Tag Archives: Restaurant Reviews

C and S Seafood and Oyster Bar – Vinings, GA

My hubby and I went to C and S Seafood for an early Valentine’s Day dinner last Saturday evening. I have to say that we used to go to C and S all the time when they first opened and we actually had not been there in a while.

We were so excited when C and S first opened (about 3 years ago). It was close to home, had a nice atmosphere and felt and looked more like a seafood restaurant in Boston that we know and love rather than some place located in Vinings, GA! We thought the food was awesome and we thoroughly enjoyed sitting at the bar and chatting it up with the bartenders.

Well, here we were once again at the bar (we could not get a reservation for a table) and we were chatting with the same bartenders that have been there since day one. I know that it a good sign that business must be okay. Obviously, these guys are happy. They were part of the original group that opened C and S.

When we arrived at 6:45 pm we were still able to grab 2 seats at the bar, however, by 7 pm, the bar and the restaurant were packed. Granted, it was the day before Valentine’s Day , but C and S must be doing well to have that kind of crowd. The food is definitely at a higher price point and I had been wondering how they were doing with the current economic situation.

We, quite frankly, stopped going because our little nibbles at the bar were becoming quite extravagant. There are definitely restaurants that are close by that offer a similar bar dining experience (South City Kitchen), that are far less pricey. However, it was Valentine’s Day, so we splurged a bit.

I did notice that there have been some additions to the menu since we were in last. They now offer a bar menu with small plates, appetizers and sides that range from $7 to $16. They also have added a few entrees that are between $18 to $21. Other than those options, you can count on mid to upper $20’s for seafood entrees and between $28 and $48 for steaks. There are also pretty hefty prices for salads, soups and appetizers ($8 to $18).

I ordered a shrimp cocktail that had 4 colossal shrimp. It seemed a bit overpriced at $16, but considering the quality of the shrimp, it was appropriate. My husband ordered 9 Blue Point Oysters ($3 each). He said they were excellent and very fresh. We both had salads. I chose the chopped salad. I do have to say that they really should step up the salad at $10. It was a very small portion and almost seemed like an afterthought. It barely had any of the “chopped” ingredients. It was primarily field greens. It was better and more generous in the past. I really was disappointed. My husband had the same situation with the house salad at $8. I used to make a dinner of the salad and an appetizer. I could not do that now.

We both ordered the Chilean sea bass ($28). It was a generous piece and cooked perfectly. The tomato basil vinaigrette sauce was recommended to us to accompany the fish. It was nice with the sea bass, however, I wish I had asked to put the sauce on the side. I thought the kitchen put too much of the sauce on an already rich and buttery fish. The accompanying vegetables were parsley new potatoes and squash.

Overall, we had a very enjoyable dinner. The food is good, but not outstanding. We have had some mixed experiences over the years, but we do continue to return partly because it is convenient and partly because of the atmosphere. The overall value to us is that we do enjoy sitting and the bar and having a glass of wine and a bite to eat. We enjoy chatting with the bartenders and appreciate the short drive home.

I do have to say that there are many dining options in Atlanta when you are willing to spend this much for dinner. Unfortunately, I would have to say that the food is better at many of those other restaurants. I think C and S really needs to focus on keeping their prices down and perhaps be a bit more creative and generous with some of the other items (such as their salads).

I look forward to trying some of the lower priced options. It is nice to offer something lighter and less expensive so that customers like us will be more inclined to go more often and enjoy the atmosphere and conversation at the bar. We hope that C and S continues to thrive. It is great to have so many nice restaurants close to home. We do try to support the local spots whenever possible. Hopefully, the new menu will also bring in new patrons that might not have gone in the past.

C&S Seafood And Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Atlanta, C and S Seafood, Restaurant Reviews, Seafood, Vinings

Bistro Niko – Atlanta

I was excited to finally make it to Bistro Niko today. I would have preferred to have dinner there, but I was invited for a ladies that do lunch gig, so that is what I did! Bistro Niko is the latest addition to the Buckhead Life Restaurant group and is located in the new Sovereign Building on Peachtree Rd. (which also is home to the revamped Buckhead Club). The “Niko” part of the name is a bit confusing for a French bistro, but the restaurant is named after Niko Karatassos, who runs the Buckhead Life group (so I suppose that makes sense).

