Monday, October 1, 2018

Tiny Lou's

We went with long time friends to Tiny Lou's this past Friday night prior to a Georgia Tech football game weekend.  The restaurant was on my radar, and then my adult "kids" went last weekend, and it then became a "must go-to" spot.  I lean toward anything French, and I heard the food was nothing short of spectacular, so, we went...

789 PONCE DE LEON AVENUE NE
ATLANTA, GA  30306
470-485-0085

Menu here

We entered via uber the main entrance to the Hotel Clermont (which houses Atlanta's oldest strip club, the infamous Clermont Lounge).  The name is from a dancer at the lounge from the 1950s.

We were swiftly and hospitably and directly down a wide staircase to the restaurant.  There were 4 of us, so 6:00PM was the only time that I could grab on a week's notice (other than 8:30pm, which is too late when we were going to be tailgating EARLY the next day).

Anyway, our friends met us almost immediately after we arrived and we were seated.  The place was not crowded at first but within 30 minutes the place was crowed and bustling and loud.

Our server was fantastic - he arrived promptly and took our orders.  Throughout the evening he was present but not intrusive - high energy and his excitement over the menu items was infectious.  We couldn't wait to dig in!

NOT MY HULA HOOP!
Old Fourth gin, lime cordial, St. Germain, hopped grapefruit bitters

We started with ordering drinks, and I went with this yummy concoction (but substituted vodka since I abhor gin).  It was fabulous - not too sweet and ice cold.



Rooibos-infused Bahnez mezcal, vermouths blanc & rouge, Peychaud’s bitters, Herbsaint

 The bread plates feature a dancer from the Claremont Lounge:

For starters we began with the foie gras - OMG!  Having spent time in Paris sampling foie gras, THIS one might be my favorite!  The rich creamy texture is there, but there's a twist: a blue cheese flavor that cuts through the richness.  I could've eaten the entire thing on the delicious bread all night long!

 BLACK COCOA FOIE GRAS TORCHON . . . . Rainier cherries caline, toasted brioche

MAINE DIVER SCALLOPS. Potato mousseline, charred broccolini, espelette, dark chicken jus 

I am not a scallop fan, but - the other 3 at dinner loved this dish!
 Octopus appetizer - was absolutely DELICIOUS!

Unfortunately I didn't get a description that was adequate for this dish but it was a perfectly prepared octopus.  There wasn't a bite left.
 BLUE FIN CRAB CREPE Black corn butter, tomatoes juliette, watermelon radish, watercress

LOVED this crepe!  Wow!  The photo doesn't do it justice!  We all devoured it!
 CAROLINA POULET ROUGE 
Cèpes, aligot, haricot verts, espelette

My photo is not good, but this chicken dish was killer!  And the rich mashed potato side was off the charts good!
 BLUE RIDGE TROUT ALMONDINE Haricot vert, capers, cipollini, toasted almond, almond milk, sourdough brown butter

Two of us got the trout and loved it.  Perfectly prepared fish and that brown butter!  So so good!
BUTTER BEAN & CORN FRICASSEE 

Fabulous side of expertly cooked butter beans!
Tiny Lou's outstanding Old Fashioned: 
 The Aligot (mashed potatoes) - unreal!
PAN ROASTED GROUPER Potato confit, beech mushrooms, leeks, rouille bread crumbs,
sauce bouillabaisse 

This grouper is new on the menu (taking the place of the sea bass) and I didn't have any, but my husband loved it!
CHARRED BROCCOLINI béarnaise 

Not meaning to sound like a broken record here, but this dish also - expertly prepared!  The broccolini was just cooked so it wasn't limp and the béarnaise was delish!
 ODE TO BLONDIE 
brown butter blondie, curried bananas flambe, buttermilk ice cream, hazelnut cremeaux

Had to try this dessert (and "ode" to the Clermont Lounge's most famous stripper, BLONDIE)!  The blondies were perfect but the hazelnut cremeaux was what set this dessert over the top.  It tasted like salted caramel to me (my current obsession).  So wonderful!

It was such a fun dining experience.  Cannot say enough about this restaurant.  We had a ball catching up with old friends in such a delightful Atlanta establishment.

After dinner we rode the elevator to the rooftop for an after dinner drink.  The sun had set unfortunately, BUT there are killer Atlanta views.  It was a mild weather night, and it was such a fun spot to mix and mingle.









Can't wait to find another excuse to come back to Tiny Lou's!  Top to bottom, it has catapulted to the top of my list of favorite spots to dine in Atlanta.  Loved it!

Friday, June 8, 2018

EMPIRE STATE SOUTH

Been looking forward to trying out this eatery!


Empire State South's website states that it takes a "modern approach to creating authentic Southern dishes, relying on the beautiful foods of this region."

