Sunday, July 30, 2017

Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" - Seven Lamps

This month Nikki and I visited Seven Lamps. I'd never been, but she had been a few years ago. Located in the Shops Around Lenox, adjacent to Lenox Square, it's conveniently located in the heart of bustling Buckhead. It was an awesome dining experience!

Welcome back to our Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers", a monthly series by wanderlust ATLANTA and super-popular food Instagramer atlantafoodie! Our seventh stop on this 10 restaurant tour was Seven Lamps, a restaurant I've heard of for years, but had not yet tried.

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 names! Some we've been to before and others will be a first-time experience. We're going to make all of them FUN!

Seven Lamps | "By the Numbers" | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Seven Lamps | "By the Numbers" | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

We're going to start this post a little differently...we're starting with dessert

You've heard the tidbit of wisdom "Eat dessert first!" haven't you? Well, that's not what we did—although I have on numerous dining occasions—but I was so excited they had cinnamon ice cream that I felt compelled to start with that experience.

The dessert menu doesn't have so many options that it takes forever to find something you want, and it's varied enough that you'll definitely find something you like. And they offer dessert wines, dessert cocktails and even a root beer float!

The best restaurant ice cream I've ever had in my whole life was a cinnamon ice cream, so with wishes of reliving that nostalgic experience (Cinnamon ice cream is rare on menus!), I ordered the Cinnamon Ice Cream (photo above), a triple scoop on top of brown butter graham! It's topped with almond macaroons!

I was so full from our meal, but that didn't deter me from enjoying every last bite of the cinnamon ice cream. This dish elevates a simple ice cream dessert to a whole other magical experience! I'd have it again, and probably again and again. The rustic robin's egg blue bowl added to the nostalgic sensory experience. That's one of my favorite colors, too! 

Seven Lamps | "By the Numbers" | Photo: @atlantafoodie on Instagram
Seven Lamps | "By the Numbers" | Photo: @atlantafoodie

Nikki had the Eclair! They're topped with a kaffir lime mousse and white chocolate "pearls" and accompanied by blueberry, lime and basil compote

You already know that Nikki isn't a big sweets person, but she very much enjoyed this dish! She said, "It's very light and fluffy and the basil is mild and it's not too sugary." She too was stuffed, so took half of her eclair dessert home to her husband Dan, whom you met in the first of the "By the Numbers" series. 

Of Italian descent, Dan knows good food! Nikki told me later... Hesitantly, he sniffed the eclair and ... then it was gone!  He too liked it as much as Nikki had! That, my friends, tells you that this was another delicious dessert! Now I wish I'd had a bite when Nikki offered!

Whether you order dessert first or wait to savor it at the end of your meal, save room so that you can do just that...then, relax into it, get to know it, and enjoy the time you have together. Make dessert the wonderful experience these truly were! 

Seven Lamps | "By the Numbers" | Photo: @atlantafoodie on Instagram
Seven Lamps | "By the Numbers" | Photo: @atlantafoodie

We enjoyed two dishes from the Savouries menu and two from the Small Plates menu.

I enjoyed everything we had that evening, but my personal favorite was the Roasted Garlic Panisse. I love garlic, but the name didn't grab me ... at first. 

Our server Sean explained what it is—Panisse is made from chick pea powder, it has a crispy exterior and a creamy interior, similar to polenta. The accompaniments are generous dollops of black garlic and lemon aioli.  

We immediately ordered it. And upon arrival to our table, we immediately devoured it. I'll definitely have this again, if it's on the menu. If it does leave the menu, don't be surprised if you see me begging Chef Drew for the black garlic and lemon aioli recipes!

NOTE: The menu at Seven Lamps evolves, sometimes changing daily. The menus on the website might not be up-to-date, so know that going in. The good news is that whatever you order, it will be seasonal and fresh!

Seven Lamps | "By the Numbers" | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Seven Lamps | "By the Numbers" | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

We were dining alfresco. Inside the restaurant things were quite lively and it looked like great fun, but we opted for the lovely outside seating—where the lighting was excellent for photographs and where it's considerably quieter.

Being a number of weeks into summer, it was a warm evening, but not uncomfortable. A lighter dish was in order. Looking over the menu, the Local Lettuces Salad sounded light, but it was what's on/in the salad that locked me in. 

The butter lettuce, cherries, and vanilla granola all sounded wonderful, but it was the buttermilk vinaigrette that I was most looking forward to. I'm not a fan of plain buttermilk, but my grandmother made the best buttermilk biscuits in the the world! The buttermilk vinaigrette on this salad was absolutely lovely and the lightness I was looking for!

