Sunday, May 30, 2010


560 Dutch Valley Road Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30324

I'm in love with Amuse! Until a voucher came across my email on My Daily Thread, I had never heard of this Midtown bistro. It fits all of my requirements for an entry into my regular restaurant rotation, save being walking distance from my house. Since I will never be able to afford to live in Midtown, I'll have to be satisfied with just driving there.

Amuse is a lovely space, in the bottom of a condo building on Dutch Valley Road. If you are familiar with One Midtown Kitchen, it is just across the street. A plus: it has it's own parking. Another plus: it has a beautiful patio and a comfortably stylish interior. A third plus: gorgeous waitstaff. Considering the location, I assume that our waiter is not batting for my team, but he was terrible handsome, and had a great French accent.

Much of the staff seems to be French, and although Amuse describes itself as an "international bistro", the menu was heavy with French influence. I went there with Roommate Lynn, which means that we started our meal with mussels. Know this: if mussels are available, we will order them. They came in a light biere belgique sauce, and were served with a basket of fresh, crusty bread. Our order came late for free bread, but right on time for soaking up the garlicky sauce. Although I spent five minutes staring at other table's bread and wishing it were mine, I ultimately don't mind waiting for oven-fresh bread that's both yeasty and sweet.

I was pleased to see a fish heavy menu. This is something that I appreciate more and more as I get older, and Atlanta seems to be a great fish town. I ordered off of the regular menu and Roommate Lynn got the market fish. I had salmon with lobster sauce over a bed of lemon risotto and spinach and fresh tomatoes. Notice how beautiful the presentation was and how appropriate the size of the risotto portion. Just enough starch.

I had never had lemon risotto before, but since that night I've seen it several times on menus around town. The Amuse version is a superior preparation. And lobster sauce! It was my first time to try it, and now I feel that all food, everywhere, should be served with lobster sauce. It was rich and delicate at the same time, and it complemented the fish perfectly.

Roommate Lynn had a flounder fillet stuffed with crab meat. It came on a bed of mashed potatoes and asparagus, and based on RL shouting "Everything should be stuffed with crab meat!" over and over again, I presume it was delicious.

The menu at Amuse changes everyday, but from what I've seen of it online, there's a standard number of fish dishes, a fresh pasta and a risotto each day. The wine list is also very fine, although the reserve menu was far out of my price range. Luckily, the regular menu has several bottles that come in at under $40, and our waiter was able to talk to us about different options, and was willing to give an honest opinion of choices that he doesn't particularly like.

The prices of the food are excellent. No entree was over $30, and the most expensive was a 16 ounce steak. After an appetizer, two entrees and a bottle of wine, our check was only $100. I realize that is a little pricey for an everyday dinner, but I would highly recommend Amuse for drinks and appetizers, which is much more reasonable (and if you sit at the bar, you get a free amuse bouche!), or a special occasion, particularly a romantic one. Of course, if you're like me and RL, a special occasion can be a Tuesday night when neither of you have plans, so Amuse fits any bill. I give it a definite "Let's do this."

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