In Creative Loafing, dining editor and restaurant critic Besha Rodell reviews East Atlanta Village's Octopus Bar. She calls the industry hangout tacked on to Vietnamese pho house So Ba, "A place for chefs and waiters and late-night diners to go after all the other places have closed," with a menu geared as such: "a collection of international oddities and a few insane mishmashes, portioned for late-night snacking or sharing." Overall, she says:
"A kind of low-key revelry prevails. Service is friendly and can be a touch disorganized. If the patio is busy, as it gets on weekends especially, drinks can take a long time to materialize. Because the space is technically outdoors, smoking is allowed. All of this makes for a slightly rough around the edges and occasionally odd experience...The oysters, the uni, the delicate house-made pasta don't negate the fact that this is late night in East Atlanta, and it feels like it."
But that's OK in Rodell's book, because "Octopus is also the next step in our city's evolution, an evolution that broadens the definition of dining...Octopus isn't as comfortable or swank or boring as most of the good restaurants in town. And as such, it is far more exciting."
John Kessler, lead dining critic for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, awards East Cobb's Seed Kitchen & Bar three stars. He compares the reasonably priced neighborhood spot to others, like Marietta's Chicken and the Egg and Roswell's Table & Main, that have opened recently:
"[Like others,] Seed offers a contemporary dining experience for a neighborhood that has long needed better options. With all due respect, I find Seed the best of the bunch because it comes across as the most forward-thinking in terms of its design, its wine program and its global larder. Turbush, who previously helmed the kitchen at Buckhead's fusion-minded Bluepointe, has a particular fondness for Asian flavors...He shifts confidently from these to Mediterranean and then to Southern without losing the unifying tone and finesse that defines his style."One weakness Kessler points out is dessert, but notes in sum, "that's a small complaint for a restaurant that doesn't just recycle crowd-approved dishes and current trends. Seed Kitchen & Bar could have been another safe, familiar restaurant—a little American bistro, a little farm-to-table, a little beets and goat cheese—but it decided to be something more."
Wrapping things up at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bob Townsend takes a First Look at Smashburger, Sandy Springs and Gene Lee reviews Stir It Up. At Creative Loafing, Wyatt Williams takes a First Look at STK and Brad Kaplan visits AJ's Famous Seafood and PoBoys.