chefchickstephanie1's Recent Reviews

posted 
South City Kitchen - ViningsSouth City Kitchen - Vinings
Southern / Breakfast & Brunch

This location is tucked away in Ivy Walk.  It's the polished Southern food you will find in all South City Kitchens.  I  mean, who else has chicken livers on the menu and cloth napkins on the table?

Speaking of livers, my dining companion is a long time lover of chicken livers and could not wait to order them. Apparently they did not disappoint. Not a drop of anything on that plate was left. Generous serving of sauteed livers served with cream corn and broiche so you don't miss any of the ham infused liquid.

I could not resist the pimento cheese. They come with wafter thin benne crackers and crudite. Flavorful and great with cocktails. My entree, shrimp and grits, was less impressive.  Maybe an off nite but something in the sauce tasted burned or at least very overcooked and over salted.

The fried chicken is always the perfect meal here.  Crispy and traditional over smashed potatoes with greens.  It makes you want to say, "manners be damned!" and pick it up and lick your fingers. Ok actually we did. 

Dessert was entirely delightful.  Buttermilk devil's food, which really is the only way devil's food should be made, chocolate filling and toasted marshmallow top. Ultra moist and rich but not too sweet.  I'd go back just for this!

Great service and lovely cocktail menu too!

 

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posted 
BandoraBandora
Middle Eastern / Falafel

You may know Bandora from their food trucks around Atlanta but now they have opened a standalone restaurant location just off Winward Parkway in Alpharetta. 

Super fresh and vegetarian options are why I often seek out mediterranean style food.  What makes Bandora different is how they do business as well as a few menu options unique to them.  They pay a living wage to their staff members, have a commitment to helping local non-profits through food donations and revenue sharing as well as all fresh (never frozen ingredients).

They also are mindful of the environment and promise no trace of their bags or plates will be found on this earth. Modern metal trays are used for in house dining.

Now about the food:  Let me start with their signature drink, a lemonade mojito which is not to be missed!  Superfine fresh mint is in the not too sweet lemonade.  The pitas are fluffy and baked daily. Currently not baked in house but I am told that is soon coming. To me the hallmark of a great, or even just very good mediterranean restaurant is their pitas. Bandora's are fresh and fluffy! I couldn't resist getting a pita sandwich!  It is slathered generously with creamy hummus, fresh tzatziki and a bit of juicy chicken.  I couldn't keep my eye off the falfafels so I got a side of them as well. So vibrant and green with the fresh herbs inside!  More tzatziki please! 

 

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The salad bar is more like a relish/toppings bar and it screams "fresh" too. I got some turkish coffee which was made by serving a portion in a copper prep cup then heated to boiling in the sand filled heating unit, sweetened then served.  Strong and tasty.

Super friendly staff (there goes the effect of paying a living wage-you get happy workers), very clean space with some outdoor seating.  I have to go back for a rice bowl. I saw them being made and almost swayed me from the pita but alas the portions are so large I could barely eat what I already ordered!

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posted 
Brooklyn CafeBrooklyn Cafe
American (Traditional) / Italian

This corner spot in a strip mall on sandy springs circle is nearly always PACKED.  Regulars keep a neighborhood restaurant thriving and brings people in from out of the area equally.

The menu is what I describe as white bread Americana.  It is limited but still has something for everyone.  Roasted artichokes and lobster bisque are both great to see on a limited menu but I was in the mood for good ol american red meat.

That mood translated into my table getting a big fat burger and a classic reuben sandwich. A quite large burger, too large to finish but I tried. Juicy and flavorful yet simple and classic. It really hit the spot.  The rueben suffered the same portion overload that the burger did which ends one way only: With a take out container. 

I am never too full for dessert and the sound of double chocolate cake rubbed me right. Large slice with two tiny shots of milk on either side. Adorably delicious. 

Attentive service, a busy bar and lively crowd makes it clear why this is a neighborhood favorite!

 

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posted 

I have walked by El Felix a handful of time when I make my every-8-week run to Crate and Barrel at Avalon and it's always always busy. I knew my time would come and today was that day.  Ford Fry has that busy effect, doesn't he?  Well deserved here.

Tequila lovers there is a whole full page menu for you! I like it!  Definitely Tex Mex food menu and it's a great menu. In fact so great we had trouble deciding on what to order. Instead of the usual salsa and chips El Felix serves an avocado salsa verde and a pico de gallo style dip both delivered in mason jars.  The salsa verde had me in a bit of a flavor trance. 

Weekday prix fixe lunch specials are available for $9.99 if you're into that sort of thing.

I ordered some chorizo fundido. Delicious hot melty crock of gooey mexican deliciousness to wrap up in warm tortillas. I llke this better when it comes in an iron skillet and the bottom gets crusty but this version does deliver on flavor.  

Knowing full well that chorizo fundido would fill me up (not to mention my overdose of chips with the avocado salsa verde)  I got a  lighter dish for my entree, CAMPECHANA DE MARISCO to be percise. A generous portion of spicy shrimp and crab tossed with avocados, vibrant green olives and a sauce that will make a gals face sweat just a bit. greasy but delicious tostada crisps help get this spicy seafood into your mouth. I couldn't finish it all that's how generous of a portion it is.

The shrimp tacos are vibrant both in appearance and flavor, as all seafood tacos should be. Dressed up with cabbage ribbons,  cilantro and goddesssy green avocado crema.  The shrimp are crispy and the mayo is spicy. All in all a winning shrimp taco. 

I will definitely be returning. Too many menu items I still want to feast upon.

 

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posted 

How can you not love a restaurant that is making fresh pasta out in the open?  This cozy somewhat upscale spot is a nice player in the Sandy Springs food scene that is in such dire need of these types of estabishments. Refined food, excellent service-focused staff and a fantastic ambiance.  

The interior is a large open space carefully sectioned into a proper bar and bar seating, kitchen and pasta making area and main dining room. It's a bit loud because of the open  layout but it's also beautiful and quite frankly, it works.  It's a Friday night and it is packed.  I am feeling like many are regulars here.  I could be wrong but if I were a betting woman I wouldn't bet that I am wrong on this.

Delicous warm focaccia with olive oil and balsamic is the table bread and it's perfectly addictive.  I ordered up the cheese and meat board, standard but tasty loaded with fresh creamy sweet ricotta, marinated olive variety, cheese and assortment of cured meats with fig jam. I am impressed with how knowledgable my server is. Well trained staff can make or break a diners experience.

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I enjoyed a special of the day which was "messy lasagne" loaded up with seasonal sweet onions (which are all over the menu because of the season), speck, bechemel and mushrooms.  I found the pasta sheets in this unconstructed lasagne a wee bit thick but still over all the dish was tasty and balanced. 

The dessert menu is fairly classic italian. I tried two of them, flourless chocolate cake with candied hazelnuts which tasted more like a brownie but certainly hits the spot for a chocolate lover. More interesting is the panna cotta. It's a generous portion of perfect wobble white lusciousnes garnished with amaretto and syrupy thick balsamic. 

It's a bit loud for date night but any other occasion I give two thumbs up to Il Gaillo.

 

 

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Area: Buckhead
Cuisine: American (New) / French / Thai
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I am a food & lifestyle freelance writer and health & wellness expert.  I love formal dining and great table manners.  Classics done impeccably well impress me!  
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