Tuesday, July 14, 2009
2985 Grandview Ave., Atlanta http://www.basils.net/8.html
Today Kevin and I ate lunch at Basil's. It's a little restaurant and bar just off of Pharr Rd. on Grandview Avenue that serves dishes rooted in Mediterranean cuisine. Although Basil's has been around for years, this is the first time I've ever eaten here, mainly because I usually stop at the French restaurant across the street, Anis. However, Kevin is a big fan of Mediterranean food and we're making it our business to try all of the Mediterranean themed restaurants in Atlanta, so Basil's was our next stop.
The patio is very nice, partly shaded by a large canvas with a slightly sunnier area sporting big umbrellas. The patio was cool and pleasant, especially as it sits up on a small hill, giving you the illusion that you're not really that close to busy Pharr Rd. Little touches of color, such as the dark blue wine glasses that sit atop each of the tables, give the dining area some extra personality.
We began with the calamari appetizer ($7), which is fried and "tipped" with aioli and accompanied by tomato cumin sauce. I liked the calamari, as the aioli wasn't overwhelming, the meat was tender and not overly fried, but the only reason I know that the sauce contained cumin is that the menu told me so; it was virtually undetectable otherwise. However, I especially enjoyed that the dish included fried pieces of yellow bell peppers and onions, an unexpected bonus.
Kevin chose the entree sampler ($13), which included grilled chicken breast, kafta (in this case, lamb), tabulleh, and hummus with sliced pita. The chicken and kafta get Kevin's seal of approval, but I think the tabulleh wasn't chopped finely enough and the hummus tasted too strongly of tahini. Don't get me wrong; I like tahini, but this was like straight tahini paste with a little olive oil. I wanted to ask the chef what happened to the chickpeas? I selected the pesto pizza, and unusual choice for me as I don't consider myself a big pizza fan. The draw in this case was the promise of goat cheese, spinach and tomatoes, which seemed like a good match for a warm (but not too hot) summer's day. I was pleased with the pizza. The goat cheese was thickly piled, the spinach was fresh and not at all stringy, and the tomatoes were fresh and ripe. For $11 it was a good deal, especially since I boxed up almost half of it and can stretch it out for a second meal later this week.
Verdict: A good choice for a long lunch or early evening dinner. Affordable prices for above average quality dishes. Great outdoor seating. Good service.