Yesterday, pops and I took a trip over to Atmosphere Bistro on the outskirts of the Morningside neighborhood in Atlanta. Open roughly 7-years, they have long served one of my favorite brunches here in the city. Given the price point, the atmosphere (no pun intended), and the service – I find little to complain about when visiting on any given lazy Sunday. As this is a quick hits posts, keep in mind I am speaking specifically about the brunch menu at Atmosphere and not their standard fare.
The available choices are only unusual in the sense that not many restaurants in Atlanta serve this type of brunch cuisine. If you are accustomed to French food, the choices, which include Escargots de Bourgogne, Oeufs Bénédictine (Eggs Benedict), and Salade Niçoise, will seem like second nature. Given the bevy of nearby grit-centric options, this straightforward take on a French brunch is much appreciated.
For yesterday’s meal, Papa Buddha and I split the escargot and the beef Carpaccio. As with any good Carpaccio, the Kobe slices were razor thin, and the ratio of beef to shaved Parmesan and arugula was nicely played. The marinade of lemon juice, EVVO, and salt and pepper, made this dish bright and salty. The meat was well-marbled and produced the expected flavorful bites that were tender to the touch. Topped with high quality Parm, which almost melted into the meat, I was left wishing we had gone with the larger portion.
The escargot was another well-executed dish. Severed up in a six-top ceramic escargot dish, it is visually appealing in both its contrast and simplicity. The rich green against the white background really popped out. Meanwhile, the flavors were as reminiscent of traditional French ingredients. With a touch of bread crumbs, sieved mushrooms (or at least finely diced), garlic, and parsley, this is perhaps my favorite rendition of a dish with escargot. More importantly, the snails themselves were cooked perfectly. The richness of the dish was balanced by fleeting exposure; bites were appropriately small and went down like the slip sliding goodness of butter.
While we each had an opportunity to sample the others entrée, I went with the Eggs Benedict and my father went with the omelet special. Each came with a side of fries and fresh greens. Both sides performed as expected. The omelet was fluffy and was not cooked in an excessive amount of oil/butter. A little under-salted, the oyster mushrooms and the onions were bright and fresh. Admittedly, this is a pretty simple dish to execute; however, given the rampant examples of poorly prepared eggs found elsewhere, this is worth noting.
My Eggs Benedict hinted at excellence and settled in just a smidge below. The Hollandaise was emulsified idealism. It’s a sauce that must be prepared with care and skill, and who ever served it up this particular day did a wonderful job. Rich and buttery, there was a nice hint of tang derived from the lemon. The thick cut bacon was crisp and thin on the fat (relative to most bacon). As bacon is a particularly fatty cut, it was nice to see the gang at Atmosphere use a high quality product. Served over a thick cut of what I believe was brioche, this was a near perfect execution. Eggs Benedict should be buttery, creamy, and decadent. In that regards, this dish was a total success. The one failure was in the cooking. Easily overcome because of its other strong points, the egg yolk had dried out just a smidge too much as had the bread. The richness of flavors can’t be denied, but it would have been perfect if the bread wasn’t as chewy and the eggs had at least a little “runniness” to them.
I’ll revisit the restaurant sometime in the future for a more robust review; however, I’d be remiss if I did not mention the service, which was particularly good yesterday. Leah did an excellent job of remaining on top things while not pestering us. Her explanation of the menu was genuine and absent of the usual pomp and circumstance you find at many restaurants of the same ilk. I suppose things were easy on her as we were the only table for a good bit; however, good service is still good service.
Oh yeah, the space is warming and casually intimate. This free standing house has been transformed into a comfortable setting, armed with a full bar, ample seating, and a Piedmont side patio.
As brunches go, this is one of the better options in the city. While you can easily rack up a bill in the $35/head range, the food and drink are appropriately priced. Though they were not at all busy this past week, I usually find that reservations here are a good thing.