Recently I had the pleasure of dining at the Buckhead Diner with my boyfriend as part of the Summer Dine Around program.
We did make a “reservation” for preferred seating. Again, my boyfriend is true to his nature we arrived 15 minutes past our “reservation.” I am really curious how the ‘preferred seating’ works since, unless everyone had it, because several groups, even some that arrived after us, got seated before us. For a Monday night at 7:45 to wait a half hour says something; what I don’t know.
I enjoyed the classic, upscale diner vibe. One of the things I love about metro Atlanta is that all diners are “upscale” even though I do occasionally miss the trains and literal greasy spoons of New England. The chrome was shiny and leather seats soft. The rich, dark decor brightened by ALL THE CHROME.
I ordered a peartini, I don’t remember what the boyfriend drank. The peartini was perfunctory and uninspired. I should have tried the pomegranate martini as I was more in the mood for bold flavors.
We started with the meatball appetizers, to which the boyfriend listened to me wax poetic about how I judge meatballs and how they speak to the quality of establishment. I blame being brought up on good (Americanized) Italian outside Boston. 😛 I was not disappointed, the meatballs were the perfect density, flavor, and complexity. It was a cloud of beefy tomato goodness. That was heaven. I joked with the boyfriend that it was an A-. DAMN near perfect. I forget what my reasons for not giving it a straight A were.
We were served a basket of bread. The bread for all Buckhead Life restaurants is made “in house.” The Atlanta Bakery was designed just for these restaurants to save money, and happened to be across the street from the Diner. I love me some fresh bread. I LOVED that there were tiny corn muffins that were sweet (do you know how hard it is to find sweet corn bread?) with actual whole corn kernals in it! The breadsticks were also good, though when asked, I gave it all a B+. Good but not the kind of bread that the next day would be memorable. Good bread is tasty and fantastic density and perfect inner chewiness and outer snap for at least three days.
I had ordered the CBS burger (no tomato, no pickle, add provolone) with no fries. That was a very good decision, that was a DAMN good burger. The marriage of flavors, the level of juiciness (given it was cooked medium), on a brioche was amazing. Not the bet burger I’ve ever had (that goes to Flip Burger Boutique) but in the top five burgers of my life so far.
The boyfriend had a salmon dish that he said was really good. He let me taste the sauce, because it was curious looking and he said it tasted orange. Turns out it was lemon and grainy brown mustard and some other spices. Our server was going to get me the “approximate” recipe but never did. It was very tasty and would be better on poultry or a mild fish rather than competing with the salmon.
To finish off I had the key lime tart, he the banana cream pie. We learned how much we love these desserts that we chose, yet strongly dislike what the other ordered. It seems like the perfect thing, because it means neither of us had to share a single bite. He raved about his pie, which was a HUGE portion he couldn’t finish; it was about the size of a small cantaloupe! Finally, we had an A+ with this tart. The short bread crust was perfect in flavor and crunch. The key lime mouse was fluffy but hefty enough to feel filling. The flavor had the perfect tangy bite chased by sugary goodness. I opted to not get the strawberry sauce, but I never missed it. I loved having just the key lime flavor – with the whipped cream from heaven. The whipped cream was airy and the perfect touch of sweet.
Alas, the next location is Kyma. It is predominately a seafood restaurant, so with my “sensitivity” the boyfriend will need to take someone else. I am sure it will be as high class and amazing as Bistro Niko and the Buckhead Diner have been.