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Restaurants & Bars


Athens, GA: a few reports


Restaurants & Bars 10

Athens, GA: a few reports

uptown jimmy | Oct 13, 2007 06:43 PM

The National (downtown Athens): this is the new joint partly headed by the mighty Hugh Acheson of Five and Ten. The atmosphere is sorta stark and awkward, with really friendly yet amateurish and rather timid service. We had one of the flatbread pizzas and a sardine appetizer. The food is good, but not great: it lacks the subtle sublimity of most of the food at Five and Ten, but at a similar price point. I looked over at my wife about half-way through the meal and told her that I would always, always choose Five and Ten over The National. At similar prices, why choose really good when you can have sublime?

On the other hand, we ventured out to a place in Madison called Town 220 Bistro. This is a nice little operation. The food is, again, not nearly as sophisticated as the food at Five and Ten, yet it's really solid and it's a bit less expensive overall, and with a fantastic ambience in a huge space. Really fun time, with some of the best service we've ever had anywhere from the bartender-esse who served us at one of the tall bar tables near the bar. They have a nice mix of fancy and fun on the menu. We had several appetizers and a bottle of Napa chardonnay. Nothing was astounding, but it was such a beautiful time, and the food was darned good. Little details were slightly off from excellent, like the escargot needing just a little lemon, or the bread being slightly underdone by just two minutes. But they are trying hard to provide a lot of bang for the buck, and we will return for some entrees, all of which looked amazing on nearby tables. The lemon-pepper chicken wings with homemade Ranch dressing were divine, actually, and it is a measure of how good the restaurant is that they can make a dish of chicken wings that pair so well with a glass of crisp California chardonnay. Everything is made from scratch, and the ingredients are of high quality, which unltimately makes a few minor slip-ups in execution easily forgiven. And I love a restaurant that isn't afraid to include a tuna sashimi martini dish on the same menu as chicken wings, and is able to get both dishes so right. In the end, a flawed but impressive effort, and we look forward to giving it futher inspection. And what a beautiful space, so huge and full of light....

Ta-ta for now.

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