If you’ve spent much time on Buford Highway, you’ll know most of the restaurants aren’t known for their decor. A notable exception is A-Priori Seafood. The white tablecloth restaurant, is certainly not something you would expect from the outside strip mall view.
As soon as you are seated, they’ll bring you bread and sauce. While I enjoyed the mascarpone-spiked red sauce, it really wasn’t necessary. A-Priori feels like the kind of the place you want to go with a large group of friends and try a bunch of dishes. Isn’t that how most of us do BuHi anyway? So, who wants to fill up on bread when there’s delicious items like Grilled Chorizo Octopus to be had?
The menu has four distinct sections: Cold Appetizers, Hot Appetizers, Soups / Salads and Grilled and Roasted. Since A-Priori’s owner, Vladimir, invited me in for a complimentary meal, he insisted on selecting our entrees. To start, we began with an Octopus Stew and the A-Priori in Valencian Sauce. Though the appetizers weren’t cheap (probably around $15 each), they do offer a generous serving, that could easily work as an entree.
It was February when I visited and the Octopus Stew, with large chunks of octopus and potato, was a great starter to warm me up on a cold winter evening. The signature appetizer, A-Priori in Valencian sauce includes all your favorite shellfish: Lobster, crab, shrimp, mussels and clams all topped with caviar. The Valencian sauce, a garlic-based slightly creamy sauce definitely made for a unique dish. Everything was portioned well except for the small mussels.
I’d be remiss if I skipped over the salad section. Sometimes salads are just an afterthought. With a selection of five different salads made of organic ingredients, my Corn Arugula salad was delicious. The Feta and basil vinaigrette truly made it spectacular.
Our ocean exploration pressed on with Branzio and more Octopus. While the Branzino is certainly a fresh, healthy way to go, you’ll probably need to order a starter or another side to go with it. When choosing a side, I highly recommend the Quinoa Cake. This nutty treat is mixed with parmesan and basil. With a tangy orange sauce and slight crunch, it is marvelous.
Two more Octopus dishes came our way: Mediterranean Chorizo Octopus and a Grilled Octopus with tomatoes, beans and kale. While I loved the Chorizo Octopus, tender and not tough or rubbery, and a Chimichurri sauce that favorably complimented it, the latter entree, Grilled Octopus was slightly over-salted.
Though A-Priori is a seafood restaurant, that doesn’t mean they don’t do meats justice. Besides some incredible lamb chops, you’ll find a couple of steaks and Cornish hens on the menu. While many restaurants are stingy with lamb chops, A-Priori generously serves four meaty pieces, served with mushrooms and root vegetables.
True to form like most Buford Highway restaurants, A-Priori has chosen a weird day to be closed: Tuesdays. I asked owner Vladimir why Tuesday? Neighboring restaurants are closed on Mondays and Wednesdays, so Tuesday was a default choice.
While the menu isn’t huge, A-Priori could benefit from pairing it down a bit a stick with what they do extremely well. No need to have Fish and Chips, or Shrimp and Grits on the menu. Overall I was extremely pleased with the dishes we sampled during the tasting. I wish Vlad and his team lots of success.
If you’re lucky like me, you’ll get Angelina for your server! She was outstanding. Tip: At the time of my visit, they did not yet have their liquor license and were not charging a corkage fee for diners. And I didn’t get the impression from Vladimir that he was in a hurry to change that.
5953 Buford Hwy