Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bistro Niko




3344 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA www.buckheadrestaurants.com

I can't help but think that this place was opened by the ridiculously successful Buckhead Life Group to compete with Le Pied de Cochon, located right across the street at the Intercontinental Hotel. It's similarly decorated, with a small but lovely patio that sits just above busy Peachtree Road.

Kyle and I ate here the morning after our wonderful wedding, Sunday, October 24th. I've passed the restaurant umpteen times and couldn't wait to have a leisurely brunch on the patio.

And that we did. Kyle ordered the Chantilly Belgian Waffle with maple syrup and fresh heavy cream. ($13. I noticed that this has changed on the web menu to brioche French toast with caramelized bananas and candied pecans, which sounds excellent as well). 4 triangular slices of perfectly browned, crisp waffle lay on the plate, alongside 3 small bowls containing butter, thick whipped cream and rich syrup. It was pure joy.

I ordered a fantastic puff pastry with scrambled eggs, freshly steamed asparagus and sauteed cremini mushrooms. What a fantastic, savory meal! It was luscious, scrumptious, the eggs fluffy and buttery, the mushrooms flavorful and plump, the pastry light and beautiful. It was accompanied by a fresh arugula salad with just the right amount of homemade vinagrette. It was perfect . . . and it's also no longer on the menu. This is a tragedy. I thought about this dish several times when I was on my honeymoon and am very disappointed I won't be able to enjoy it again here.

So, the food was great. But the service was another story entirely. It was terrible. Yes, terrible. Our waitress was both slow and inattentive. There was a 10 minute stretch when we couldn't spot her at any table, much less ours. Patrons at other tables craned their necks searching for her, and when she reappeared she seemed blissfully ignorant of her neglect. As soon as she brought me my coffee (which she didn't do until she brought my entree), I asked her for cream and sugar, and none appeared until my coffee was completely cold. It also took a long time for us to get our check. It's nice to have a leisurely brunch on Sunday, but I was beginning to wonder if we were ever going to make it home.

I have no idea how to rate this place, such was the vast difference between the quality of the food and the quality of the service. I think I'd be more inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt if they wouldn't have removed the exact two items we ordered and enjoyed. Maybe I'll try it again one day, but it won't be the first on my list.

Verdict: Excellent brunch, awful service.

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