Sunday, April 6, 2008

Fine Dining

Before we saw Frank Caliendo last week, we stopped into River Room and had a few cocktails and snacks. This restaurant is located on Northside Drive, right where Buckhead and Vinings come together. The restaurant is set amongst a few office and apartment buildings, but faces a cute courtyard that is always well landscaped. The patio is quiet and nice. We had the calamari and the blue cheese chips. The calamari was below average, and they cheaped out by mixing in diced red peppers as opposed to the more traditional and tasty cherry peppers. The blue cheese chips were good... homemade potato chips topped with tomatoes, scallions, and a blue cheese sauce. Conceptually, this is one of my favorite dishes and the River Room's version did not disappoint. I only wish the sauce would have been a tad warmer, it was more of a blue cheese dressing than a sauce. For the big dinner afterwards, we chose Pano's and Paul's. This restaurant came highly recommended as a good choice for a special occasion, and has been in Atlanta for 29 years. The online menu looked fab. (We also considered Rathbun's, which I still can't wait to try, and is definitely on our short list.) The dining room is quite beautiful, complete with plush round velvet booths. And I must say, the service is truly five star. However, that's what I've come to expect from restaurants like this. When you order 3 or 4 courses, plus wine and maybe champagne, who wouldn't want the best of the best when it comes to service? Speaking of champagne, we had to properly celebrate the occasion by popping a half bottle of Veuve Clicquot to start off. Yummy. (Diners Tip: All champagne, including the really good stuff, is half price on Friday nights.) The restaurant has a truly addictive spread that they serve with their bread... a velvety concoction of cream cheese, blue cheese, port wine and scallions. Oh......mah......Gawd. If I had a regular supply of that in my house I would need to have a work from home job just so I could have hourly access to it. For my first course, I had the spinach & watercress salad with warm bacon dressing and candied button shitake mushrooms. It was meh, nothing spectacular. The warm dressing was prepared tableside though, and I always love that. Along with the first course, we ordered a bottle of the 2002 Croze Cabernet from Napa. This was probably the best bottle of wine I have had in the last few years. Or maybe ever, it was seriously that good. According to my little wine vintage cheat sheet, most '02 California Cabs scored a 95 or higher, making them truly exquisite... and this girl does not turn down exquisite (or non-exquisite, for that matter) wine. For my main course, I ordered their best seller of 29 years: the signature cold water lobster tail, prepared with a thin crispy batter and served with clarified butter and honey mustard sauce. 100% divine. I love lobster, and though I ordinarily get it steamed or broiled, this preparation was excellent. The tail was a very good size and the crispy batter gave it a lovely saltiness. The clarified butter was the perfect compliment as usual, though I did not care for the honey mustard; it was too overpowering and it masked the taste of the lobster. It was a great honey mustard for your basic chicken tenders, but it was too much for this preparation. Overall though, a fantastic dish and such a treat. Hubs had the 39-hour beef short rib... cooked a perfect medium rare, even after being slow cooked for so long. It was very tender and well flavored. For dessert, the restaurant was kind enough to bring us a very delectable chocolate mousse. Overall a great anniversary with lots of laughs and indulgences. Definitely a time to celebrate! Pano's & Paul's on Urbanspoon River Room on Urbanspoon

2 Say It Loud & Proud:

Kim said...

congrats on your anniversary! Sounds like a great evening.
You will not be disappointed in Rathbuns! Here is my post about it. YUM! http://kimsblankcanvas.blogspot.com/2008/01/yuuummmy.html

Frenchie Tink said...

You have a great blog theme. keep it up!