Weekend Eats ATL

…because calories don't count on the weekends

Article 14 small plates

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14 Reasons to Love Article 14

Article 14 is one of my favorite Midtown spots for a cocktail and an evening bite.  I’ve dined at the place half a dozen times, but have rarely ordered anything other than the Kale Yeah salad, simply because it’s so delicious.  During a recent meal, I branched out and found many other reasons to love the place…

  1. Cocktails: Article 14 has a menu full of fun and unique cocktails.  The zesty melon cooler was right up my alley – vodka, watermelon, lime, and red pepper flakes.  It was subtle, not too sweet, and a little spicy from the red pepper.
Article 14 cocktails

They also serve an excellent dirty martini, if that’s more your style

2.  Lobstah: The lobster roll special made me feel like I was dining on the coast of Maine.  The lobster was served chilled with diced celery, and piled into a toasty bun.  Although the sauce looks a bit heavy, it was actually light and zesty.

Article 14 Atlanta

Fresh Maine lobstaaa

3.  BWD: The bacon-wrapped dates are a staple at Article 14.  The sweet dates were wrapped in a slice of thick-cut and crispy bacon, and topped with a drizzle of aged balsamic.

Article 14 menu

Bacon-wrapped deliciousness

4.  Deviled eggs: I’m not normally big on deviled eggs, but Article 14’s version struck my fancy.  Instead of mayo, the yolks were whipped with goat cheese, and sprinkled with crispy prosciutto and scallions.  They goat cheese made them tangier, creamier, and so much more delicious than the regular version.

Article 14 midtown

Deviled delights

5. & 6.  Peaches & Prosciutto: We had to get in an order of the grilled local peaches before they disappear for the next 9 months.  The juicy peach slices were wrapped in prosciutto and grilled with just the right amount of char and glaze from the saba sauce.  I wouldn’t want to have peaches any other way.

Article 14 small plates

Peachy keen

7.  Tomatoes:  The heirloom tomato salad was the best I’ve had all summer.  The dish was vibrant, beautiful, and flavorful.  The colorful heirlooms were perfectly salted and drizzled with EVOO.  And then there was that delicate (and also perfectly seasoned) piece of burrata on top.

Article 14 Atlanta

Heavenly heirlooms

8. & 9.  Kale + Bacon:  Even though I was branching out, I couldn’t possibly go without a bite of the kale yeah salad.  Article 14 has somehow managed to turn kale into bacon.  The smoky bacon vinaigrette is seriously addicting.  I could eat it all day long.

Article 14 kale yeah

Kale or bacon?

10.  The burger was too tasty-looking to pass on a bite.  The double beef patty was perfectly medium rare, topped with aged white cheddar, and served on a challah bun.  With a pickle on top.  Mouthwatering.

Article 14 menu

A solid stack

11.  Lemon Tart:  I wasn’t really hungry for dessert, but had to at least try a few bites of the chocolate lava cake.  You know, for research purposes.  The cake was disappointingly overcooked, and definitely lacking in the lava department.  Had it been cooked more like the moist and fluffy lemon tart, I might have had more than a few bites.

Article 14 dessert

Deceptively un-lavalike

Article 14 dessert

Now if only they would replace the lemon part with chocolate

12, 13, & 14. The 3 S’s (service, speed, seasonal):  The service was excellent, and I don’t think we waited more than a few minutes in between courses.  I really enjoyed exploring Article 14’s menu, and the chef did an excellent job highlighting so many seasonal ingredients.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store for fall, I hear bacon-flavored kale is in.


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Lowering the Steakbar

Before there were four, all three of Kevin Rathbun’s Atlanta restaurants were competing for the top spot on my ATL Faves list.  His fourth and latest concept, KR Steakbar, opened in Peachtree Hills back in February.

I’m often skeptical about the service component at brand new restaurants, so I decided to give it a three month grace period before paying the establishment a visit on a recent Saturday night.  Despite reading mixed and some less than raving reviews, I still had high hopes for the Italian-inspired small plate & steak concept.

We started the evening at the bar, which was large with lots of seating.  The restaurant also had a nice patio area, which appeared as though it would be very pleasant, weather permitting.  The bartenders were friendly, attentive, and efficient.  My off the menu vodka-cucumber-mint cocktail was delivered quickly and tasted quite refreshing.

KR Steakbar drinks

My go-to summertime drink: vodka & water with cucumber, mint, and lime

We were seated right on time for our 8:45 pm reservation.  Although the atmosphere had a nice, fun, and upbeat vibe going on, the restaurant was very loud.  Our 4-top table was also excessively long, to the extent that it was difficult to make conversation across the table.  The hostess attempted to reseat us, but every other table was full – not the end of the world, but worth noting.

Our server gave a brief overview of the restaurant concept and menu – Italian fare, smaller portion sizes, multi-course dining encouraged, steaks highly recommended.  We took her advice.

Course One: a meat & cheese assortment from the a la carte “salumi & cheese” menu.  We opted for the Parmesan, Harbison, and Rogue River Blue, accompanied by some Cacciatorini and Finocchiona slices.

KR Steakbar cheese

The Rogue River Blue was my favorite

KR Steakbar meats

I’d skip these next time and go for something more adventurous

The Parmesan and the Rogue River Blue were both sharp and delicious.  I didn’t care for the soft, almost liquid texture of the Harbison.  The salami slices were pretty standard as far as cured meats go, although I always love the fennel flavor of Finocchiona.

Course Two: kale from the “garden” menu.  The kale was sautéed with cremini mushrooms in a smoked olive oil, and topped with just a tad too much Parmesan.  Although the Parmesan was quite good, it overpowered the dish and masked the earthy flavor of the kale and mushrooms.  The cheese plate would have been sufficient.

KR Steakbar

Cheesy kale

Course Three: ribeye from the “meat” menu.  I was tempted to try a fish or pasta dish, but our server’s description of the ribeye ultimately won me over.  She explained that the ribeye was actually just the center cut piece, so really more like a filet.  She had me at filet, extra rare.

KR Steakbar steak

Too. much. arugula.

Presentation-wise, I was confused by the dish.  The steak was “garnished” with arugula and radishes, which turned out to mean smothered in giant, wilted lettuce leaves.  I quickly brushed the wilty salad off of my steak and cut it open to reveal the important part – the cool, red center.  They were spot on with the extra rare.

KR Steakbar ribeye

Kevin Rathbun certainly knows how to cook a steak perfectly

The flavor of the ribeye was phenomenal.  The outside was seared and perfectly salty.  The six ounce portion was smaller than I’m typically used to seeing, meaning I still had room for dessert and no one had to wheel me out of the restaurant.

Course Four (not pictured): olive oil cake.  Disappointingly, the olive oil cake tasted no different than a pound cake.  It was moist, but lacked any sort of flavor.  The pistachio gelato that accompanied the cake was a nice touch, but there wasn’t much of it to go around.

Bonus Course: After-dinner drinks.  We finished the meal with a round of their house-made “Bailey’s” on the rocks.  This satisfied my sweet tooth in place of the olive oil cake.

KR Steakbar

I can’t remember what they called this, but it was tasty

Overall, I enjoyed the food, the atmosphere, and the service at KR Steakbar, but I definitely was not blown away.  Although the concept was interesting, I’m not sure “Italian fare with an emphasis on Prime steaks” is a cuisine I need to eat again.  Comparatively speaking, I would much rather dine at Rathbun’s, Kevin Rathbun Steak, or Krog Bar over KR Steakbar.  I guess that’s the downside to owning three successful (and delicious) restaurants in one city – when you decide to open a fourth, everyone is going to compare it to the first three…#successfulchefproblems