Upscale Dining in Upstate New York

Wildflowers
Verona, New York

These days, I have the privilege of traveling out-of-state on business about once a month. Here recently, work took me to Upstate New York where I had the opportunity to dine at my first Forbes Travel Guide 4-Star Rated RestaurantContinue reading “Upscale Dining in Upstate New York”

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A Beach-Food Experience for Landlocked Atlantans

100_8024The Optimist Fish Camp & Oyster Bar
Atlanta, Georgia

I walked in and the first thing I saw were the words, “Country Ham” in navy blue and yellow, painted on a white wall. The restaurant had been converted from a previous slaughter-house and the words preserved. Country ham is one of those Southern mainstays, and I knew immediately this was a place I would love. I had driven from the coastal plains of Southeast Georgia, about 200 miles, to the big city of Atlanta on a business trip to meet a good friend. We had done our research, and of all the fine places to dine in the notorious A-T-L, had naturally settled on what the restaurant’s Twitter account classifies “A beach-food experience for landlocked Atlantans.”

100_8013
100_7949While we waited on our table in the main dining room, we sat at the Oyster Bar and tried just about everything–East and West coast oysters of every variety, snow crab & lobster knuckles, oyster crackers and salt & vinegar chips. The oysters were served with fresh horseradish and a mignonette sauce (a sauce of vinegar and shallots, typically served with raw oysters). The mignonette sauce was so bright and fresh, it would awaken even a sloth.

100_7996You can’t have oysters without a cold beer, so I took the chance to try the one in a red can with a lighthouse pictured on the front—Cisco Brewers Sankaty Light from Nantucket, MA.

100_7947This oyster was served over warm “coals,” roasted in a wood-fired oven with parmesan cheese and bacon at $3 a pop. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

100_7941The Opi Salt & Vinegar Chips were crunchy…the perfect bar food.

100_7950100_7954100_7953Next, let’s talk about the snow crab claw & lobster knuckles in a chili-lime butter bath. It took a little work, but once I got my hands on the cracking tool, we were good to go. Who wouldn’t want to eat something presented that beautifully?

THE FOOD:

I experienced food at The Optimist like I have never experienced food before…intense flavors with no detail undone when it came to presentation. Every encounter I had with staff members was pleasant, from the hostess taking notice of my black dress and providing me a black napkin, the bartender who told me he even spent his days off there, to the manager who described the place as “one big house.” I could tell our waitress Jenn, genuinely enjoyed her job and was very knowledgeable about the menu.

THE ATMOSPHERE:

Some Kinda Good is all about good food and good company, and when the two are combined, that’s a life well lived. The Optimist is a breath of fresh air for the city life, a nautical escape. My friend Harper said it perfectly, “That wasn’t just going out to dinner, that was the best two-hour dining experience of my life.”

The Optimist on Urbanspoon