Sunday, July 19, 2015


99 Krog Street
Atlanta, GA 30307
Phone:(404) 600-6199

My husband and I decided to try a new restaurant Saturday night meeting old college friends downtown.  We had run into these friends on a recent trip to Paris, France, and we thought a French restaurant (that has gotten rave reviews) would be perfect.

The Luminary is located in Krog Street Market, one of the hippest places in town right now.  Unfortunately, getting there (for us at least) proved to be challenging.  There was a Braves game that night, but regardless of that, traffic was horrendous.  Krog Street just isn't that easy to get to.

But, the restaurant was extremely accommodating, and we were able to push our reservation back by 15 minutes easily.

Here we are getting ready to be sitting in traffic--- just realizing in our rush to leave for dinner we didn't know we were basically wearing matching outfits... ;)

 We valet parked in the parking garage adjacent to the restaurant and quickly walked inside.  The restaurant has exposed high ceilings and a sleek industrial casual feel.

I SO wanted to love this restaurant!  I've read great things about Eli Kirshtein, the Executive Chef and Partner who is from Atlanta and was a "Top Chef: Las Vegas" contestant. It's called an American brasserie, but it's also claiming to be French and includes classic French dishes such as steak frites and croque monsieur.

Our server arrived promptly and offered us water while we waiting for our friends to arrive. He was soft spoken and I must say, didn't offer a lot to the dinner.  While I don't want a server that is constantly hovering, we didn't get a lot of attention (such as, "How was your meal?" etc.) either.
 We decided to go with a cocktail to start and all of us were enticed by the same one - sounded very refreshing on a 90+ degree night in Atlanta, GA!
Old Fourth Vodka, Cider, Blackberry Lemon
 The drink was yummy - I associate cider more with the Fall however, but it was good just the same.

And very good French bread was presented with delicious salted butter.
We then decided to order a few appetizers and were told that we needed to decide on entrees as well or else the food may be held up coming out to us.  So our server left us for a few minutes while we all decided on entrees, THEN we ordered it all at once.

We went with 3 appetizers.  The first was prawns served with cocktail sauce, horseradish and lemon.  The guys enjoyed these - I passed though - having eyes staring at me wasn't very appetizing.  The guys said they were OK though.

Next appetizer was octopus.  It was good, but I'm not sure I'd order it again.  I LOVE octopus, but there are other restaurants (such as St Cecilia and The Optimist) that do it better.  And I liked the cucumber/tzatzizi "salad" that came with it, but at the same time it was sort of a confusing addition.  And I would have liked more "kick" with the octopus itself.  We all ate every bite however.
I had read that they have foie gras but it was not on the menu.  I asked our server about it and he said it was available (but they didn't have a lot, so that's why it was not listed).  So we ordered that one as well.  It was just OK.  We had had stupendous foie gras in Paris, so maybe we are totally spoiled?  It was served atop a waffle (something similar to what we had sampled at L'Avant Comptoir), but it came across a bit bland to me.  The rich decadent nature of the foie gras was lacking in my opinion.  Again, we ate every bite, but even though it was visually appealing the flavor was missing something.

 Then it was time for the entrees.

I went with the Snapper en Papillote which was served with scallions, tomatoes and green beans - even though the menu said squash and fennel.  There were mandolin sliced pieces of zucchini in the bottom, but I didn't taste fennel at all.  It was a fine dish but I felt like it lacked flavor.  Right after our entrees arrived we were asked by our server if we wanted them to add salt and pepper - now I know why.  It screamed for salt, pepper AND lemon too.
 My friend ordered the swordfish and kale chips.  I thought it was tasty but she wasn't thrilled with it, thinking that the swordfish was a bit overcooked.  The flavor in the celery root puree though was very good.

 My husband went with the pork chop with field peas.  It wasn't bad.  I don't think he would order it again, but it was tasty enough.
 Our other friend ordered their coq au vin.  I've never seen coq au vin prepared this way - over mushroom grits and with country ham. It was good, but (the picture maybe doesn't show you exactly) but for someone with an appetite, it was a small dish.  I thought it was beautiful to the eye, but if you were hoping for a nice brothy coq au vin and accompanying cognac/red wine/chicken broth au jus, you're going to be disappointed.
Finally we decided to split a couple of desserts - the Lemon tart and the Coffee Finacier.

 The Coffee Finacier looked better than it tasted.  We ended up leaving half of it on the plate.  The coffee flavor was too strong, but it lacked richness, and the chocolate sorbet tasted watery to me.  It's supposed to be akin to a sponge cake I realize, but the dessert just wasn't a big hit for us. However, it was a very attractive dessert on the plate.
The big hit of the entire evening (other than spending time with great friends) was the Lemon Tart!  Sadly, it was a small portion, as we were scrambling for a bite!  It was just what you'd want in a tart - perfect execution of the crust and strong lemony tart/sweet flavor in the filling.  We loved it.
So, in the end, we had a wonderful evening catching up with old friends, but I don't see myself returning to The Luminary for a while.  The food was adequate, good but not great, and we all felt it was lacking in a lot of areas.  The atmosphere is fun though, and Krog Street Market is very cool.  They just need to hone a few things in the kitchen for the place to get 5 stars.  But...that lemon tart was amazing!

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