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Installation (Wordpress Part): Steakhead's Atlanta Eats Blog: September 2006

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Oceanaire- Making Waves in Midtown

I consider The Oceanaire to be in that same category of restaurant as Morton’s, Capital Grill and Ruth’s Chris- a very nice, but pricey upscale chain. Throughout the course of the year, there is not a lot of opportunity for me to go to these places. I tend to use the my limited opportunities for a dinner in this price range on restaurants unique to Atlanta, or my old standbys- Chop’s and Fogo.

But Restaurant Week should allow places like The Oceanaire to market themselves to people who would not normally consider this place for their “big night out”. Lady Steakhead and I chose it for Restaurant Week as it was the perfect opportunity to sample what they had to offer without breaking the bank.

The first thing that struck me about this place was its size; the restaurant space is large and fairly spread out. Even when full, you never really get the impression that it’s very busy. One of the reasons I like the Lobster Bar at Chops is the frenetic atmosphere that they have going on. The Oceanaire is just a tad too quiet.

The Restaurant Week menu is fairly limited when compared to the vast selections of fish on an ordinary day. For $25, you get a choice of 3 appetizers, 3 entrees and 3 desserts. One thing I did not realize was that the appetizer portions for Restaurant Week were only ½ sizes…and that seemed to apply to my cup of clam chowder, where the cup wasn’t completely full. I remember thinking this was odd at the time, like the chef didn’t stick the ladle all the way into the pot. But then I learned it was a business decision. C’mon guys, would it really kill the bottom line to give a full cup? I also thought they could have offered a bit of a better selection for the menu. Again, you are introducing yourself to a potentially brand new audience. The marketer in me would say you should show your patrons the full power of what the kitchen can do. This doesn’t mean you have to offer the Surf n Turf (though that would be nice), but how about a sample of the crab cakes that I have heard so much about? LS had the shrimp and grits, which I would recommend (especially if you got a full serving).

For entrees, we each had the wonderfully prepared “Black and Bleu” Mahi Mahi and we finished it off with slices of Key Lime Pie and White Chocolate Mousse Cake. The entrées were full sizes, but the desserts were half-sized. However, the dessert portions are so large that the half order would easily be enough. (Between the two desserts, definitely go with the Key Lime.)

I really hope The Oceanaire succeeds. Midtown is severely lacking in this kind of upscale, destination restaurant. While I enjoyed my first visit here, I am not sure if I got enough from this visit to have it climb into my “special event” rotation. The Restaurant Week menu just didn’t provide enough of a feel for me. And the fact is, the prices make it difficult for me to tell you when I think I will return. Having said that, if anyone wants to take me on their company’s expense account, I would be totally up for giving it another try!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Midtown Restaurant Week Is Here!!

It's now 5:30pm on Monday, and I'm 30 minutes away from my reservations at Oceanaire- as you can imagine, I am very excited! The past two weeks has seen a lot of new traffic to the Atlanta Eats blog, driven greatly be folks trying to get information on this great event. If you are heading out on the town this week to one of the participating establishments, I would love to hear about your experiences. In the Atlanta Eats Message Board, there is a section for readers to post their own Restaurant Reviews. Let me and the readers of the blog know where you went, what you liked, what you didn't like. My goal is to get at least one entry for every restaurant! Let me hear ya, ATL!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Paul's Restaurant- A Meal Worth Celebrating!

When our waiter asked us what we were celebrating on Saturday night at Paul's Restaurant, the response from Lady Steakhead and I was simultaneous and immediate. "We have a babysitter!" It has seemed like a year since we have had a night out, but our meal at Paul's made it worth the wait. Paul Albrecht, of Panos and Paul's fame, opened his own restaurant in the Peachtree Hills neighborhood last year. This was our first visit, but based on this experience, we will definitely be back!

Paul's offers two distinct spaces within the restaurant. The upstairs is quieter and more condusive to a romantic dinner. The downstairs space also houses the bar, a piano player, and an open kitchen, and is a more lively setting to dine. This was definitely more our style. Paul's offers an extensive (and somewhat complex) wine list, but I am going to save you all a lot of trouble. The house vineyard on Page 1 includes both a Chardonnay and a Cabernet, and sells for $6/glass or $25/bottle. Given how good the food is here, save your $$$ for that. The house wine is more than serviceable.

