Food Chatter: A preview of the Lawrence


Last Sunday I had an opportunity to preview the Lawrence, the forthcoming Midtown restaurant from the creators of the popular supper club series Dinner Party Atlanta and the team behind Top Flr and the Sound Table. The Sunday Supper dinner, which may become a regular event when the Lawrence officially opens its doors in early-to-mid February, started at 4:30 p.m. and guests served themselves from the kitchen, family style.

The Lawrence’s co-owner and founder of Dinner Party Atlanta, Patrick LaBouff, called the event “the chefs’ opportunity to cut loose.” Executive chef Shane Devereux (who also oversees the kitchens at Top Flr and Sound Table) and chef de cuisine George Brooks, formerly at Rathbun’s, presented a dishes drawn from the restaurant’s work-in-progress winter menu that included “bar bites” like a killer crispy pig ear with fennel salt (think porky fried potato skins); a potato gnocchi with pearl onions and a fork tender beef calotte (the rib eye cap) with a parsnip puree. Dessert was a warm chocolate-rum cake with chocolate sauce and pecan ice cream from local craft ice cream maker High Road.
The evening’s beverage program, created by Thomas Fable Jeon, one of the Beverage Network’s 10 Mixologists to Watch in 2011, and Eric Simpkins, formerly of Trois and Drinkshop, began with several creative cocktails, including Jeon’s creative take on a mint julep. Simpkins, the beverage director, described the Lawrence’s drink program as having a “classic base with modern innovation and a playful spirit.” Look for the incorporation of other beverages like wine, beer, coffee and tea into the cocktail recipes. “Being on Juniper Street, you can also expect a wide selection of gins,” says Simpkins.
With an interior that is more polished than its Top Flr and Sound Table siblings, and much airier than its previous tenants (Cuerno/Lupe), this new venture looks poised to bring fresh life to the Juniper Street dining corridor.

Brick Store Pub and the Porter Beer Bar were named to Draft Magazine’s 2012 100 Best Beer Bars list.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that metro Atlanta will be one of the first areas outside of the Pacific Northwest where Starbucks will soon offer beer, wine and an expanded food menu in a new “evening day-part” concept. Atlanta is slated to have up to six of the new stores that will feature wine and beer lists selected to reflect local tastes.

Alpharetta. Seven Seas Cafe, featuring a Mediterranean menu focused on healthy range of options for vegetarians and meat lovers alike, is slated to open at 1214 Devore Road soon.

Brookhaven. There, which bills itself as “Brookhaven’s first upscale dive bar,” is slated to open this week at TOWN in Brookhaven with former Bocado chef de cuisine, Ryan Hickey, at the helm. Look for Negronis and homemade ginger beer along with a range of classic cocktails.

Buckhead. We are hearing reliable but unconfirmed reports that the Wine Market at ADAC West—a concept combining a wine bar, provisions market and gathering spot—will involve Kevin Rathbun. We have contacted Rathbun for comment but haven’t yet heard back.  UPDATE: Word went out this afternoon on the PR wires that the name of Rathbun’s ADAC venture will be called KR Steakbar—where “small plate steaks meets Italian fare.”

Buckhead’s 2012 Restaurant Week will run from Saturday, February 25 through Sunday, March 4. Participating restaurants will offer three-course prix fixe dinner menus for $25 or $35 per person, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity.

Fig Jam Kitchen & Bar, featuring a menu that uses a wood-fired grill for items like charred octopus, fig bourbon-glazed lamb belly, and short rib sliders, has now opened in the former Baroni space at 1745 Peachtree Road. According to Thrillist, the owners of Midtown spots Baraonda and Publik Draft House, have transformed the space into a slick, eighty-seat rustic space with wood slate walls, a glass tower filled with salumi and cheese, and a large communal table.
Eater Atlanta notes that, beginning February 18, Holeman & Finch will serve lunch on Saturdays.
East Atlanta. Creative Loafing is reporting that Elder Tree Public House—featuring Irish, Scottish and English cuisine—will open in February at 469 Flat Shoals Avenue, the former Blue Frog Cantina spot.

Inman Park. Travel and Leisure Magazine has named Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Co., which launched stores in Buckhead and Virginia-Highland last year, as one of the top ten new sweet shops in the world.
Roswell. What Now Atlanta reports that Little Alley Steak will open Monday, February 27 at 955 Canton Street in historic downtown Roswell.

ViningsTomorrow’s News Today notes that Brooklyn Water Bagel Company—based in a Boca Raton, Florida—is planning to open the first metro Atlanta location in Akers Mill in the former Soup Garden space.
Westside. Creative Loafing also has a report on the branch on Sublime Doughnuts opening in Bangkok.

The Goat Farm, an arts compound set in a historic factory site, now offers a weekly lunch menu from Muss and Turner’s Dave Sturgis, says Daily Candy. The $8 meal is served beginning at 1:30 pm.
Question of the Week: What legendary New York City resto will launch a national pop up series that will land in the ATL later this year?
PS.  The answer to last week’s QOTW— What Atlanta top toque is spelling out his culinary philosophy with a line of tee shirts?— is Richard Blais.

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