And we're back with Good News/Bad News, a series rounding up the early reviews of a restaurant. Is there one you'd like to see featured? Do let us know in the comments or via the tipline. Feel free to chime in with your own opinions on Lusca as well.
[Photo: Matthew Wong]
Lusca has been open since April, giving fans of Angus Brown and Nhan Le a dining option that opens before 10:30 p.m. To the surprise of some, the East Atlanta veterans decided to open their new venture in south Buckhead, hoping for a mix of piercings and tattoos with suits and ties in the dining room. Brown is running the kitchen, turning out seafood and game, and Le is the man in charge of the raw bar that adds an Asian twist to the restaurant. Early reviews are in; keep reading for the good news and the bad news.
The Bread and Butter News: The first thing a diner tastes at many restaurants is bread and butter, and one Yelp reviewer says that's enough reason to return to Lusca: "While this place was indeed excellent, I dedicate my five stars to the bread and butter service. Have you ever tasted butter made out of crack? Cause I'm pretty sure that's what this was. Both bread and butter are made in house and I plan on having a full meal out of those two ingredients next time that I am there." [Yelp]
The Overpriced News: A few OpenTable reviewers haven't been impressed with the price relative to portion size: "Also, on the menu they list side vegetables to "share" for $8 each. As a group, we thought this was a good option. We ordered the green beans and potatoes. The portion size for this was SO small! There were 4 potatoes, FOUR, to "share" between 6 people. Also, we each got about 2 green beans. For $8 each dish, we all found this to be completely ridiculous. ... It was mediocre food for really high quality prices. ... Amateurs. Waaaay overpriced for what they're delivering. Undercooked $60 dry aged steak. Didn't even bother to cut off the outer dried up crust. Outside had consistency of beef jerky. $6 for single piece of nigiri. More expensive than Umi." [OpenTable]
The Bivalve and Cured Meat News: Another Yelp reviewer was pleased with the oysters and charcuterie board: "We started off our meal with some of the best oysters I had in ATL and the charcuterie board. Loved everything on the charcuterie board but the pate was probably the best (and that is a big thing because I do not usually like the pate)." [Yelp]
The Best in Atlanta News: At least one reviewer believes it doesn't get any better than Lusca: "Lusca is one of a kind! The staff is very friendly, they make you feel like family right when you walk in the door. The food and drinks are the best in Atlanta. I wouldn't recommend eating anywhere except for Lusca from now on." [Yelp]
The Unique Combination News: Eat It, Atlanta says that even though there's room for improvement, the assortment of food and drink offerings is tough to find at any other restaurant: "Hit the raw bar. Casually sample some charcuterie. Throw down a few pieces of nigiri. Maybe eat a pasta or some toasts or share a branzino. Drink a weirdo orange wine or an absinthe cocktail. There's not many places I can think of, if any, where this combination of food freak fun can be enjoyed. I will be back." [Eat It, Atlanta]
The Loud, Inconsistent News: Atlanta Restaurant Blog took in a meal as part of the Hush Dinner Club and found a discrepancy in the appetizers and a noisy dining room: It was extremely loud at Lusca even though we really only got started around 9:30. The restaurant was relatively empty yet I had to shout to talk to my table mate across from me. While Lusca is a pretty space, the acoustics are terrible. ... Talk about size difference between the two appetizers! I was just about done with my two tiny pieces of pasta before my friend finished slicing through her Rock Crab. Lucky for me, she was nice enough to share a taste. The crab was good from what I could discern, but the burnt toast it sat on top of ruined my bite. I'd like to head back to Lusca at some point to have it sans any toast, burnt or not." [Atlanta Restaurant Blog]
The Hope for the Future News: The AJC's John Kessler believes there are some kinks that need to be worked out, but it's a progressive restaurant Atlanta needs: "The menu changes weekly at Lusca, which contributes to that not-quite-jelled quality of the kitchen's efforts. But I still have high hopes for Brown and company, smart guys all with welcome ideas about dining. I think a few more surefire hits and clearer focus would go a long way toward showing Atlantans why we need this forward-thinking restaurant now." [AJC]
The EAV Invasion News: Creative Loafing's Brad Kaplan enjoyed the menu, and thinks more and more East Atlanta types will start showing up: "Sure, the crowd may be a bit more staid than that at Octopus Bar, but I'm betting the frenzy will come with time. Maybe all those men in blazers are just waiting to let out their inner EAV. Brown and Le stand ready to enable." [CL]
· All Lusca Coverage [-EATL-]