Fresh on the Scene: C. Ellet’s, Bar Mercado, Bluetop

Get the early word on some of Atlanta’s newest restaurants
Giant Tomahawk ribeye at C. Ellet’s
The giant Tomahawk ribeye at C. Ellet’s

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

C. Ellet’s
Linton Hopkins built this new steakhouse right next to SunTrust Park’s enormous entrance, and he lured chef Damon Wise from New York to run it. (Hopkins also just moved three-time James Beard Award nominee Jen Yee south to oversee the pastry programs at all of his restaurants.) Named for Hopkins’s great-great-grandfather, Charles Ellet Jr., the restaurant has a split personality. On the left side, curvy booths and pearlescent blue and green tones aim for glamour in the formal dining room, where beef from heavyweight producers around the country dominates the menu. (Unfortunately, sizzle is often missing from cuts that reach the tables at room temperature.) On the other side, a minimalist “club room” offers a smaller selection of steaks mixed with burgers, sandwiches, and seafood from the raw bar. Speaking of bars, a secluded, VIP-only six-seater is tucked beyond the hallway that houses the very serious bank of wines. Come for the hot, buttered cloverleaf rolls, but don’t expect the typical steakhouse machismo. 2605 Circle 75 Parkway, 678-996-5344

Bar Mercado
In September, the Castellucci family added this relaxed tapas restaurant in Krog Street Market to their empire. Formerly home to the Cockentrice, the space’s main entrance is now oriented towards the street instead of the food hall, perhaps not the smartest move for foot traffic. But Bar Mercado has a talent in charge of the open kitchen: chef John Castellucci, whose knowledge of Spain shines in dishes such as a classic potato omelet; meaty oyster mushrooms cooked in sherry; and braised octopus fragrant with smoked paprika. 99 Krog Street, 404-480-4866

Bluetop is a smart addition to historic Chamblee, but its staying power will depend on streamlining the somewhat schizophrenic menu. Young Brookhaven families flock to the backyard picnic tables, where the adults can partake in cocktails and craft beers while keeping an eye on their little ones roaming the lawn. Opening chef Matt Marcus, who left Portofino (and Italian food) far behind, has already been replaced by Paul Sidener. The latest iteration of the menu still shows signs of ambition in a ceviche of Georgia shrimp, and the burger with onion jam and cheddar is a beauty. But the very ordinary salads and lackluster vegetarian banh mi may not be your best bet. 5362 Peachtree Road, Chamblee, 678-620-3490

This article originally appeared in our December 2017 issue.