Tonight is the final night of business for the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, which opened in 1986. I went for a final meal last evening, and, as many endings do, it felt bittersweet and rather unreal. Sometimes, while reminiscing, I watched servers fight back tears.
I know many people out there could consider a closing like this superfluous during a difficult economy. But there are always times in our lives for memorable, luxury-gilded celebrations, and restaurants such as the Dining Room can shape and elevate those occasions. When the times improve, and more of us can celebrate lavishly again, I think we’ll all miss this restaurant. Our city doesn’t have many like it.
So, without further opining, here’s a pictorial look back at the evening:
This was my favorite course of the evening: “Lobster Preserve,” a sous vide presentation in this Mason jar-like container with polenta, chanterelles, tomato, basil, and crumbled pine nuts on the spoon.
I’m more of a fruit dessert fellow, so I asked for the “Muscadine,” with peeled Muscadine grapes, a Muscadine reduction/soup of sorts over vanilla panna cotta (yes, lots of panna cotta this meal), with Muscadine sorbet over sable Breton (a cross between a tart base and a sugar cookie).
I remember when chef Bruno Menard, whose father is a chocolatier, introduced these signature lollipops to the Dining Room. They once came in different percentages of cacao—40 percent, 60 percent, 70 percent. Now they just offer 70 percent.
And that, my friends, is that. We were at the table for a little over four hours, and it didn’t drag a bit. I’m sorry I didn’t take more pictures of the staff. Maitre d’ Claude Guillaume, servers Richard Flint (23 years on staff), Maggie Sinatra (22 years on staff), Charles Hurston (9 years in the Dining Room, more in the hotel), and others made as indelible an impression as the food. I hope, as a diner, I cross paths with each of them again.