Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" - ONE midtown kitchen

Welcome to Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers", a new monthly series by wanderlust ATLANTA and super-popular food Instagramer atlantafoodie! Our first stop on this 10-restaurant tour is ONE midtown kitchen!

What we believe is a unique spin on Top 10 lists, we're not counting down, but instead we're showcasing some of Atlanta's restaurants with numbers in their name! Some we've been to before and others will be a first-time experience. We're going to make all of them FUN!


Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

This series was fully developed in a matter of days. I woke up one morning and couldn't get back to sleep. I started thinking about story ideas for wanderlust ATLANTA and came up with this idea. I immediately thought to partner with Nikki—Instagramer extraordinaire, fellow food lover, and a dear friend—and within 24 hours we had a 10-month outline in place!

I've dined at ONE midtown kitchen since it first opened in 2002—on visits from DC and then regularly when I moved back to Atlanta in 2010. I remember the first time I walked in, it felt like I was in an elegant New York City restaurant...nothing like this had been done in Atlanta, not that I knew of. Nikki has dined here before, as well, but it'd been a few years.


Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Photo: atlantafoodie
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Photo: atlantafoodie

When we arrived, host Rick was wonderfully hospitable. I told him that I had a reservation, but that I would wait at the bar until my dining companion arrived. He didn't point to where the bar was....he walked me to bar! You rarely get such personal service. We chatted briefly with Rick a couple more times during the evening...super nice!

Nikki arrived before I could order a drink at the bar, but I've many times enjoyed a glass of wine and a cheese board after a long day at work at that bar. It's intimate, but has a clear view of the rest of the restaurant. Highly recommend. 

We went back to the maitre d' stand and Rick immediately seated us. We asked for a table "with good lighting"—the restaurant didn't know that we were coming or would be making photos for this series, but the staff was wonderful about it...zero judgement toward us! 

The restaurant's cocktail offerings rotate daily. Nikki had a Georgia Sour (pictured above: whiskey, lime juice, pecan + brown sugar simple) and loved it! I had the Peach Drop (vodka, elderflower liquor, simple, lemon juice, sparkling wine) and love it, too! I had a delightful Sauvignon Blanc with my dinner. There's a full bar, so they're going to have something you'll love!    


Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

We started with the Calamari! I first discovered calamari when I lived in Greece and I order it every chance I get. Nikki loves all kinds of seafood! Gotta love it when you're on the same palate page! 

The calamari were tasty and tender, but it was the accompanying sauces that make the dish stand out...Tikka Masala, Chaat Masala, and Citrus Yogurt. That plate went back empty! I could make a meal of this dish...and probably will at some point.


Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

We decided to enjoy a second appetizer—there were three of us. Everything on the menu looked amazing, but we opted for the Wood Roasted Octopus. Wow! Joseph told us it was tender and was it ever! 

It's served over butternut squash curry and a bed of lentils with mint and pickled jalapeno and finished with a sheet of papadum, an Indian "wafer". It's not only a gorgeous dish, it's full of gentle flavors, which was a pleasant surprise given some of the ingredients.

The appetizers were a smashing hit! We were ready for the next course.

Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Nikki, Dan, Travis
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Nikki, Dan, Travis

Almost immediately after we were seated, Nikki's husband Dan joined us. I've had the pleasure of knowing these two for more than a year. Nikki is not only a fellow foodie, she's a fellow sci-fi enthusiast! I don't get to see Dan as often as Nikki, but we're having a great time when we all get together. The last couple of times the three of us were hanging out included Torched Hop Brewery and Star 94's Jingle Jam.

Our server Joseph kindly offered to make this photo for us (above)...we didn't even have to ask! Look at the size of our entrees!


Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Photo: atlantafoodie
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Photo: atlantafoodie

It's rare that I share a photo of bread, unless the compound butter it's served with has roasted garlic and Gouda cheese! The pain d'epi (French-style bread shaped like a wheat stalk) was excellent without the butter, but together they're epic! I don't remember there being any left...we all really, really liked it!


Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Photo: atlantafoodie
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Photo: atlantafoodie

I had the Pork Schnitzel for my entree. I consider myself a savvy diner, but if you asked me what schnitzel was before this occasion, I could not have told you. Now I would tell you it's "Delicious"...full description! 

The schnitzel was as big as my over-sized plate! I definitely wasn't going to leave hungry. It's served over Gouda grits and coupled with smoked thumbelina carrots, lacinato kale and caramelized onions. I"m totally in love with this dish...for so many reasons—at least as many reasons as there are ingredients!

