The first Kevin Rathbun restaurant to open in five years, KR SteakBar is a sleek Italian-inspired spot focused on steaks and sharable plates, located in ADAC in Peachtree Hills. It's the only Rathbun restaurant to be open seven days a week (Rathbun’s, Kevin Rathbun Steak, and Krog Bar are open Monday through Saturday), and the first Rathbun restaurant to explore a craft cocktail menu.
“Italian is something I think everyone loves, and everyone loves steak, which is why I brought the two together here,” Kevin Rathbun says. “Plus, I’m excited to have a wood-burning grill. I love the flavor profile. It adds such a depth. People love that campfire-style cooking that makes everything taste so good.”
The KR SteakBar dinner menu is divided into five sections: salumi (including a daily pâté), appetizers (such as lamb tartar), pastas (like bucatini guanciale with tomato and chile), sides (such as rapini with cream, garlic, and mint), and meats, poultry, and fish (including scallops with salsa verde). Items can be eaten individually, or as Rathbun intended—shared with a group. Even rare cuts of steak, like spinalis, will be grilled and sliced for the whole table.
“Chef de cuisine Chris McDade is really passionate about pasta. We’re making seven or eight pastas in house, and he’s pulling it all together the right way,” Rathbun says. “He’s taught me a lot of stuff already. Everybody should have a plate of pasta and a small meat plate here.”
McDade is quite familiar with Rathbun’s style—he worked as his sous chef in 2007 before moving to New York to work at Maialino, Danny Meyer’s Italian restaurant in 2009.
“Kevin lets me do my thing and then he tastes the result,” McDade says. “He reigns me in when I need to be. Sometimes I get a little too New York, but we’re trying to push boundaries. We don’t want KR SteakBar to be just steak and potatoes—we’re trying to use the fifth cut; we have sweetbreads on the menu!”
He points out that KR SteakBar has a number of gluten-free options, including corn-based penne and spaghetti, and a rice flour pasta as well.
“We’re talking about doing a Whole Beast Dinner when the weather gets nicer. It would be outside on the patio and you’d need to reserve it ahead of time so we could make sure we had the whole pig, lamb, goat, or whatever it was,” he says.
In addition to the obvious focus on food, KR SteakBar is designed with a nightlife component in mind, too. The Italian marble-topped bar seats 50, there’s a flat-screen TV in the corner, and leather chairs form a lounge-y area.
“Kevin has this idea that around 10 p.m., the lights go down and the music comes up, so it becomes a more energetic scene,” assistant manager Heather Brady says. With warm red walls, hardwood floors, oversize amber ceiling lights, and a glowing wall, the restaurant’s decor sure seems like a fit.
And then there’s the wine room that holds 900 bottles—120 labels, sixteen of which will be available by the glass. About sixty percent of them are Italian, so patrons can sip on whatever they feel like, Rathbun’s business partner Cliff Bramble points out. There will be six types of draft beer and four or five bottled beers available as well. General manager Clay Williams is working with mixologist Tres Bullard, formerly of Top FLR, to create nine to twelve cocktails, including two or three that are classically inspired.
“I just want to create a good restaurant where people have ample choices whether you’re an adventurous eater or not,” Rathbun says.