Last weekend was our anniversary. The actual day was Sunday – on which we had a going away party to attend. Friends of ours are moving to El Paso, Texas; so there was a pool party to have one last celebration with them in town and to send them off right.

The party was a good time. Malin, unfortunately, was a little late to the party because she had a photo-shoot that had been scheduled before we even knew the date of the party, and the shoot couldn’t be moved. I can divulge more about the party later – as you can see from the title of this post, the rest of this rant is about a fine dining establishment, not a pool party.

The evening before our anniversary, Saturday, was our night to go out and celebrate. We had reservations at what we think is the absolute best restaurant in Atlanta: Quinones. It is part of the same building (and same company) as Star Provisions and Bacchanalia. Star Provisions is a little market that sells meats, cheeses, coffees, and other culinary delights and also has a sandwich bar that serves excellent sandwiches (and good desserts, gourmet pizza, etc…). Bacchanalia is a very nice restaurant behind Star Provisions. In fact, you have to walk through the shop to the back to get into the restaurant. But underneath them is Quinones. Take Bacchanalia, jazz up the menu to ultra-fine levels (not stodgy or elitist, but fun and capricious), change the a la cart menu into a chef’s tasting menu, and up the ante on the dining room decor. Now you have Quinones. I don’t mean to say that the menu at Bacchanalia is not already fine dining. In fact I’d say the opposite – it’s probably our second favorite in Atlanta (second to the delights that await one in the restaurant below it).

This meal was the best we’ve had there. Take a look for yourself here. In addition to the courses listed, the chef also sends out a “gift” – an amuse bouche. This evening it was a small sip of corn soup, a house-made pork rind, and a fancy “cheese poof”. By cheese poof I mean a delicious ball of flavorful cheese inside a ball of crispy puff pastry. Not a bad start.

The highlights were many:

  • The foie gras, blackberries, and peanut streusel was an interesting twist on peanut butter and jelly – and the summer fruit consumm√© was a delicious elixir that pushed the whole dish into sweet land (the shores of savory land so distant as to be unseen…)
  • The oyster was the best oyster I’ve ever eaten. Luckily for Malin, it was cooked (deep-fried – but very lightly so as to retain 100% of the raw oyster fresh-from-the-sea taste but warm and with a thin and light, crispy coating). I say that because she has expressed an aversion to raw oysters (although if she were to try one, it would probably be at this restaurant).
  • The stuffed quail: to die for.
  • The veal with crisped sweetbreads: to die for twice – maybe even three or four times.

After a long and very filling evening, we decided to make one stop on the way out. Malin had heard about a “gastro-pub” in Buckhead, and we decided to check it out: Holeman and Finch Public House. The place looked promising; we’ll have to return during the day when we have an appetite. They have house-made sausages and house-cured pork legs hanging all over the place. And Will would have been really impressed by our server.