Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Parish the thought

I recently moved from NYC to Inman Park in Atlanta. When I left Atlanta nearly 6 years ago, I'd never even heard of Inman Park, but these days it's one of Atlanta's culinary meccas. In fact, we chose to live here because it's one of the few parts of Atlanta where you can actually walk. Imagine that, actual Atlantans climbing out of their SUVs and putting foot to pavement. I never thought I'd see the day. Better yet, we can walk to a half dozen exciting restaurants within 5 minutes.

So last night I decided to try out Parish, Concentrics New Orleans influenced restaurant at 240 N. Highland. The setting , in the renovated historic Terminal building, is lovely. The main dining room is airy and not overly noisy. There's also a market that serves sandwiches at lunchtime around back with a dog-friendly patio. I've been previously for lunch and have found it to be a charming, albeit somewhat expensive option. The ferdie, a hot roast beef sandwich with "debris" is moist and delicious, and the onion jam on the brie grilled cheese is an unexpected and much welcomed touch.

Alas dinner at Parish didn't quite live up to my expectations. Our server told us that in an effort to be earth friendly, they've forgone traditional menus in favor of 2 blackboards. Oddly enough, they are more than happy to throw away paper when it comes to the bread which is served in a paper bag. Wouldn't it make more sense to print out and laminate 100 menus that you use over and over again rather than throwing away a paper bag for every table served? We were seated in the front corner of the restaurant, making it difficult to read either of the blackboards. Also, the blackboard doesn't include descriptions of the meal, so anyone who doesn't know what a tournedos is or wants to know how the red fish is prepared will have to ask for a description from the server.

We were encouraged to get a salad because the red fish which we both ordered was "light." The mussel salad we ordered turned out to be unavailable, so we ended up with a far less exciting, and as of late ubiquitous, spinach and strawberry salad. My broiled gulf red fish was flavorful with a light coating of spice. However, we found out that the reason the dish was "light" was more than anything because the side dish was so unappealing that surely no one actually eats it. Next to the fish was simply a giant pile of raw onions and a few errant green beans coated in a vinaigrette. Raw onions have such an overpowering taste, particularly with a delicate fish that I can't imagine why anyone would want to eat a whole mess of them. Surely a simple mixed vegetable medley would make a better accompaniment. I also ordered a Pimm's Cup, which is normally a light and summery refresher, but this one was too sugary, and although fairly tasty, was too cloying to call refreshing. Fortunately they have a solid wine list with well-priced options, including a $6 Albarino and an $8 Cotes du Rhone.

Nevertheless, the service was attentive and Concentrics clearly knows how to run a great restaurant, so I'm confident there's hope for Parish. I won't be rushing back anytime soon for dinner, but over time, I'd imagine they'll work out the kinks by printing out some menus and hopefully ditching the overabundance of raw onion.

Pros: lovely decor
Cons: no printed menus, lousy side dishes

Parish
240 N. Highland Ave
Atlanta, GA


Parish Foods & Goods on Urbanspoon

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