In Creative Loafing, dining editor and restaurant critic Besha Rodell reviews Fifth Group's new downtown restaurant Alma Cocina. She says the Mexican joint has little in common with its sister restaurant El Taco, with Alma "more geared toward the expense accounters." Rodell prefers the Amatitan margaritas over other cocktails and, on the food, notes that "while Alma does suffer from some of the pitfalls of 'modern Mexican,' it also gets a lot right, taking traditional dishes and refining them just enough to allow you to taste them afresh." She goes on to explain the logistical pitfalls of a "tourist" restaurant, but concludes:
"I'm impressed with [chef] Clevenger's fresh sensibilities with this cuisine. Paired with Fifth Group's consistency and professionalism, Alma Cocina could go a long way toward convincing the tourists and conventioneers that Atlanta just might be a food town after all."
John Kessler, lead dining critic for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reviews Latitude at Phipps Plaza. Awarding it just one star, Kessler (like Besha Rodell noted in her review last week) wishes for chef Micah Willix to better explore his talents. Instead, he says that the food can "veer into dullness and, worse, fail to lend any personality to the whole venture. Latitude feels more generic than it should." Kessler does note that the dishes play well with the wine list and, if diners are "in the right mood and plot the right course," the menu can offer a "chill, tasty American bistro meal like you almost never find in Buckhead." But the inconsistent kitchen, wine temps, and service combine for an overall negative. Kessler finishes the review with a special call-out to the burger and a plea for the chef:
"More, please! I don't want Micah Willix to showboat, but I do want him to make his case. Latitude needs to be less about the overall experience and more about his food."
Wrapping things up at the AJC, Jon Watson reviews Kozmo Gastro Pub and Bob Townsend takes a First Look at Fuoco di Napoli. At Creative Loafing, Besha Rodell searches for good food at Atlantic Station and Wyatt Williams takes a First Look at Fig Jam Kitchen & Bar.