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CITY TALK: Atlantic is welcome addition to food scene

Atlantic opened recently at the northeast corner of Victory Drive and Drayton Street. The new restaurant is another exciting entry in Savannah’s increasingly ambitious food scene.
Many readers of this column have probably already eaten at Atlantic. The restaurant held an extended soft opening – probably a great way to work out some kinks – and has been doing strong business since opening to the general public.
 
I made my first trip to Atlantic on the Monday of Thanksgiving week. I thought the restaurant might be a little slow on that night and hoped to find a seat at the bar.
I thought wrong. Atlantic was bustling, and there was even one large party next to a heater on the gracious patio. I was lucky to be offered a two-top that had just become available, and I settled in to study the menu.
 
Of course I’d already studied the menu from home – you can find a copy on Atlantic’s Facebook page – so I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to try, but then owner and general manager Jason Restivo dropped by the table and made a few recommendations.
 
Many readers will remember Restivo from his time with Garibaldi and The Olde Pink House, and many of you will also know the work of chef Lauren Teague, who was at 22 Square inside the Andaz Savannah.
 
I’m genuinely excited about Atlantic’s current menu, and I’m even more excited to see how Teague’s dishes and choices evolve.
 
The menu is divided into four broad categories: tastes, breads, bowls and plates. Every item is priced under $20, and many are priced under $10.
 
The prices suggest that the Atlantic team is serious when they call the restaurant “a neighborhood eatery.”
 
I decided to indulge and ordered far more food than necessary. From the “tastes” I ordered both the kielbasa ($7) and the zucchini and green bean fritters ($6).
 
The kielbasa is made in-house, has a rich smoky flavor and isn’t greasy at all. With some small roasted potatoes and a horseradish cream sauce, the kielbasa certainly made a filling first course. The fritters are cooked with whole green beans that retained just the right amount of crispiness.
 
Next I tried the Brussels sprouts bowl ($13), a hearty combination of halved and roasted sprouts, braised pork belly, grapefruit and Service Brewing’s Teufel Hunden. That’s a lot of strong flavors, but I found the balance just about perfect.
 
If you’re looking for more traditional entrees, Atlantic has options like meat loaf ($14) and duck breast ($18).
 
I’m especially anxious to try a few of the sandwiches, including the muffaletta ($10), the house cured and smoked pastrami ($9) and the hot brown ($11), a variation on a traditional dish that I’ve eaten many times back in Kentucky.
 
Atlantic occupies a former dentistry office that was originally built as a gas station before World War II. It’s a lovely space, although the interior is a little loud right now.
I also had two excellent drinks from Atlantic’s selection of specialty cocktails. The Century ($11) is a bourbon drink with a hint of fig, lemon and mint, and the Valley Forge ($12) is a combination of rye, Amara Luna, sherry and orange bitters. The latter was excellent with the Brussels sprouts bowl.
 
That’s a lot of food and drink, but my bill was only $53. You can eat and drink very well at Atlantic for less than half that much.
 
Restivo is an experienced sommelier, so it’s no surprise that Atlantic has a large and varied wine list.
 
Atlantic is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. As I write this, the restaurant’s website is still under construction, but you can find more info on Atlantic’s Facebook page or by calling 912-417-8887.
 
Atlantic is within walking distance of many midtown-area residents, but I don’t see many other people on foot after dark. So if you’re driving, you can find parking along 41st and 42nd streets between Drayton and Abercorn.
 
We’ve seen some impressive new restaurants over the past couple of years, and there is clear precedent for successful, reasonably priced restaurants within a few blocks of Atlantic. The Vault on Bull Street and Green Truck Pub on Habersham Street have developed loyal followings, and Atlantic will surely find many regular customers before the year is done.
 
City Talk appears every Tuesday and Sunday. Bill Dawers can be reached via billdawers@comcast.net. Send mail to 10 E. 32nd St., Savannah, Ga. 31401.

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