Leading up to my first experience at The Spence- Atlanta, I started my research as to what other food critics and bloggers were saying about the menu and ambiance. Surprisingly, many of the reviews rated the restaurant as mediocre. Reading these made me question how much involvement Richard Blais had in The Spence- Atlanta. He is not a chef who is considered mediocre in any way. With an open mind I made our reservations and anticipated for the night to arrive.
The menu was intriguing and the decor was just right. Not an overly pretentious place but more of a place that you might come to after work or to meet up with friends. We were seated immediately and greeted by our waiter for the evening Peter P. He was very friendly, knowledgeable about the menu and spot on with recommendations. He was attentive throughout the dining experience and even shared our suggestions with the Sous Chef who was preparing our dinner: Bradley Chance.
My beverage choice was the Hooker with a Heart of Gold, a vodka drink with absinthe, strawberry, sparking wine, and lemon. A small drink but a perfectly sweet with the right amount of tartness from the absinthe and lemon to make it a great summer choice.Rated 7/10
Complimentary rolls brushed with butter and sprinkled with sea salt served with honey, coconut butter. Coconut offered a nuttiness to the spread and the salt sprinkled on the roll was a great accent to the sweetness. Rated 8/10
Baby Kale Caesar Salad: The bitterness and citrus flavor of the greens were complimented with the freshness of the Parmesan and Caesar dressing. Rated: 8/10
Bone Marrow, Tuna Tartar, and friend quail egg: This was a combination that shouldn’t have worked but danced on my palate over and over again. The lemon in the tartar with the richness of the marrow and the perfectly cooked quail egg and the hint of capers made me wishing there was more. Rated: 8/10
Roasted Pork Belly and Leg with mustard soubise and sun chokes was the foodgasm of the evening. I needed a moment of privacy as i took my first few bites of this dish. The pork belly was crisp and melted in my mouth and the smokiness of the leg with the mustard soubise and sun chokes was incredible. Rated 9.5/10 A MUST HAVE!!!
Fried Brussels Sprouts with Thai Vinaigrette: I literally could have ordered another helping of this one. It was fried with cilantro, mint, red onions. The flavor was bold and yet had hints of mint throughout. Rated 9/10.
Pork Trotter & Jalapeno Croquettes with Chipotle: This one had so much potential, they were fried perfectly and had the right amount of cheese and pork. Unfortunately, I was waiting for the heat from the jalapeno to hit or a spice from the Chipotle but it never came. Definitely needs more heat to complete the idea. Rated 6/10.
Wait staff: 9/10
Ambiance: Loud but tolerable 8/10
Quality and Freshness of the food: 9/10
Overall Experience: 8.5/10
Suggestions: Try several of the small plates and side dishes to give a full tour of The Spence Atlanta’s capabilities. RECOMMENDED