The first time I went to ONE., I was irritated. The food was alright good considering the event—a local media/journalist meet up via Media Bistro. But the service was awful. Not just awful, but memorable to the point I’m still talking about it. I asked whom I understood to be the managing host that night for a large white plate so that I could plate and picture of all the treats they were offering. He quickly scoffed and said it was not possible and whisked himself away. I was flabbergasted.
I was somewhat kind in this partial review.
That was 3 years ago and I’ve since been curious to know if the service is still less than forgivable. Earlier this year, I was invited by the new house manager to come and taste their new summer cocktail menu. She wasn’t hip to the mishap so I agreed to go. The point was to simply taste what the bar was offering. A menu promised to feature wonderful combinations. But everyone knows a foodie like me can’t sit at a bar and not be interested in what the food might be like–especially in my (hopefully single) case of a most unfortunate run in with a jerk. I invited a girlfriend and off we were.
The spot is located in a cul-de-sac in midtown, barely visible to the average in-town driver. You have to know where ONE. is in order to comfortably find it. The big purple lit steel doors give the impression of walking into an underground club. Rather simply laid out, the dining room was a bit bare for a Wednesday night in the city. I noticed and took to the open face kitchen which gives you insight on how the chefs and cooks maneuver their way around. The recessed bar is perfectly situated and far enough from the dining room.
We were promptly greeted by the new manager and Jori, the cute bartender. She was thorough in going down the menu and detailing all the special effects each drink had. My friend and I had all of her suggestions: Gin-Gin Mule, Bee’s Knees, Eviction Notice and the Arancio Americano. The drinks were all inspired by different seasonal herbs and vegetables, most notably lemons and ginger. Of the ones I sipped long enough to get a buzz, the Limoncello, which is not even on the menu, was my top choice. You just have to know it’s there or get lucky enough to have Jori slip you a shot. She topped it with a pretty fresh lavendar bud, making the experience one to be wanted again. The Aranico is for the strong-hearted—a tad bit too strong for me. The Eviction Notice, having watermelon, gin, basil and fresh lemons needs to be a summer staple on their list. It was refreshing and perfect in color.
Our dinner that night was an unexaggerated stellar experience in comparison to the first time I stepped foot there. While I wasn’t there to eat, I couldn’t help but notice the salmon crudo which I devoured before they could replace my cloth napkin. Enough salmon for one with a light lemon sauce drizzled over it was just right for the 1st time taster of raw fish. I don’t fit that bill so I could have enjoyed two servings. I also had the short rib ravioli and loved the texture and doneness of the house made pasta. My friend enjoyed the hanger steak and fries–my least favorite thing on the menu.
I was pleased with the extra care given to us. Drinks brought me there but the service is what I was paying attention to. Good food and sexy libations can always have a salty aftertaste if you’re treated like crap.
My experience earlier this summer was satisfactory but still felt that it was biased since I was their guest. I decided to treat myself and another friend to an early dinner a few weeks ago. It was early and the restaurant was barren so I made a beeline for the bar. Jori was there again meaning we were going to get the best of the best. This is when I get to really see how consistent she, the food and over all service is.
She remembered I really enjoyed the Limoncello and wasted no time in bringing me a glass. Like the 1st time, it was delicious. She’d been fermenting it for 2 months and finally opened it up. This time without a flower. My friend, a native NY’er found happiness in the Ceraon Meets Caryatis, mixed with bourbon, fortified wine and flamed orange peel. Somehow it transported him to a chilly night in the city. I on the other hand took one whiff of that thing and was done. I found an excuse to counterbalance the overpowering bourbon. Jori, a bonafide mixologist led me to the Blu Stag Fiz–fresh bluberrries, gin, lemon megingue (yes, raw eggs) and Prosseco. One word: Heavenly. Everything about it was refreshing, though blueberries are officially out of season and frothy eggwhites are more suited for steamy weather. And it was pretty–details chicks like.
(ceraon meets caryatis)
(blue stag fizz)
Don’t worry, if nothing tickles your fancy on their cocktail menu, Jori is sure to mix something up that will hit the spot.
Dinner was on the forefront this time. Still foregoing siting in the dinning room, I expected the food to be just as good. The service by Jori was no doubt parallel to if not better than a table server. I had tons of questions regarding the menu, down to how long they sear the duck for their confit, my friends pick. An absolute delight, that choice as his first course was served on a bed of sweet potato purée, apples, pistachio and saba. I was regretting not ordering anything to start. The duck was juicy, tender and a great size if you consider a lot of similarly rated restaurants implement portion control in order to remain recession-proof. My friend and I shared the main courses including the 1/2 roasted chicken plated with marinated olives and the blue cheese burger with parmesan fries. The former rocked my shoes off. I’m not a white meat gal so I was digging everywhere I could to get my fork into the dark meat. All of it, every single piece of the fresh chicken was perfectly seasoned and ready to be pulled off its core. As for my burger, it was good, but just another burger. Nothing to run home about. The fries were better, truthfully.
(wood oven roasted 1/2 chicken)
(blue cheese burger with parmesan fries)
The rest of menu is open to changing nightly based on chef Drew van Luevan’s inspiration. The pastas are always offered and are pretty tasty and close to the real Italian deal. Pizza is also a staple on the main course menu. Not sure that I’d opt for that in a restaurant’s that’s so swanky. The options from the First course are tried and true. You would not go wrong by ordering 3-4 of those and skipping the pasta or main course altogether.
The foul encounter that first time has been corrected, I’m glad to report. ONE. has demonstrated consistency in food and service, two things I’m having a hard time finding a marriage in when I go out to eat these days. I do look forward to eventually sitting in the dining room to measure difference in serve time and hospitality. For now, I’m completely content with sitting at the bar and ordering my entire meal from Jori.
If you’re into TWO. Urban Licks, try ONE. for a far more audibly pleasing experience.
ONE. Midtown Kitchen
559 Dutch Valley Road
Atlanta, GA 30324
P: 404.892.4111 | e: firstname.lastname@example.org | web: onemidtownkitchen.com
First Course: $6-$22
Main Course: $12-$25
Last visit: November, 2010
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.