I tried to get a reservation for dinner at Bistro Niko twice before Christmas with no success. They were incredibly busy on the weekends shortly after their opening in early November. Since the main dining area was fully booked, I asked about having dinner at the bar instead. I thankfully was advised by the maitre d’ not to do that. He said the bar was far too busy and loud to enjoy dinner. I certainly appreciated their honesty.

I have to say that the restaurant has a very classy, Parisian feel about it. In fact, it reminds me of a fussier and much larger version of Brasserie Le Coze (which I miss terribly). Brasserie Le Coze was the little restaurant that used to be right next to Neiman Marcus before the renovation at Lenox Mall. It reopened as FAB (French American Brasserie) in downtown Atlanta a few years ago.

Bistro Niko was not terribly busy today (a Wednesday) at 12:30, which was surprising. It is a large space, so I imagine keeping it busy at all times may be difficult these days. I also have read some mixed reviews, so I do not know if that has had an impact. However, I would say that most of the reviews have been pretty complimentary. My friend had been to lunch once before and had a nice experience. In fact, she enjoyed the Tarte Aux Champignon ($11) so much on her last visit, she ordered it again today.

We each had a glass of Pouilly Fuisse ($13 a glass). It was a lovely wine, however, I thought for that price the pour could have been a bit more generous. I ordered Chicken Paillards that were served with bits of asparagus, fresh cherry tomatoes and arugula ($16). The chicken was lightly sauteed in what tasted like a mixture of butter and olive oil and the serving was so large that it actually filled the plate. It was a light dish (other than the portion size) and was good, but I thought it lacked something. I actually had to add a bit of salt to perk up the flavors. I know this is the latest trend in restaurant kitchens. Chefs are letting the patrons add their own salt rather than loading it up in the kitchen. However, the chicken was still a little flat to me. I think a bit of lemon or fresh thyme might have brightened up the dish.

My friend had the endive salad which was served with blue cheese and walnuts ($9). The presentation was quite nice and she said it was very tasty. As mentioned earlier, she had the mushroom tart as well and said it was as good as she had remembered from the last visit. We did not have dessert, although Baba au Rhum sure sounded tempting! I do have to mention that the service was quite attentive. We were there for 2 hours chatting and our waiter knew when to come and check on us and when to just let us be.

One of my favorite things about Bistro Niko is the open kitchen area that you see upon entering the restaurant. I thought that was a really nice touch (especially if you like kitchens and kitchen toys and enjoy cooking). I also love the atmosphere. It is a little bit of Paris when you cannot be there. However, it was noisy (even when the restaurant was not very busy), so if you like a quiet lunch or dinner, this might not be the place for you. I can imagine that it would be very loud on a crowded evening. Obviously, the bar area gets quite busy and noisy. There is so much glass, brass and tile and nothing to absorb the noise.

The menu is traditional Parisian brasserie complete with Coq au Vin and Steak Frites. There is also a nice selection of appetizers, tarts and sandwiches, if you are interested in a lighter meal. The wine selection is comprised of primarily French offerings. There was a broad selection of both white and red wines. Within the whites, which I selected from, prices ranged from approximately $7 to $13 a glass.

I enjoyed the food enough to want to go back and have dinner. We are not fond of loud dining spots, but I am willing to give it a try. The restaurant is beautiful and I certainly am happy to have another French brasserie in Atlanta. Was I “wowed”? I do not know if I would say that. I think the food presentation was nice, I like the feel of the restaurant, but I would like to have dinner and see how the food and service is in the evenings.

Regardless, it is a wonderful addition to the dining scene in Atlanta. It is attractive, fun, parking is easy (they have valet parking) and it is very French (except for the Niko part)!

Bistro Niko on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Atlanta, French