Sunday, March 14, 2010

Birthday Celebrations

I'm married to a younger man, if you count him being born 13 days after I was as "younger." My birthday was at the end of February, and since it's Lent, I can't eat meat on Fridays. However, according to Catholic rules, which, as we know, may or may not make logical sense, we can eat seafood on Fridays. Hubby is a fish-loving guy, so he looks forward to Lent each year.

We had some Buckhead Life gift cards, so we headed to Atlanta Fish Market for my birthday. It wasn't exactly what Hubby and I expected from a Buckhead Life restaurant in terms of atmosphere. The web site says that dress is "upscale casual." I could've worn jeans and a nice top and fit in fine. There were also plenty of families with kids. Of course, this is Buckhead, where the seven-year-olds complain to their friends if they don't have the perfect shoes for their outfits. The light fixtures are very cool and creative, especially the blown glass creations in the bar, but with the high ceilings and bright lighting, it doesn't really lend itself to romance. Noise level was medium.

They featured specials on Van Duzer (Oregon) Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, so since we were getting fish, we went for the Pinot Gris. Definitely more of a European-style PG, it was light-bodied and crisp with some tropical fruit, apple, and mineral. It went well with Hubby's tuna and my Lobster Frites, cold-water lobster tail flash-fried and served with honey mustard, drawn butter, and fries. Yes, I indulged a little since it was my birthday. It tasted fresh and crisp. I had chocolate mousse cake for dessert (duh!). Hubby had tuna, but neither of us can remember how it was prepared, other than rare and good.

Score card:
Atmosphere: Bright and busy
Food: Very Good to Excellent
Wine list: Varied
Wait staff: Good to Very Good
Desserts: Very Good
Vegetarian friendly? Not unless fish are vegetables
Kid friendly? Apparently, but they need to have the right shoes.
Would I go back? Definitely. It was a great experience, even if it wasn't what we had anticipated.

Fast forward two weeks: it was Hubby's birthday last Thursday, so we celebrated by going to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (having my leftover cheesecake as I type) and postponing the real celebration til Friday, when we went to The Oceanaire Seafood Room for dinner and to the Atlanta Symphony concert, which featured a concerto by Liszt and some other stuff. Yeah, I was in it for the Liszt, and oh, it was good!

Ahem, back to dinner...

I'd been to the Oceanaire before, but always as part of a group. This experience was more like we'd expected Atlanta Seafood Market to be: quiet, intimate, and elegant. We shared a bottle of the Sokol Blosser (Oregon) Evolution, a blend of nine white grapes that has about every quality you'd expect in a white wine: floral nose, creamy texture, mineral backbone, and fruit throughout. The best comparison I could make would be that it's like dry Riesling, but not syrupy like some of those can be. It played very well with the food.

Hubby got Tom's Grilled Rainbow Trout, served Mediterranean-style with capers, olives, tomatoes, and beurre blanc. I stole some of his beurre blanc for my scallops, which were pan-seared, tender, and sweet on their own, but really, what can't be made better by a little butter and white wine? We started with house salads, which were huge, and for our side, we shared an ample "small" order of mashed potatoes. They made me swoon, they were so creamy and buttery!

No, I didn't get dessert, although the menu looked tempting, and from what I recall, they're pretty good.

Score card:
Atmosphere: Quiet and intimate
Food: Very Good to Excellent
Wine list: Nice selection by the glass and bottle
Wait staff: Very Good
Desserts: In the past, they've been very good
Vegetarian friendly? Again, fish are not vegetables
Kid friendly? Probably not.
Would I go back? Definitely

Dear FTC, I didn't receive any special treatment or free stuff at either of these restaurants. Some of us still do this anonymously, you know.

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