M!X: Atlanta (Visit #2)

posted on February 1, 2006 at 9:12 am

I went to a Chef-organized tasting at M!X the other night. My first experience had not been stellar. Service issues and poorly prepared food ruined my evening. I was curious to see how this night fared considering the fact that we were guests of the Chef. We all sat down at a cluster of tables in the back. The setting was not optimal for socialization but no matter, I was there to eat. The waitress took our drink orders. The wine list is a mess and needs some serious work. It took a long time for all of us who are normally pretty decisive to pick something. When I finally found something of interest, I asked the waitress what the grape was in the wine because it was listed by producer only. She looked at me as if I were speaking a foreign language. The Chef, Carmen Cappello, came out and explained the structure of the evening. 5 dishes. Each would be a surprise. I munched on the stale ciabatta-like breadsticks and waited for our food to come out.

The first dish was 3 Kumamoto oysters with a Yuzu Mignonette, apple, radish and a sprinkling of microgreens. It was nice and refreshing but the Yuzu was overpowered by the apple. I love Yuzu and wish it had been a bit stronger.

The next dish was a Alaskan King Crab and frisee salad dressed with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette and topped with a chilled white asparagus spear, cherry tomatoes and crostini. This seemed to be inconsistently prepared around the table. One of my dining companions noted that the dressing lacked acidity and the Meyer lemon got lost. I agreed completely. It was still a pleasant dish though. The crab was very fresh and it was not overly dressed like most of dishes had been the first time I visited.

The next dish was my favorite. Veal sweetbreads, with lobster, herbed gnocchi and a butter sauce. This was well prepared if almost a bit too decadent. The portion size was perfect. Another morsel would have been too much. This is the dish to get if you ever go there (there is no lobster in the dish that is normally served).

The next two dishes fell flat in my eyes. One was a Rouget and Foie Gras served on mashed potatoes with miniature bok choy. The potatoes were good and so was the fish. However, the Foie Gras did not go with the dish and was serious overkill. It was also very bitter. The last dish was a a sweet and savory pannacotta that did not work. It was way too dense and the flavors were imbalanced. Interesting use of black pepper but I did not make it past one bite. I prefer to eat Knipschildt Chocolates if I want savory in my sweets. Carmen also brought our table a plate of Smelts and glass of wine at no charge. The smelts were good. I did not try the wine. Just a side note: Most of our dishes were not on the menu.

Carmen was adventurous and modest. Two things I like in a chef. I enjoyed talking to him and he took all of our criticisms with grace and maturity. Creative but I feel like he (and his food) is being stifled at M!X. It seems like there is some sort of struggle going on over there between the owners and the cuisine. They have the foundation for a great restaurant but the bottom line seems to be getting in the way. It will be interesting to see what transpires.
Website: M!X Restaurant
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Tapas

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