Paul's menu is quite diverse offering sushi, steaks, seafood, and Paul's signature dish for the past 25 years- the deep fried lobster tail, which can be ordered as an appetizer or an entree. LS and I split an order for an appetizer, along with an order of yellowtail sashimi. They were both phenomenal. The yellowtail was amongst the best I have had in the city, and the deep fried lobster tail? Well, we just couldn't stop with the appetizer portion. We each went with the Combination Grill for our entree, which includes a petit filet, a generous-sized lamb chop and 1/2 deep fried lobster tail. Yes, this was pure decadence (see picture above).

Paul's has jumped to the top of my list of favorite restaurants in Atlanta. The food is first rate, and the atmosphere is fun and inviting (we even saw several tables with kids). Chef Paul makes the rounds and chats with almost all his patrons. The cool thing here is that you can spend as much or as little as you want. We were extravagant, and no regrets. But a couple could definitely grab an appetizer, split a bottle of wine and enjoy 2 entrees and be out for under $100. We ran into a friend from business school who lives nearby, who said this is his "neighborhood place". I am jealous.

Steakhead Recommends: YES, YES, YES
Price: $$$-$$$$

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Steakhead in

Jaclyn Stevenson, a young, freelance writer from Boston recently visited Atlanta to do a story for on how to tour Atlanta via MARTA. Unlike other large cities, where using mass transit is second nature to its citizens, Atlantans probably spend more time complaining or insulting our transit system, than actually riding it. I thought this piece was thought provoking in that many visitors a year probably see our city in this exact way, without any of the prejudices us residents would direct toward this method of travel. While I am a very large advocate of increasing our mass transit options (and getting some state help in reaching that goal- Sonny or Mark Taylor, are you listening), we do have a fairly serviceable system that can get the job done.

Anyhoo, while writing this article, she interviewed Steakhead to get some insight into some of the restaurants she saw and visited. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Finally, after 14 years, the Braves reign as the kings of their division has ended. It seems the Baseball Gods have tired of the Braves traditional October swoon and will be giving someone else a chance to represent the NL East. A team (the Mets) that actually has a chance of making it past the Division Series, something the Braves have done just once in their last 6 appearances. A team (the Mets) that can win the NL pennant, something the Braves have not done at all this century. A team (the Mets) that can perhaps even win the World Series, something the Braves have done only once since their run began. In contrast, the New York Yankees, who have their own run of 8 Division titles (9 if you include this year), have won 3 World Championships, and can rightfully claim to be the dominant team of the last 10 years. Hell, even the Florida Marlins, in the Braves own division, have won 2 Championships since the Braves last title in 1995.

Yes, its obvious to say the Braves have not done much with their admittedly-impressive run. One red flag amidst a sea of yellow flags highlighting missed opportunities. How will history treat the Braves? Will they be regarded any more than the Buffalo Bills of Major League Baseball? Probably, but not much more. As for now, there is a new sheriff in town atop the NL East, and as the slogan says, "The Team. The Time. The Mets."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tamarind Moving to Colony Square

The rumors of Tamarind's demise finally became reality this week, as the popular Thai eatery on 14th St. shut its doors to make room for a massive road improvement project (and most likely making one of the main arteries in Midtown even less pedestrian-friendly than it already is. And we want to become a 24-hour city...). The good news is, according to the AJC, that my favorite Thai place will be re-opening in Colony Square in November where the Corner Bakery once stood- now home to That's A Burger. While that spot has seen plenty of turnover over the last 3-4 years, you have to figure this location will be a significant upgrade over the poor parking situation at Tamarind's original location.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I Asked And I Shall Receive- Midtown Atlanta Restaurant Week!

Now this is more like it- Two Urban Licks, The Oceanaire Room, The Globe- these are just a few of the choices for the 1st ever Midtown Restaurant Week from Sunday September 24- Saturday September 30. The deal is pretty much the same- $25 for a set three-course meal. Other participating restaurants include ENO, The Grape (Midtown and Atlantic Station), Lobby at Twelve, Mid-City Cuisine, Mitra, One Midtown Kitchen, PieBar, The Real Chow baby, Shout, Spice, Taurus, Toast, and VinoCity. Make rerservations by calling the restaurant of your choice.