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Restaurants & Bars 6

BaZzaaR in Atlanta

biskuit | Aug 21, 200409:49 PM

Holy Wasabi Foam, Batman! If you haven't been to Bazzaar - go now, this instant. This is a great restaurant, the best I've experienced in Atlanta, and one of the best I've experienced anywhere. Is this for timid diners? No. Steak and potatos folks? No. Anyone who really appreciates flat out good food or artistry in a kitchen? YES YES YES.

Let me start by saying I was brave/stupid enough to take my 2.5 year old mischievous daughter, our one month old son (as well as my wife and parents). The service we received from Naomi, as well as Chef Blais, was perfect. They gave us a big comfy table, brought special chicken fingers (which were awesome) and cocount custard for my daughter (delivered by the chef himself), gave her a flashlight to play with under the table, and generally made us feel totally at home.

We had 12 dishes between us, plus 3 desserts and 2 bottles of wine. The value of the food we were served well-surpassed the amount we were charged. If you look at some of the individual prices (prosciutto "ravioli" for $6? Caramelized Banana/Almond/Nutella dessert for $4? excellent coffee for $1.75?) this place is a flat out bargain. It was $243 before tax including two very nice $32 bottles of wine (Loimer Lois Gruner-Veltliner and a Mas d'Aranyo Termprenillo Reserva).

So, the food. As I said, we tried a LOT of dishes - I thought only one dish fell short of flat-out-excellent. The menu is set up by size - micro, mini and macro, and the creativity level/pushing-the-edge-ness declines slightly proportional to size.

The micros we tried you've read about here before - proscuitto "ravioli" and kobe beef tartare - both complex, intriguing, and in perfect harmony. LOVE the beef tartare, all mixed together, very very good stuff.

The minis still push the envelope, some more so than others (calamari with harissa/spices/etc was great but didn't have the same WOW factor as other dishes; the scallop "couscouse" with corn chowder, white truffle oil, hominy and mushroom foam was one of the most unique, incredible dishes I have ever had). The one that fell slightly short was the salmon with watermelon, avocado and horseradish foam - mainly because the salmon was too mild in flavor for some reason, probably an ingredient factor rather than a prep factor (I lived in California for 4 years and am used to the very flavorful wild Pacific salmon there). The foie gras milkshake was awesome - though I couldn't pick up any foie gras in it, it was more likely a really good vanilla amaretto shake. And the cheeseburger? If you can find a better one, let me know. Nothing crazy, just a great burger.

On to the MACROs - we got the halibut with squid "linguine" and herbal lemon butter, and the three specials of the night: surf n turf with lobster, foie gras, grits and blueberries (oh my god this could make a great breakfast/dessert/dinner/whatever); prime beef with horseradish, asian pear, and foie gras; and crispy black skin sea bass with mushroom risotto and mango. All incredible, amazing, intensely good. The really interesting thing was that the fish dishes were actually (or at least seemed to be) pretty simple preparations paired with perfect, out of the ordinary complements.

Desserts - a great end to a great meal: the deconstructed key lime pie was stellar and refreshing; the almonds/nutella/bananas like a really good banana/nutella crepe (without the crepe) but much much better; and the chocolate tart a rich, perfect chocolate end to a meal.

Are you hungry yet? We were there from 6:30 to almost 9 on a Saturday night, and the place was far from hoppin. They said Saturday nights tend to be slow unless the Fox has something going on. I really really really want Bazzaar to be a big success. I honestly can't think of any restaurant in the US that really compares to this (at least not favorably).

On the way out (we sat upstairs), I checked out the downstairs area - next time I'm requesting that booth that looks right into the kitchen through a large window. The kitchen is not the most impressive looking space you will see, but I would love to see what goes on in there. Chef Blais mentioned that he has some ideas for that table specifically to take the dining experience to a more interactive place, hopefully we'll get to see more of his ideas in action soon.

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