Wednesday, October 3, 2012

BABETTE'S CAFE FOR A BELATED BIRTHDAY!

My husband and I made the trip to Babette's Cafe recently as guests of my mother and her husband to celebrate my husband's birthday.
Photo Credit: Babette's Cafe
BABETTE'S CAFE
573 North Highland Avenue
Atlanta, GA  30307
Ph. (404) 523-9121

Chef/Owner: Marla Adams

While I've been to Babette's Cafe a couple of times before, each experience has been a bit different. The food has been good, but the service has been a little inconsistent in the past.

However, on this evening, the service and the food were outstanding.

When we walked in the door, we were warmly greeted by the Chef/Owner, Marla Adams. Ms. Adams was previously with the Peasant Restaurant group as well as Buckhead Life Group.  She opened Babette's in the fall of 1992.  She and the restaurant are celebrating 20 years in Atlanta!

As you look around the restaurant, you will immediately feel transported to Europe. The restaurant is in an old house on North Highland Avenue, and it is decorated with attention to detail so that you feel comfortable and relaxed as soon as you are seated. And while our last visit, we were not too pleased with our server or the wait for our food coming out of the kitchen at times, on this visit, the server, Robin, who is an 8 year veteran of Babette's, was very good. He was knowledgeable and helpful with navigating the menu.

We sat down and were immediately presented with a wonderful baguette with fresh butter to nosh on.  It was great, and I just loved the rustic presentation in a galvanized bucket.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

We started with cocktails which included my current fav - Moscow Mule. Unfortunately this drink wasn't the highlight of our evening. After I "sold" it to my mother, she ordered one as well. The bartender was a bit heavy handed with the lime, and each sip of the drink caused the pucker factor. Once the ice melted it was drinkable, but they need to work on those ratios.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue



The menu is beautifully presented, and it was tough to make a decision, as so many items were appealing.  The menu provides, as their website states, "very traditional peasant dishes done with an up-to-date character and flavors."


Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue


They also offer a Prix Fixe supper menu that we didn't choose, but it looked fantastic:



The first course was very good, but we gobbled it up so fast that I was unable to take any pictures. But 3 of us ordered the following:

*a romaine and arugula salad with shaved parmesan and a creamy dressing - Romaine and Arugula Salad with shaved asiago and lemon thyme dressing

*a bowl of beer cheese soup - Beer Cheese Soup with Brioche Croutons

*a seasonal beet and pear salad - Roasted Baby Beets with Goat Cheese and D'Anjou Pears

The green salad was delicious - light with a nice marriage of flavors. But the real hero here was the soup! It was fabulous - not too heavy, but the seasonings were just right. The beet and pear salad was (to quote my mother), "Just OK." Babette's is my mother's FAVORITE restaurant in Atlanta, and she's ordered another beet salad they've had in the past and loved it, but this one didn't fit the bill for her.

Then we moved on to the main courses which fortunately were all very good.

The birthday boy (my husband) ordered a beef filet with gorgonzola sauce - Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Gorgonzola Saucewith horseradish mashed potatoes and spicy onion rings, and it was out of this world. The meat was cooked to perfection, and the cheese was just right and not overpowering. I'd stack it up against any of the big pricey Atlanta/Buckhead steakhouses any day.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

I ordered the veal piccata - Veal Piccata - strauss free raised: with lemons, capers and butter sauce, seasonal vegetablesand I will tell you - it might be the best veal piccata I've ever tasted! It was pounded very very thin, so it was tender and not chewy, and with each bite you could taste the richness of the butter with the saltiness of the capers and lemon. Loved it! It came with a side dish of mashed
potatoes, french green beans and diced sweet potatoes. Those were very good as well.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

My mother got the sole - New England Sole with Grilled Fennel and Orange Compote,with organo potatoesand her's was strangely prepared I'll have to say.  It wasn't bad, but it also wasn't delicately prepared the way the French prepare sole.  My mother's reaction was tepid at best.  Maybe the fennel bothered her?

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
And finally, my mother's husband ordered pork medallions - Sauteed Medallions of Pork Tenderloin
with a whole grain mustard sauce and grilled asparagus, and he loved them.  I didn't have a taste, but the dish looked great.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

We were very full, so we only had an order of homemade pecan ice cream for dessert.  Wow!  Delish!  It was served in a Sundae glass along with 2 shortbread cookies.  Very nicely done.  My husband had a cappuccino with Bailey's that was devine.  Next visit I'll HAVE to have the chocolate bread pudding or creme brulee - both sounded amazing.

All in all, it was a fabulous dining experience.  So glad they fine tuned the kitchen timing and waitstaff.  But the real reason to go there is the food and atmosphere.  Marla Adams is a gift to Atlanta for sure!