The Dining Room at The Ritz Carlton: Buckhead

posted on February 14, 2007 at 2:38 pm
I am sorry I have had a placeholder here for longer than I intended. I left town and did not get around to writing this until today. Don’t worry though-the meal is still fresh in my mind. My friend invited me to a last minute dinner at the Ritz and I had a security deposit to burn so I figured I would go. We opted for the tasting menu and the wine pairing. I won’t bore you with details about the decor (like an old country club if you must know). On to the food…

Tuna prepared two ways with daikon radish, soy, and sesame: I did not get how this was prepared “two ways.” Quite boring and nothing special about it. Your basic piece of seared fish with Asian flavors. I expected something more exciting as an amuse.
Foie Gras Terrine, studded with salisify, melba toast, quince, and late-harvest Riesling puree: Good flavors. I liked the saltiness of the salsify in the center of the terrine and the Riesling puree was delicious. I do have to say that the foie gras had so many veins it was stringy. I let the waiter know and they charged us for the 3 course menu instead of the tasting. Nice, but I expect a restaurant of this caliber to use the best quality foie gras. Wouldn’t you?

Seared Diver Scallop with arugula froth, black truffle-nori risotto cake, braised escargot, and black truffles: One of the better dishes. The risotto was great and the scallop was perfectly cooked. The foam was a nice textural element (if not a bit passe), but there was no trace of the original ingredient-I tasted no green.

Braised Jamison Farm Lamb with baba ghanoush, truffled semolina and fresh chickpeas: Good concept but poor execution. Sous-vide lamb, which had no seasoning whatsoever. Bland. The accompaniments were off balance and the semolina “couscous” was just pleasurable in taste or mouth-feel.
Cauliflower and blue cheese cream, blinis, tangerine marmalade: I did enjoy this dish. The cream was unusual and paired well with the blini. The marmalade was unnecessary.
Cranberry Clafouti with brown sugar-vanilla ice cream: The clafouti was gorgeous but the ice cream was heavy on the cinnamon. I enjoyed the dish only after the ice cream was moved to the base plate.

The kitchen staff at work
Chef Arnaud Berthelier
Mango Cream with piquillo jam, cumin crumble, frozen yogurt and cilantro: What a disaster. The flavors were not anywhere close to going together. The said the pastry chef was trying something new. Is the chef tasting his staff’s creations? My friend liked the cumin crumble, but I found it out of place. I love savory and sweet combinations, but this was all wrong.
The candy cart
My candy selection: This was probably the best part of the meal. I enjoyed all my selections, especially the nougat and pear crisps.

Verdict: I am not discounting the talent of the Chef (who was very nice when he came to our table) or his crew, but the food was really…boring for lack of a better word. The usual suspects (foie gras, scallops, and lamb) made an appearance on our tasting menu. I would have liked to see the chef play around with some more interesting proteins. I was just not excited by what I put in my mouth. The service was odd. I had heard it was impeccable, but ours was a bit haughty and disorganized. The restaurant was only half-full (not even) and they seemed to be scrambling. I want my plates and wine glasses cleared immediately when I am paying $200+ for my meal. I wish I could visit this place three times to give a proper review, but I have no budget. From the average customer’s point of view, I would say there are better bangs for your buck in the Atlanta area. If I was going to drop $200 again, it would definitely be at Restaurant Eugene. I honestly kept thinking I would rather be eating on Buford Highway instead. Just one girl’s opinion though. You be the judge if you have the money to burn.

Address: 3434 Peachtree Rd NE
Phone: (404) 237-2700

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One comment

  • Re: The Dining Room at The Ritz Carlton: Buckhead
    posted by: Sudhir · February 16, 2007  6:37 AM

    Tough review. I have never been myself opting for Soto, Eugene and Bacchanalia over Dining Room many, many times over, but your review makes me think I have made the right choice everytime.

    Sounds like Bacchanalia and Eugene are the best game in town right now. I disagree that Eugene is the best place in the city. After two trips to each, Bacchanalia has my vote for numero uno, followed by Eugene.

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