The List: Cakes & Ale
Atlanta has more than its fair share of really solid, outstanding restaurants. This is a fact. Every time I visit Empire State South, The Optimist, Gios, I fall in love with this city all over again. Among the many bright stars, Cakes & Ale is a consistent presence in the constellation.
I was more than happy to make a date night reservation to see if we could knock one or two items off of the Creative Loafing Best Dish List.
We started with the arancini, which are basically fried risotto balls. They taste about as fabulous as you would imagine! These aren't always on the menu, so if you see them, go for it! (Most items rotate off and on, so keep that in mind!)
If you like cheese and beets, order the burrata salad. From what I can tell the "burrata" (which is mozzarella and cream) is consistently on the menu, but the chef makes the salad of seasonal fresh ingredients. This dish isn't particularly pretty, but I LOVED the flavors.
Mmmmm.Billy opted for the duck over lentils. I only had a bite at the end since Billy was enjoying the dish so thoroughly!However, the reason we were at Cakes & Ale, The Main Event, was to try the North Carolina Trout. I'm not a huge trout person (or order a whole fish person) because I don't like to fight through the fish bones. However, while the fish is served whole, the server filets the trout tableside immediately after presenting the fish.
This was fascinating to watch (confirming my lack of fish carving skills) and was perfectly executed. The result was pure meat with nary a single bone.
However wonderful the process was to watch, the real treat was eating this dish. The smokiness and the moistness of this fish is absolutely perfect. Completely list worthy.
Even Billy, who was less excited about the trout idea than I, loved it!For dessert we tried the Almond Cake with strawberries and lemon curd. Our server talked us into this dish, and I am so glad she did! I would definitely make this a first choice.We also ventured into the rhubarb crumble which was solidly tart (yay!) and beautifully presented. I DO wish they still made Cynthia Wong's Phatty Cakes, but alas, you have to go to London to find those gems. : (Also, if you don't feel like battling the traffic of Decatur, Cakes & Ale is in the town square, right outside the Decatur Marta station.