Thursday, April 29, 2010

Go Get Some Escargot

Living in Atlanta, there is always somewhere new to go shop, go for drinks, or go for food. It's almost dizzying sometimes, trying to keep up with all of the openings and closings all over town, and especially in my little heart of Buckhead. I follow this blog to keep up with the restaurant and store scene happenings, but even the best of planning doesn't allow me to test them all out.

I have talked about some of my favorite restaurant groups on here before, and the one that is always at the top of my list is the Buckhead Life Group. When I heard in early 2009 that BHLG was planning to open their first major new restaurant since Kyma (2001), I was of course thrilled. On my daily drives around Buckhead, I'd see the location being completed, and couldn't wait to try it out. It was set to be a Parisian Brasserie -- the French higher-class version of the American diner. Fabulous!

Bistro Niko opened after much anticipation in the end of 2009, right around the time when all of our wallets were tightest with the impending holiday season. So, as much as I wanted to be on the reservation list for opening week, it has taken me a few months to get over there. But, I can honestly say, it was more than worth the wait!

The first great thing about Niko is the atmosphere. It is a true dining experience. All of Buckhead's elite are there on a typical weekend night. Some come in jeans, many more in their post-golf game or pre-theater show attire. The lights on the ceiling swirl around in a dim pattern, and tall brass rails divide the seating areas. If you blink, and ignore the passing traffic on Peachtree Street, you really think you are in Paris for the evening.

Combine the atmosphere with the food, and goodness, you have quite the night on the town ahead of you. We ate a lot and every single thing was fantastic. I don't think you can go wrong. I have heard fellow foodies rave about the French onion soup, and apparently the Crevettes en Pate (shrimp in pastry) are to die for.

As for what we had, the mussels were absolutely the best. If only that white wine and cream broth was healthy, because I'd drink it straight rather than just dip the crusty bread in! They serve them for lunch, too, and I have made a mental note to have a leisurely Saturday mid-day meal there soon.

My mom pointed out a review John Kessler at the AJC did recently comparing the three big brasseries in town -- Au Pied de Cochon is literally right across the street from Niko, while FAB is downtown. Au Pied is actually the American version of an original in Paris, and after visiting both, I can say it's a fantastic reproduction. John gives all three restaurants good reviews, but points out that each has it's strength. Now having tried all three, I agree with his review.

Mom and I realized that people in Atlanta tend to forget about mainstay restaurants sometimes, since we are lucky to have new places opening up so often. We might overlook the tried-and-true Italian joint for the restaurant with the newest chef. But that's ok! Each has it's strength. Au Pied, which has been around for many years, will always be a fantastic stop, but Bistro Niko is the hot brasserie in town right now ... and one which, honestly, I hope to be visiting again really, really soon :)


Chelsea said...

The shirmp is DELISH! I need to go back soon haha:)

Rockstar Rob said...

I walk by it all the time and keep thinking I need to try it out. I hate that I missed it during Buckhead Restaurant Week. I'll definitely have to stop in sometime soon.

Unknown said...

Chelsea - I will go there for a weekend lunch with you ANYTIME haha.

Rob - they are having another mini Restaurant Week coming up soon, apparently. Word on the street is that it will be May 15-30!