Lobby Bar and Bistro has been around for quite some time, located at Twelve, the hotel in Atlantic Station. If you haven’t heard of it before, Lobby is a Concentrics restaurant, part of the One Midtown Kitchen, Two Urban Licks, Parish, Tap,etc empire. It seems to have gone through a slight name change from Lobby at Twelve to Lobby Bar and Bistro. Not sure if this is to coincide with the return of the original chef Nick Oltarsh.
I had never visited Lobby before, but was excited to check it out when I was invited to a Media Lunch recently. Perhaps it is the name, but I never thought about dining in the lobby of a hotel. I guess I was thinking more of a Holiday Inn rather than a swanky hotel like Twelve. But upon entering Lobby Bar and Bistro all prejudices were removed. It is rather pretty and the “lobby” name is somewhat of a misnomer. True, there are tables in the front to sit and chat or have drinks, but the dining area is set back with more of a restaurant feel than sitting in a hotel lobby.
The guest list for the media event was rather large, and we were seated in the private room all the way in the back. I loved the wines set along the wall of the room. It makes a dramatic impact. As we waited for everyone to arrive, I perused our set menu – gumbo, chicken and waffles, pizza, salmon, shrimp and grits. Nice! Glad I brought my appetite.
We started with the gumbo, made with andouille chicken, rice and scallions. It sounds like a pretty simple dish, but I was amazed at the complexity of the flavors. And it had the right amount of spice and wasn’t the least bit over-salted as gumbo can sometimes be. This was definitely a surprise as gumbo isn’t something I would usually order. I would include the picture I took at the Lobby Luncheon, but it really doesn’t do the gumbo justice. Just go have it, trust me.
Next up were the Chicken and Waffles as well as Ahi Tuna. As big of a deal as chicken and waffles are in the south, believe it or not, I’ve never had them. The combination of crispy fried chicken with the sweet maple syrup covered waffles sounds great. They were good, however the Tobasco sauce that was supposed to be included never came through as promised, albeit a tasty offering.
Oh, how I loved the Ahi Tuna. You know how they say you eat with your eyes first? Well, this is one dish that exemplifies that. It is so colorful – pink tuna, green avocado, orange slices – yum. And the taste? Wonderful, so many fresh ingredients, especially loved the inclusion of hearts of palm in the dish.
Pizza was the next item on our menu. I think ours was a hybrid of the margherita and traditional pizzas on the regular menu. I know ours had basil, zucchini, and onion, but was definitely meatless. The ingredients were extremely fresh and the portion is great for sharing.
Entree choices were Salmon or Shrimp and Grits. I was sitting across from fellow blogger, Amy, so we decided to get one of each and share. Me: Salmon. Amy: Shrimp and grits. I found my salmon to be cooked perfectly flaky and not the least bit dry. This can be a problem especially when serving a big group. But the preparation was perfect and the creamy lemon sauce was a refreshing departure from other restaurant offerings.
As for the Shrimp and Grits, I must admit, I’m not a fan of grits. They just seem so bland. I tasted the shrimp and they were properly spiced and tasty, but alas the grits just didn’t do anything for me. I will say, that the shrimp were plentiful and enough to fill you up without having to use the grits to make up for it.
Lobby at Twelve
361 17th Street Northwest
Atlanta, GA 30363-1078