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The Early Word on Ford Fry's The Optimist

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Photo by John David Hall

Ford Fry's fish camp and oyster bar, The Optimist, opened late last month on Howell Mill Road after a couple false starts and has been the subject of mostly rave reviews ever since. With Adam Evans at the helm as executive chef, the restaurant, which touts itself as a "beach-food experience for land-locked Atlantans," has proven to be a culinary respite for seafood-seeking Westsiders. On to the reviews.

The Gluttonous Atlanta News: An anonymous Eater commenter "had a terrific lunch at The Optimist" earlier this month. The review complimented the decor, lobster rolls, and doughnuts and gave the restaurant high marks for inventiveness and taste. One thing, though: the meal "came with way too many shoestring potatoes, but people seem to like large portions in Atlanta." [-EATL-]

The Maybe Pricy But Definitely Worth It News: Cliff Bostock lunched at the restaurant for Creative Loafing and said that his meal was "worth every penny." Eat it Atlanta compared the prices on The Optimist's menu to the cost of similar dishes at soon-to-be-opened seafood restaurant and found that The Optimist was a better deal. [CL/EIA]

The Grapefruit Tart News: It won't come as a surprise to anybody, but the desserts created by Taria Camerino for The Optimist have been wildly successful. Try the grapefruit tart with white chocolate, a mimosa reduction, and candied honeysuckle or grapefruit peel. [CL/AT]

The Are We in New England? News: Maybe it was all that house punch or maybe it's just the authenticity of everything, but between the decor, cleverly-named cocktails, and delicious oyster bar fare (seafare?), the Amateur Gastronomer wondered if she had somehow ended up on a coast in the northeast. "You almost expect to see water outside instead of Howell Mill Road," she said. [AG]

The Not Just a Pretty Face News: Adventurous Tastes reviewed the Optimist and called it "one of the prettiest spots in town." She enjoyed her meal, too, calling the oysters "huge and succulent" and the mussels "darned flavorful." She was also thankful that nobody "almost died from food poisoning" from the oysters, which is always good sign. [AT]

The Housemade Rolls News: Not a single negative comment was made about the rolls that come with meals at the Optimist. They're made in house, are topped with maldon salt, and are really, really good. (While we're talking about rolls, the lobster ones might very be the best you'll ever have.) [Yelp/Kitten Masks]

The Still Getting Their Sea Legs News: As with any new restaurant, there have been many reports of poor service. Yelpers called it "stumbley", "a bit slow", "disappointing" and "what you'd expect from a young restaurant". Obviously, there were just as many glowing reports about knowledgeable, friendly staff, so, you know, grain of salt. [Yelp]

The Speaking of Salt News: A few people mentioned that some dishes were over-salted (the term "offensively salty" appeared) or under-cooked. [Yelp/CDA]

The Please Stop with the Puns News: "You can't help but feel optimistic about Chef Ford Fry's new restaurant." "The future looks very bright for The Optimist." "In a sea of same-same southern spots, The Optimist is ... quite distinctive." "Look on the bright side and go visit The Optimist." "Chef Ford Fry leaves me (finally) optimistic about seafood in Atlanta." [AG/AT/Yelp/365]

The Optimist

1400 Adams Street, , TN 37208 (615) 709-3156 Visit Website