In this month's Atlanta Magazine "Best of Atlanta" issue, dining editor and restaurant critic Bill Addison reviews Richard Blais' HD1. Addison touches on Blais' rocky history in Atlanta, his "mad-scientist imagination" taking off, failing, and taking off again with Top Chef success. On the "psychedelic state fair food" at HD1, Addison notes that, "Early in its run, the hot dogs—all beauties to behold—can be uneven in their balance of flavors. It doesn't surprise, given the constant invention the kitchen strives for." He goes on to highlight hits and misses on the menu, but sums up the experience and his hopes for Blais saying:
"It’s a noteworthy addition to the restaurant scene because its stoner disposition laughs in the face of the economic gloom...Still, I can’t help but miss the Richard Blais who took risks with broader, more substantial ideas, who composed real entrees. HD1 is fun for a quick, casual lunch or late-night snack, but I’m holding out for Blais’s genuine return to the stove."Earlier in the review, Addison refers to when that return will happen: next spring, when Blais and Concentrics Hospitality open the Spence in midtown.
In Creative Loafing, dining editor and restaurant critic Besha Rodell reviews Barcelona Wine Bar in Inman Park, saying that, amid the "long dark months of recession and restaurant stagnation...[it] has all the energy of boom times." She goes on to note that, even though it's part of a small chain out of Connecticut, "It may be the best conceived upscale chain I've ever encountered," due in large part to the majority control that individual chefs have at each location. She applauds the service and thinks that chef Michael Blydenstein's "daunting" menu is "is exactly as good as it needs to be." She concludes that's just the right amount of good:
"When you stack up all that Barcelona has going for it, it's hard to argue that the good-enough food is a detriment. This place is social at its core. The atmosphere, the service, the wine, and the huge range of options on the menu do what other places have set out to do but rarely achieve: Barcelona channels the spirit — if not the experience — of casual European dining. If only all chains were so refreshing."
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Bob Townsend also takes a First Look at Barcelona Wine Bar. Wrapping things up at the AJC, Jenny Turknett reviews Horseradish Grill and Gene Lee visits Thali Indian restaurant.
Foodie Buddha goes to the BATON Supper Series: Tien Ho Dinner. Jimmy at Eat It, Atlanta checks out Curly's Fried Chicken and Fuoco di Napoli. And ATL Food Snob revisits Holeman & Finch Public House.