 999 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA 30309
404-541-1105

Located in Midtown

Pics from their website:


And one from the interior:

From their website:

Josh Hopkins is the Executive Chef of Empire State South.
Joshua Hopkins is the Executive Chef at Empire State South. He was raised in Atlanta, GA. He learned how to cook from the women in his family and by watching cooking shows like “Wok with Yan.” Chef Hopkins’s philosophy is simple, “cook good, local food.” In lieu of culinary school, Hopkins started his career with a formal apprenticeship for French Master Chef Christian Chemin. He has since worked in many acclaimed restaurants throughout the Southeast. He spent the first 8 years of his career working in Charleston. During that time he cooked at Slightly North of Broad and High Cotton. Upon his return to Atlanta he worked as the Chef de Cuisine of Bacchanalia and at Abbatoir, where he served as Chef and co-owner. He then took the lead at STG Trattoria. Josh came to Empire State South during the summer of 2014. In his free time Josh enjoys spending time with his wife, Kristine and their two dogs, playing Frisbee golf and cooking with family.
Hugh Acheson is the author of the James Beard Foundation Award Winning Cookbook “A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen,” “Pick a Pickle: 50 Recipes for Pickles, Relishes, and Fermented Snacks,” and “The Broad Fork: Recipes for the Wide World of Vegetables and Fruits.” He is a chef/partner of the Athens, Georgia, restaurants 5&10, The National, the Atlanta restaurant Empire State South, and The Florence in Savannah. He is a James Beard award winner for Best Chef Southeast and was named a Best New Chef by Food & Wine Magazine. Hugh competed in Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, Season 3 and currently stars as a judge on Top Chef.

We have been wanting to try this restaurant for years, and we finally pulled the trigger!

As you walk toward the restaurant there are outdoor seats and a bocce ball court.


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

IL LOCALINO

A close friend of mine raved about this restaurant about a year ago, so I just HAD to try it out for myself.  On a rare night with no plans, my husband and I braved Atlanta traffic and headed to Virginia Highlands to visit:


467 N Highland Ave NE 

Atlanta, Georgia 30307 

(404) 222-0650


When you enter Il Localino you are immediately struck by the decor - think kitschy cheesy Italian decor: paper lanterns adorn the ceilings, Frank Sinatra playing, not a space that isn't taken.

We were greeted warmly and quickly and escorted to our seats with menus.  We were in the mood for wine and found this gem on the menu - SO good:


 Next we chose an appetizer, and we were glad we chose the one we did -
Reggiano Parmigiano, Pesto & Olives

They bring this appetizer on a cart to the table and the server carefully slices fresh Parmesan for your table.  That is served with a bowl of great olives and pesto sauce.  Not sure about the pesto though?  It was good, but it was sort of an odd accompaniment to me.  But they bring you fabulous bread, so I slathered some bread with it, and it was delicious.  Lovely way to start the evening.

Wall decor:
 We then split a salad going with:
ORGANIC MIXED GREEN SALAD
The salad fit the bill - nicely coated with a vinaigrette. Very tasty without being too filling.
 After the salad course the server brought out some lemon sorbet as a palate cleanser - nice touch.
 Entree time!

My husband chose the Lasagne - absolutely fabulous!!!
 I went with the veal parmigiana (which I haven't had in years), and it was fantastic.  Absolutely loved it.  We were both fighting over which meal was tastier!
 And we begged off dessert, but we were surprised by bring brought a sampler of items as a gift.  Well who are we to NOT sample free dessert?  Chocolates, raspberry schmear and cheesecake. Very yummy.

All in all it was a very fun night!  If you can get past the crazy decor, the food at Il Localino is very good.  The service was also very very good - they treat you well and don't let you want for anything. If you're in the mood for some comfort food Italian, Il Localino is the place to go!

MENU FROM THEIR WEBSITE:

  • $15.00
Reggiano Parmigiano, Pesto & Olives
  • $11.95
Zuppa di Mussels
  • $15.00
Italy's Finest Imported Cold Cuts
  • $14.95
Domestic Fried Calamari with Marinara
  • $14.95
Maine Lobster Bisque
  • $15.00
Prosciutto Melon
  • $9.50
Organic Mixed Green Salad
  • $11.00
Classical Caesar Salad
  • $11.95
Mozzarella Caprese
  • $15.50
Organic Farm to Table Arugula Salad with the Finest Burrata
  • $21.95
Pappardelle Sinatra
  • $21.95
Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • $21.95
Fettuccine Alfredo
  • $21.95
Gnocchi alla Vodka
  • $21.95
Cheese Ravioli Marinara alla Donna Carmela
  • $21.95
Rigatoni Bolognese
  • $21.95
Linguine Alla Don Michaele with Fresh Chopped Tomatoes, Basil, Garlic & EVOO
  • $23.95
Linguine with White Clam Sauce
  • $22.95
Eggplant Parmigiana
  • $24.95
Boneless Breast of Chicken in Madeira Sauce with Mushrooms
  • $24.95
Chicken Parmigiana
  • $26.95
Jumbo Shrimp Marinara or Fra Diavolo
  • $29.95
Wild Filet of Sole Piccata with White Wine, Lemon & Capers
  • $29.95
Veal Parmigiana
  • $34.95
Sliced Medallions of Filet Mignon in Vecchia Romagna Brandy with Mushrooms
  • $39.95
World Famous Cioppino Seafood Feast
  • $39.95
Lamb Osso Bucco
  • $75.00
Alaskan King Crab sautéed in Olive Oil, Garlic, Butter, White Wine & Fresh Herbs
  • $22.95
Arugula Salad with Poached Salmon, Finocchio and Dill Vinaigrette
  • $34.95
Scallopini of Veal in Champagne Sauce with Mushrooms Dolce Latte
  • $8.50
Spinach Monachina Sautéed in Olive Oil & Garlic
  • $8.50
Broccoli Sautéed in Olive Oil & Garlic
  • $9.50
Asparagus Gratinati
  • $8.50
Grilled Shrimp
  • $8.50
Grilled Chicken
  • $8.50
Meatballs
  • $8.50
Pasta Marinara