Friday, July 20, 2012

Downtown Atlanta Restaurant Week starts July 21!

Downtown Atlanta Restaurant Week starts this weekend (July 21) and runs through July 29. Enjoy three-course lunches or dinners for just $25.00 or $35.00 per person, plus tip and tax. Don't miss your chance to check out some of downtown's best restaurants. Besides the below, other restaurants participating include Alma Cocina, BLT Steak, Legal Seafood, No Mas Cantina and Room at Twelve Centennial Park.

I was lucky enough last night to get a little preview of what you'll get to enjoy at Ray's in the City, Max Lager's, and Sway at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

We kicked things off at Ray's ($25 restaurant week menu). There is nearby parking in the Atlanta mart parking deck (don't be a dolt like me and have a melt down driving around the one-way streets and ultimately parking in a zillion dollar per minute deck by Hard Rock!) I enjoyed the tomato and mozzarella salad, which was more boldly flavored with the addition of vidalia onions, than the norm, and the fresh sushi options.

Just down the road was Max Lagers ($25 restaurant week menu), which I had no idea had been there for 14 years and was one of the original brewery/restaurants in Atlanta. 

We sat outside on the remarkably pleasant patio (fans keep you from overheating) and quenched our thirst with some of their in-restaurant brewed beers. I'm not much of a beer drinker, but the Mr. is and he said the Hopsplosion IPA (Intensely hoppy India Pale Ale with a toasted malt backbone to back up a citrusy/spicy finish from aggressive hopping with a blend of hops from the Pacific Northwest) was akin to one of his faves - Bell's Hopslam, which is high praise indeed.

We started with Brick-Oven Focaccia (focaccia, rosemary, olive oil, sea salt, aged balsamic vinegar) which was like a classier and awesome crazy bread.

From their restaurant week menu, we sampled the Butcher’s Steak with roasted garlic butter, fries, and cheddar horseradish fondue. It's hard to go wrong with steak frites, and Max's does a nice job keeping things medium rare and having well seasoned steak and fries.

Our last stop was the Hyatt Regency Atlanta's restaurant, Sway ($35 restaurant week menu). As a local, I can't say it would have ever occurred to me to go into this hotel. Well color me surprised, the hotel is actually pretty darn cool looking and the restaurant is downright swank.

I was already feeling stuffed, but I made room for at least a nibble of everything. We started with a 
delicious White Asparagus and Vidalia Onion Soup with Truffled Crispy Onions. It was redolent of truffles so it won me over from the start. I loved this soup!

Next up was a sampling of each of the restaurant week entrees - Pan Roasted Breast of Tanglewood Farms Chicken with Yellow Grits and Sweet Carrots and Black Pepper Jus; Herb Crusted Carolina Flounder with Roasted Shallots, Sugar Snap Peas and Citrus Salad; and NY Strip Sirloin 12oz. with Butter Whipped Potatoes, Asparagus and Chervil Reduction. Two interesting details about this - first, they served it in a very green cool cast iron pan to keep it warm and aesthetically pleasing (seriously, I wish that was a take-home gift!). Second, they actually get their beef from a farm that only slaughters one cow a month, and they get first dibs on the meat before any other local establishment. 

But most exciting of all at Sway? The ridiculously gorgeous and delectable looking pie bar, which is a spread of the most incredible looking desserts. Since we were already stuffed to the gills, they gave us a wonderfully light and healthy dessert of strawberries sweetened with agave syrup in a yogurt cream. So delicious! They were gracious enough to let us take home a selection from the pie bar to gorge on later! The quick nibble I've had so far of the chocolate mousse (super rich with a hint of marshmallow flavor) and chocolate chip cookie were delish so far, and I am already looking forward to the chocolate chess pie I will reward myself with after pilates tonight!

Don't miss out on these great values! For more info and the menus of all participating restaurants check out the Downtown Atlanta Restaurant Week site.



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