After a failed attempt at attending a cooking class (perhaps was someone’s way of telling me I should just stick to eating), Chad and I decided that Saturday brunch at Olmsted was a viable alternative.
Occupying the old Trois space at 14th and Peachtree, Olmsted’s interior was pristine and beautifully redone. The floor to ceiling windows created so much natural light that I contemplated keeping my sunglasses on during the meal. On a side note, there was also an extravagant three-year old’s birthday party taking place while we dined. I never knew toddlers had such sophisticated palates…what ever happened to good ol’ Chuck E. Cheese’s?!
Our server was attentive and immediately took our drink order – two mimosas. A glass of champagne with a splash of o.j. is my idea of a perfect mimosa. Olmstead’s idea is very different. The lack of any trace of champagne in these “mimosas” didn’t exactly sit well with our plan for a boozy brunch.
We started with the breakfast meat sampler, a trio of smoked bacon, pork sausage, and cured ham. The ham was way over-salted and the bacon just tasted like well, bacon. The sausage was good, but nothing you couldn’t conjure up at home with a little help from Jimmy Dean.
Halfway through the appetizer, our entrees arrived. Not that we were planning to finish the mediocre sampler to begin with, but I hate the feeling of being rushed through a meal. Given that the restaurant was mostly empty (aside from the aforementioned three-year olds), I’m not really sure why they were in such a hurry to get rid of us.
I ordered the tuna nicoise, and they certainly delivered on my request for “seared rare.” The dish itself was more of a deconstructed nicoise, with a bright and beautiful presentation. I loved the modern twist of the 6-minute egg to replace the more traditional hard-boiled egg, but it definitely needed a dash of salt.
The tuna was the star of the dish; its outer sear was crusted with fennel pollen and cracked pepper. When combined with a dab of tapenade vinaigrette and runny egg yolk, it made for a scrumptious bite. The vegetables on the other hand, were another story entirely. The grilled onions and piquillo peppers were served stone cold. In a traditional nicoise, the vegetables are served cold because they are raw, like in a salad. I didn’t really understand the concept behind cooking the vegetables, letting them sit until they got cold, and eventually serving them. I wasn’t sad to leave those behind as my plate was cleared away.
Chad had the Eggs Savannah – a crab & shrimp-cake version of eggs Benedict. The eggs were poached nicely with runny yolks and a “Creole sauce Sharon” instead of the traditional hollandaise. There was something off about the overly creamy sauce that I just couldn’t get past. It probably didn’t help that it was absolutely smothered over the dish, completely drowning out the flavor of the crab & shrimp. Chad enjoyed it well enough, but I steered clear after my initial taste.
Overall, I found Olmsted to be completely overpriced for the quality of the food and the service we received. I can’t exactly say I’m surprised, given the overpriced drinks and poor service I encountered at Article 14 (also owned by Legacy Restaurant Partners) several weeks back. We both left the meal wishing we had selected another viable alternative to our cancelled cooking class.