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The Early Word on Richard Blais's The Spence

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Photo by Brittany Wages

Late last month, cheftestapant and local culinary celeb Richard Blais opened The Spence in Midtown. People were eagerly awaiting the eatery, which has been referred to as Blais's "dream restaurant" by people who work with him, and feedback has been positive almost all the way across the board. Diners not only like the upscale casual American fare but also appreciate the decor and all of the details that make this restaurant seem homey and comforting rather than sleek and modern like the chef's previous concepts HD1 and FLIP. Check out some early reports ahead.

The Better Burger Than FLIP News: The Spence's Juicy Lucy cheeseburger "beats any of the ones at FLIP," says Yelper Ray L. He calls it "Blais's best burger," and fellow Yelper Hieu H. says that the restaurant "brings its A-game" with it. [Yelp]

The You'd Think They'd Been Open For Five Years Instead of Five Days News: Blogger Digital Cornflake was very impressed with how smooth the service ran and said everyone from the server to the pastry chef was attentive and helpful. She loved everything she ordered, including the bone marrow with tuna tartare (likened to "meat butter") and the panna cotta. [Digital Cornflake]

The Smoke and Silver News: The Spence uses real silver, which is highly uncommon at restaurants, and blogger at Reckless Ramble appreciated the fine touch. He also loved the octopus and pork belly dish, which came served under a glass dome filled with smoke. [Reckless Ramble]

The Off the Menu News: Tipsters say the eggplant terrine and chicken skin salad and oyster leaf are great dishes that weren't featured on the menu (though it does change daily). [Twitter]

The Everyone Else Wanted One Too News: A tipster wrote in to say that when he went to the restaurant with a large group and ordered the Methodist cocktail, everyone else followed suit or changed their orders to match his. "It was by far the best on the menu," he said of the drink which comes with a liquid nitrogen smoke rinse and an absinthe cube. [Eater Atlanta]

The Real Star News: The wine program at The Spence is thorough and divided into two categories: tried and true and leaps of faith. Sommelier Justin Amick's favorite on the menu is the Gruner Veltliner. About Amick, a tipster wrote in to say, "The real star here is young Justin Amick. The wine list is most impressive, and his knowledge is fascinating." [Eater Atlanta]

The So Foie So Good News: The pineapple upside down cake with foie caramel made by pastry chef Andrea Litvin has been almost universally recommended as the best dessert on the menu. [Eater Atlanta/Twitter/Yelp]

The Photo Bomber News: It kind of seems like people's favorite part of The Spence is not the bone marrow, homemade bread, or excellent service but the fact that Richard Blais is more than happy to stop by tables to chat, sign menus, and pose for pictures with guests. Instagram and Twitter are lighting up with photos of the chef either cooking on the open line or smiling next to happy diners. [Twitter]

The "Old and Cranky" News: Many people have reported that the restaurant can get a little too loud for a dinner place— diners who want to enjoy conversation along with their food may have trouble doing so on busier nights. [Digital Cornflake/Yelp/Facebook]

The Cold Food News: A few diners reported cold entrees but mentioned that the servers replaced their dishes quickly. [Eater Atlanta]

The Spence

75th 5th Street, Atlanta, GA 30308 (404) 892-9111

The Spence

75 5th Street NW, Atlanta, GA