Thursday, July 29, 2010
10 Kings Circle, Atlanta, GA www.greatfoodinc.com
Last week I stopped for lunch at Paul’s, located in the Peachtree Hills section of Buckhead across from previously reviewed The Treehouse. Paul’s was opened by Paul Albrecht of the famed (and now conspicuously MIA) Pano’s and Paul’s. The website says Paul’s is “Restaurant Bar Sushi.” Something to please everyone, right?
I was in a sushi mood, so I started with the beef tataki ($9). The flavor was good, but the texture was too grizzly. Next I ordered the Rob Roll ($12). This is comprised of cucumber, kani, tempura asparagus and cream cheese on the inside, and alternating strips of ahi tuna and sliced avocado on the outside. It was lovely, but somewhat disappointing in terms of taste. I think the crispy asparagus was what threw me off, although the tuna was also only of average quality.
I also ordered the yellow tail nigiri ($5.50). I hate to say this, but it was possibly the worst yellow tail I’ve ever eaten. It was off-colored, and tasted old. Definitely not fresh. I nearly sent it back, but I knew it would end up making me late getting back to the office, so I kept it.
After that I was happy to accept my server’s offer of “something sweet to complete your meal.” Per his recommendation, I ordered the chocolate caramel tart with pistachio ice cream (on the online menu the tart is paired with coffee ice cream). Now THIS was stupendous. Very sweet, with big chunks of caramel and perfect, lovely, green and creamy ice cream. A wonderful combination, although pricey at $8.
However, I felt bad about judging Paul’s based solely on the sushi, especially because I’m guilty of very high standards in that department. I decided to return for lunch to try out some of the regular fare.
This turned out to be a good decision. I ordered the panfried flounder fillet in olive oil, which comes with mushrooms, artichokes, new potatoes, capers and lemon parsley. Or at least those are the ingredients listed on the menu. I was surprised to discover sections of white grapefruit also in the dish. I’m still not 100% convinced this was a good idea, but I think the dish did require a bit of fresh contrast to the rest of the heavy ingredients. I’m just not sure if the chef went in the right direction with such a tart fruit. I also think the potatoes could have been omitted for a healthier and lighter dish. Nevertheless, if you’re a fan of rich food you’ll love the copious olive oil, grilled artichokes, browned mushrooms and the fried crust on the flounder. For $12 you’ll receive a good sized portion of fish and plenty of capers, lemon and parsley to flavor it.
A few notes on the atmosphere: it’s nice without being pretentious. I liked the warm wood paneling (which I normally hate) and the comfortable seat cushions dotted with bright pillows along with left wall. If you find the restaurant too expensive or stuffy, you can head upstairs to Paul’s On the Patio for a more casual experience.
Verdict: I'm willing to return, but it's far from my favorite place in this area. Steer clear of the sushi, but don't miss the chocolate tart.