I wasn't able to finish the entire plate—it was a LOT of food! Joseph asked if I would like to take the rest home. Instead of bringing me a box and me have to scrape my food into a container for everyone in the restaurant to watch—so not glamorous—Joseph took my plate and returned with the goodies boxed up and in a handsome paper bag with handles. You gotta love a doggie bag with style! 


Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

Nikki had the Wood-Roasted Trout. This is not a filet...it's a whole fish, sans head and tail. A generous portion, it's served on a pool of clam chowder—which Nikki raved about; she loved how innovative the dish was—accompanied by roasted potatoes, salsify, basil oil, and topped with paddlefish caviar and fennel. 

We shared bites of our dishes and I can vouch that the trout is delicious! I'm not a fan of clam chowder, but it was indeed nice. I totally understood why this was Nikki's favorite dish.


Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Photo: atlantafoodie
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Photo: atlantafoodie

Dan enjoyed the C.A.B. Flat Iron, which is wood-grilled and served with chimichurri and demi. Dan's not usually a talkative gent, but we barely heard a word from him while he was enjoying this dish! He generously offered a taste, but I was already approaching maximum capacity!

The restaurant's menus change regularly, even though there are some signatures dishes that have been on the menu for 15 years!


Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | ONE midtown kitchen | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

Speaking of staying power, ONE's signature Kit Kat Bar is one that has stood the test of time, and for good reason! The "bar" is dense AND creamy and topped with cocoa nibs. It's plated with swirls of peanut butter and beet caramel—which we think is an adaptation of the original from years hence—and accompanied with butterscotch ice cream. 

You've seen how much food we've had at this point, so you'll be relieved to know that the three of us shared this amazing dessert. Joseph bought us sharing plates without having to ask. Yes, I was stuffed and had part of my entree boxed, but how could one say no to a dish like this. Yes...we demolished the dessert. It will be a challenge to not try something else the next time...this was that good!

"Compliments to the Chef!" And compliments to Joseph and Rick. We had a most delightful evening!

THINGS TO KNOW before going to ONE midtown kitchen:
  • There's no parking lot, but their complimentary valet is quick and friendly!
  • There is a coat check for the cooler months.
  • If you forget your glasses (a friend did on a previous visit), they have readers at the maitre d' stand.
  • Reservations are a good idea, but not required. 
  • Excellent for special occasions and groups!
  • You can't miss the building...you'll see its glowing purple door and sign!
OF NOTE: Bob Amick, founder and owner of Concentrics Restaurants, of which ONE midtown kitchen is a part, won the Georgia Restaurant Association's Lifetime Achievement Award at its 10th Annual GRACE Awards Gala two months ago.  

Here's our planned Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers", one per month in 2017:

ONE midtown kitchen
599 Dutch Valley Road, NE, Atlanta, GA 30324

TWO urban licks
820 Ralph McGill Boulevard, NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

Local Three Kitchen & Bar
3290 Northside Parkway, NW, Atlanta, GA 30327

Bar Margot at Four Seasons
75 14th Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

5Church Atlanta
1197 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30361

Six Feet Under
437 Memorial Drive, SE, Atlanta, GA 30312

Seven Lamps
3400 Around Lenox Road, NE, Atlanta, GA 30326

Eight Sushi Lounge
930 Howell Mill Road, NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

Nine Mile Station
675 Ponce de Leon Avenue, NE, Atlanta, GA 30308

10th & Piedmont
991 Piedmont Avenue, NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

Disclaimer: If you live in Atlanta or visit on a regular basis, you know how quickly the Atlanta restaurant scene can change. Our lineup is subject to change based on the Atlanta restaurant landscape over the first 10 months of 2017. Also, all opinions are our own and not at all influenced by the restaurant owners, staff or PR firms, whether we treated ourselves or were hosted by the said restaurant.

If you're enjoying this series, please follow:

atlantafoodie on Instagram
wanderlust ATLANTA on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Thank you for coming along on what we think will be a FUN food journey over the next 10 months. Our selection of restaurants is a subjective selection of what we think will be an exciting new way to experience Atlanta restaurants: "By the Numbers". Please, tell your friends and family what we're doing and invite them to also come along for the taste tour!


2 comments:

Clint said...

I LOVE this idea! Can't wait to read them all... And the photos are great. Thanks for reminding me about this gem!

Travis S. Taylor said...

Thanks so much for the kind words, Clint! Much appreciated!