Went to the National on thursday. i really could not wait to try it, as I am a huge fan of 5&10. It was quite crowded, and the place really seemed popular. The crowd was mostly older, with a few young couples and 4 or 5 girls eating a birthday dinner in neon sundresses of differing colors. My appetite was ready to "bring it" and I knew that Hugh Acheson would be presenting his A-Game as well. It looked like there would be a wait as it was so crowded. We walked in and up to the Host Table.
The encounter with the hostess was undeniably odd. I had to start the conversation, as the cute blonde behind the table seemed completely without suspicion that my GF and I might want to eat dinner at The National. She stared blankly at me and I offered "Two? For dinner? Is there...is there a table available?" She looked down at her notes and said that there would be a table open for 2 at 8:15 (we arrived at 7:15 or 7:20). So, we figured hey, we'll just chill at the bar and have some cocktails. An hour wait for a new place, and especially a place I really wanted to try.
We posted up at the bar and ordered two cocktails. Thinking we were going to be there for an hour, we ordered a cheese plate to share while waiting. After finally getting the bartender's attention (it was crazy busy as I said), we had a table...10 minutes after we first came in. So I thought it was odd that the hostess quoted us an hour and it was only 10 minutes, but in the end this is pretty minor.
So then we got our first courses. Partner got some nice greens and I got the flatbread, which had some mozzarella and was basically a tasty little pizza with some balancing greens in the middle. Very good.
Then our mains came. I had the chicken with chickpeas and yoghurt and partner had the scallops, which I tasted (very nice). My chicken was seasoned and roasted perfectly.
For dessert partner had the custard tarts and I had the spiced chocolate cake. Although extremely satisfying, I didn't feel like it was much more than well-done chocolate cake with ice cream. It was good, not great. But there were plenty of other tasty options i will not shy away from trying in the future.
The service was excellent aside from the weird behavior of the hostess. Overall, I'd say that I like 5&10 more. I just felt like 5&10's menu was more varied and interesting, but The National is a great addition to Athens that I'm sure is here to stay.
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