Seven Lamps | "By the Numbers" | Photo: @atlantafoodie on Instagram
Seven Lamps | "By the Numbers" | Photo: @atlantafoodie

The Stuffed Banana Pepper was huge...HUGE, I tell you! It delivers heat on multiple levels. It comes out of the kitchen hot! And its flavor profile offers plenty of spicy hot! 

I like spicy hot dishes, as does Nikki but she evidently got a super spicy bite. It wasn't a deterrent, mind you, it just became a topic of conversation as the pepper gradually disappeared from the rustic blue plate, a dinner size plate. That pepper was HUGE! And the plates come out warm, to help keep your food warm longer. A nice touch that you don't see everywhere.

The pepper is stuffed with carolina gold rice, roasted summer peppers, corn, and asiago, then it's tempura fried. Wholly delicious!

Seven Lamps | "By the Numbers" | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Seven Lamps | "By the Numbers" | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

The Chacuterie and the Artisan Cheeses come in 1, 3 or 5 selection options. We had one charcuterie and one cheese. The accompaniments are plentiful! On our visit, we enjoyed 420 beer mustard, pickles, pickled grapes, a pumpkin seed/pecan brittle, and grilled baguette. 

This was a fun and flavorful board...we both loved it!

Seven Lamps | "By the Numbers" | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Seven Lamps | "By the Numbers" | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

Summer in Atlanta, sitting outside, of course we started with cold libations! Or I should say cold hand-crafted cocktails.

From their Signature Cocktails menu I had the SCARLETT GINGER (pictured above), made with vodka, lime, pomegranate, and ginger. You can tell from the ice shards that it was refreshing, and it was flavorful, too. I thought with this combination of flavors it would have to be good. It was great!

Nikki enjoyed THE IRRATIONAL (pictured below), made with Bellringer Gin, chilies, grapefruit, lime, bitters, and mint. She liked it because, "It was spicy and not too sweet." 

We both love a good martini, but we've noticed that in the craft cocktail world, there seem to be fewer too-sweet drinks out there, a very good thing from where we're sitting. I don't know if this is a new trend or one that we're just now noticing. Whichever it is, we're grateful to have a wider range of craft cocktail options! 

Seven Lamps | "By the Numbers" | Photo: @atlantafoodie on Instagram
Seven Lamps | "By the Numbers" | Photo: @atlantafoodie

The young lady who seated us was pleasant, but evidently didn't tell the manager and chef that we were there on a story assignment, which I shared with her upon our arrival. The good thing about that is that we received the same service, food and drinks that any other dining guest would have. And it was excellent...FIVE STARS! 

Our server Sean was fantastic! Throughout the whole of the evening, he was attentive, took time to answer all of our questions and in a fashion that was relaxed and made us feel like we were 'friends' of the restaurant, like we were valued guests. Seriously, when you go, if you get Sean's section, you're in for an awesome experience! "Thank you, Sean!" 

And a big "Thank you!" to Carl, the manager on duty that evening, with whom we shared some delightful post-dinner conversation.

Seven Lamps got its name from an extended essay (book-length) by English art critic John Ruskin titled "The Seven Lamps of Architecture", published in 1849. 

The "lamps" refer to the seven principles of architecture: Sacrifice, Truth, Power, Beauty, Life, Memory, and Obedience. Co-owner and Executive Chef Drew Van Leuvan recognized that these principles are also applicable in the kithen, thus Seven Lamps' unique name.

Much like the varied skills required of an executive chef and to produce an interesting, enticing regularly changing menu, in addition to being an art patron and the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, John Ruskin was skilled in a number of other disciplines including being a draughtsman, a watercolorist, a prominent social thinker, a theorist, and a philanthropist. He would be an excellent answer to the "If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead...?" question.

THINGS TO KNOW before going to Seven Lamps:
  • All tables are communal—a great way to meet new people!
  • Parking is free, in their shared lot in front of the restaurant.
  • If you're visiting Seven Lamps during the holidays, know that parking takes time and patience. 
  • There's a fire-pit in the outdoor dining area.
  • If you're making a reservation for 12 or more guests, please call the restaurant.
OF NOTE: Consider the Cook's Table. It seats eight, but you don't have to have a party of eight to enjoy this experience. This one also is a communal table, so if there are fewer than eight in your Cook's Table party, you'll be sitting with strangers, which could be great fun! There are 3, 5, and 8 course experiences offered and wine and cocktail menus are available for each menu. I think we'll try this next time!

Thank you to staff, service, and chefs for a wonderful dining experience at Seven Lamps! We'll be back.

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 Pub & Fish House
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 10 months in 2017. Our selection of restaurants is a subjective choice 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!

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