Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Atlanta Restaurant Review: Seven Lamps

Much of Buckhead's dining scene seems designed for Buckhead Betties or is otherwise overwhelmingly "meh" (the top notch H&F notwithstanding). So I was very excited to find recently that the Seven Lamps (opened in December) is actually pretty hip and certainly appropriate for date night.

Tucked away in the Shops Around Lenox complex next to Tootsies, Seven Lamps fills a much needed gap in Lenox Mall dining options - a genuinely cool option with high quality food. According to Eater, Seven Lamps is "named the restaurant after art critic John Ruskin's principles of architecture: sacrifice, truth, power, beauty, life, memory, and obedience" which Chef Drew van Leuvan, formerly of One Midtown Kitchen, believes applies to the kitchen as well.


Our supremely enthusiastic waiter clearly loves his job and thinks very highly of van Leuvan. He was attentive and happy to offer glowing recommendations. Instead of the ubiquitious bread basket, he started us off with pickled veggies and buttered radishes. I love me some pickles, so I enjoyed this amuse bouche, and particularly liked the veggies dipped in an anchovy mustard.


Head "Mixtress" Arianne Fielder, most recently of Southern Art, has divided the intriguing cocktail menu into categories like Beer-tails, Classically Inspired and Drinkable Desserts. Alas, I'm off the booze, so I settled for one of their artisanal sodas while the Mr. sampled the Red Derby, made with Bellemeade Bourbon, blood orange, Savannah Bee Co. honey and tarragon. He reports it was well balanced with just enough sweetness and booze kick. I didn't love my tropical tasting jerk soda, but the particular one I had appears to no longer be on the menu. The Dr. Paz sounds pretty compelling though, with dark berries, barks and spices, so I might give that a go next time.



An earthy and delectable appetizer of stuffed mushrooms is not on their current menu. Fortunately for you, the buttered lobster bun is still on the menu and is ridiculous (in a good way). For $9 they don't skimp on the lobster, and it's as good as many of the lobster rolls I sampled in Maine this summer.


Van Leuvan is known for his handmade pastas, so we opted for appetizer portions of two of them. The gnocchi in particular was unusual in all the best ways. Made with baby spinach, d'anjou pear, gorgonzola, and gingerbread, the cheese lends it a pungency that works so well with the pillowy gnocchi and the sweet pears.


Our second pasta, Agnolotti stuffed with aged fontina and ricotta, served with pancetta, sofrito and asiago, was more traditional seeming with a fairly straightforward red sauce. Definitely tasty, but, I'd go for the gnocchi if I could only have one.


It's not that much of a secret, but there's also an off-menu burger to consider. Made with half brisket, have top round, and topped with Thousand Island, caramelized onions, pickles, and cheese, this burger is a worthy entrant to the city's burger wars. It was meaty and perfectly cooked with enough yummy toppings to keep things interesting. The seasoned cottage fries were an awesome accompaniment. They're crisp on the outside and fluffy inside. I thought I was too full to eat this before it came, but it was so good, I found room for my half.


Overall, I was quite pleasantly surprised by Seven Lamps. It's upscale quality in a casual but still stylish atmosphere with plenty of interesting options to make return visits appealing. It just might give me a reason to drive up to Buckhead more often and has given me a new go-to recommendation when people ask what's new and worthwhile.

Seven Lamps
3400 Around Lenox Rd
Atlanta, GA 30326

Seven Lamps on Urbanspoon


*Full disclosure: Although my meal was comped, I always endeavor to offer my unbiased opinion of the experience!

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