Sunday, June 13, 2010
Bacchanalia is one of Atlanta’s top restaurants offering a contemporary American menu designed by the Chefs/Owners, Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison. The selections are creative ideas that incorporate seasonal ingredients from local and regional farms. The highlight among these farms is Summerland Farm in Savanna, Georgia where Quatrano and Harrison live. They raise/grow many of the components for their menu on this farm. The wide use of other regional sources helps ensure that the elements of each dish will be fresh and flavorful. The menu at Bacchanalia is based on a four course prix fixe menu consisting of an appetizer, entrée, cheese course and dessert priced at $75.00 per guest.
I had the opportunity to dine at Bacchanalia recently while visiting friends in Atlanta. I was surprised by the facility since most of the reviews I’ve seen refer to the upscale nature of the menu and restaurant. Guests walk through a store called Star Provisions, an eclectic culinary store perfect for those of us that like to spend time in the kitchen. Also available within this store are items you will see on the menu as well, such as: cheese, charcuterie, fish, fresh baked bread and candies. Walking through Star Provisions a guest will then arrive at the host stand for Bacchanalia. The restaurant and store are housed in an older building with tiled walls that remind me of my elementary school built in the 1960s.
Service, from the moment of arrival, is full of grace and sophistication. The staff is well trained so expect to be pampered. If they are unable to answer a question about a menu item, they follow through with getting that answer to you. The menu selections I chose were each unique and delicious with creative presentations. I began with the Confit Foie Gras Terrine served with local blueberries and buttermilk toasted brioche. I’m a sucker for foie gras whenever I see it on the menu and was not disappointed by this one. The terrine was a perfect size to savor the rich flavors but not to indulge too much.
I continued with the Spring Veal Schnitzel for my entrée offering fingerling potato salad, pickled ramps and veal gastrique along side. The pickled ramps are an unusual way to incorporate regional fare with this classic German plate. The sweet pungent notes of the ramps complimented the veal which was cooked perfectly.
The cheese course is either a specific selection of cheese with a contrasting food element or for a $10.00 supplemental charge a choice of four cheeses from the cheese cart. I chose the later and was delighted to find a staff member rolling a cart of cheeses to the table with knowledge and expertise about each one. The cheese offered is from regional farms and is also available in Star Provisions. We, of course, stopped on the way out to buy some of our favorites prior to leaving.
I concluded the dinner with Espresso Panna Cotta accompanied by coffee granita, Chantilly cream and toasted pecans. Another beautifully arranged and well thought out dish which I ate with the suggested pairing of Toro Albala Don Pedro Ximenex Gran Reserva 1982! The coffee flavors of the dessert were fascinating with the 18 year old Spanish wine with aged, nutty, anise and toffee notes.
It is clear to see why Bacchanalia receive so many awards and so much recognition. The effort their team puts into each experience long before the guests arrive is evident in the service, food, presentation and ambiance of the evening.
Thank you, Chefs Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison along with your entire Bacchanalia team, for a wonderful experience.