John Kessler, lead dining critic for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reviewed the new Inman Park restaurant, Barcelona Wine Bar, awarding it three stars. He enjoys visiting on Sundays for half-off wine bottles and whole roast pig; early on weeknights for tapas; and hasn't ventured into the "rugby scrum that is Saturday night." Overall, Kessler says:
"I've loved getting to know a place that gets its tone so exactly right. The crowds come because this restaurant—surprisingly, a link in a small Connecticut chain—delivers the whole dining package wrapped up in the kind of energy you can't bottle....The Spanish-themed food is mostly good and sometimes very good. But here's what's important: The kitchen staff hits all its marks."He closes the review by using Barcelona's "good" paella as a metaphor for the entire concept, "It didn't have the bottom crust that is the mark of a superior version, and it didn't have the rubber squid that is the mark of a lousy one. But it was exactly what it needed to be, much like this restaurant that makes its neighborhood an infinitely cooler place."
Also at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bob Townsend takes a First Look at Chuy's, Dunwoody, and Jenny Turknett reviews Bleu House Cafe and Bleu House Market in Norcross. At Creative Loafing, Cliff Bostock shares highlights from the recent issue of Knife & Fork, critic Christiane Lauterbach's monthly dining newsletter, including a 2.5-star review of Barcelona Wine Bar and "an unflattering first look at Southern Art."
The blogosphere appears to have taken some time for holiday vacay and year-end round-ups, with no new restaurant reviews this week.