Thursday, December 24, 2009
4969 Roswell Rd., Atlanta, GA www.101concepts.com
Monday was a very nice day for me. I utilized my final vacation day of 2009 to go shopping and enjoy a leisurely lunch with my grandmother, a rare treat. Since we were in Sandy Springs we decided to check out Food 101 on Roswell Rd.
My grandmother, who is normally guilty of ordering a fried chicken salad at any and every restaurant that lists it on the menu, made the sudden and unexpected move of ordering the Maryland Crab Cake BLT sandwich ($13), along with the house potato chips. She was pleased with the fresh lettuce, crisp bacon, plump crab cake and soft brioche. The sandwich was large enough for her to enjoy one half at the restaurant and take the other half home for dinner, making it a pretty good bargain.
I ordered the cornmeal crusted calamari Caesar salad ($12). The calamari was crisp and only very lightly breaded, not greasy at all. The flesh was tender without being rubbery. I was disappointed to find that the romaine lay in full, uncut leaves on the plate. I spent the first five minutes of my meal chopping awkwardly with my fork and butter knife, trying to convert the huge greens into edible portions. Oddly enough, I think the best quality of this salad was the croutons, which were long, wide and very buttery. They were delicious, but only sparingly distributed - I think I had 4, and I would like to have had at least 6.
I also enjoyed a cup of hot tea with my meal, and was presented with a large wooden box filled with approximately twelve different organic selections. My small teapot was refilled with hot water at appropriately timed intervals.
If there's a downside to the restaurant, it's this: there is nothing in particular that really stands out at Food 101. Neither the menu nor the decor is especially interesting or impressive. Although I feel that our lunch was above average quality, it can't be called excellent. In my opinion, the Crab Cake BLT was the most unusual dish on the menu. In light of this, I would suggest that chef Jordan Wakefield be allowed to flex his creative muscles a bit more.
Verdict: A safe choice for food and service.