The rink will complement the hotel's other holiday offerings, including holiday tea and "Tea with Santa." The Christmas tree will hold one-of-a-kind ornaments by Atlanta's noted glass artist, Hans Fräbel. The restaurant, Paces 88, will offer special menus for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. Reservations for ice skating may be made by calling 404-563-7950. The St. Regis Atlanta, 88 W. Paces Ferry Rd., Atlanta, GA 30305, 404-563-7900.

Chef Shuffle

Enrico Liberato came to Atlanta to work at Fritti, with Riccardo Ullio, but has shifted his loyalties to a new pizza operation that has everybody buzzing. Antico Pizza Napoletana, newly opened in Home Park, has his full-time attention now. The owner is Giovanni di Palma, from New York City, and Luca Varuni handles the front of the house and the desserts. The place bakes pizza in wood-burning ovens. All pies come in one size: large. Lunch & Dinner daily. Antico Pizza Napoletana, 1093 Hemphill Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30318, 404-724-2333.
Drew VanLeuvan showed his considerable style at several Atlanta restaurants, including now-closed Spice, Saga, where he was top toque, and others. After Saga, he joined Concentrics, which recognized talent it wanted to save for itself so hired him at TROIS, also now closed. VanLeuvan has taken over the kitchen at ONE. midtown kitchen, while Tom Harvey has gone over to Murphy's. Harvey, who held top toque at Nava before coming to ONE, is a good fit for the comfort food that's Murphy's stock in trade. And as for Murphy's former chef Gregg McCarthy? We hear he's launching a new project---his own restaurant perhaps---in Florida. ONE. midtown kitchen, 559 Dutch Valley Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30324, 404-892-4111.


Take your taste buds on a walk down memory lane! Check out our exclusive closed restaurant database for Atlanta to virtually visit your favorite dining spots from the past. Bazzaar, R.I.P.

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