The day I left Atlanta was a hectic one, as I had to finish packing and wrap things up in the lab. Luckily, I had a temporary respite in the form of a media luncheon at Lobby Bar and Bistro in Atlantic Station, hosted by the Concentrics Restaurants. I convinced one of my girls’ breakfast buddies to be my +1 and we headed over to Lobby, housed on the ground floor of TWELVE.
The purpose of the lunch was to introduce–or rather, reintroduce–new-old executive chef Nick Oltarsh. Oltarsh opened Lobby Bar and Bistro in 2005 and after a stint at Murphy’s in Virginia Highland, he has returned to Lobby. The menu contained a number of “New South” favorites on which I was excited to see Chef Oltarsh’s take, such as shrimp & grits and chicken & waffles. We started out with a variety of appetizers–chicken & waffles, seared tuna, pizzas, and gumbo–and this course included some of the favorites for the day:
I’m always, always wary of restaurant gumbo. For me (and I’d imagine for most people who have gumbo regularly made at home), nothing compares to my mom’s or grandma’s gumbo. However, I was quite impressed by this cup. The broth was tomato-based, which is not how my family typically does it, but I know that many people do and it was actually quite good. Chef Oltarsh later shared that his recipe is courtesy of Chef Nick Melvin (a New Orleans Native) of Parish.
The pizzas were also surprisingly good. We tasted the veggie pizza pictured and a margherita I didn’t get a photo of. The cheese topping each slice was thick and fresh, as were the veggies. If you’re interested in their pizza, I’d suggest stopping by on one of their “All You Can Eat/Drink Pizza Nights” which are scheduled to coincide with Atlantic Station’s outdoor movies on Thursday nights. You can get all-you-can-eat pizza for $10, and complimentary beer and wine with your meal for $15. Pretty sweet deal. The chicken & waffles was also a hit for most of the attendees. I wasn’t really impressed by the chicken strips, which seemed to be more batter than chicken, but the waffles were really, really good. Probably my favorite app!
For entrees, we had a choice of roasted salmon with champagne vinegar sauce, or shrimp & grits.
I had the shrimp & grits, and my +1 had the salmon. I heard nothing but good things about the latter, and it seemed to evaporate off of the plates of those who had ordered it seated near me. The shrimp & grits though, were only 50% good. The shrimp were very well seasoned and I enjoyed them. The grits, however, were a disappointment. They almost tasted like instant. Improve on those, and this could be a great dish.
For dessert, we had a tray of mini desserts, including eclairs, a lemon meringue tart, and an opera. Unfortunately, I think I was too excited about the sweets to get a photo, but everything I tasted (3/4 desserts–but only halves!) was delicious.
In addition to the aforementioned all-you-can-eat pizza night, Lobby also has a $1 (but, 1 per person) martini happy hour Wed-Fri from 5-7pm. I can definitely recommend trying the pizza and gumbo. And who could complain about a $1 martini?