60s Iconic Revolving Atlanta Bar ReOpens June 10

Having opened in 1967, this high-perched, rotating Polaris restaurant has been an Atlanta landmark for more than four decades. Sitting above the Hyatt Regency Hotel, the dome- shaped establishment completes one full rotation every 45 minutes, providing its visitors with a beautiful 360-degree view of Atlanta while they eat. Although the restaurant draws upon its origins with a 1960s style decor, it has successfully rebranded itself as a modern and chic destination for dining in Atlanta.

polaris atlanta

The second I walked through the door of the 29th floor, I was handed the signature cocktail of Polaris, a peach daiquiri. Being from Georgia, I love all things peach flavored, and this cocktail was no exception. With my daiquiri in hand, I then went on a full circle tour of the restaurant. It is set up like a home, with four different sections or “rooms.” There is the living room, the dining room, the library, and my personal favorite, the kitchen. The idea is unique, and the rooms serve to create a welcoming, homey atmosphere. The kitchen is open to make you feel like you are at a dinner party in someone’s home rather than at a fancy restaurant in downtown Atlanta. The downside to this, however, is that there isn’t much space for big groups. There are only a few tables spread out around the restaurant where one can have a sit-down meal. Although not the best set-up if you want to have a nice dinner with a large group of friends, it can be the perfect destination for an intimate romantic evening with a view.

Allie Williams

A variety of appetizer and entree dishes was served as a preview of the restaurant menu, which changes every fortnight. On my first go-round, I grabbed a dish that consisted of Good Lady Sandy Creek goat cheese, tasso ham, micro radishes, and fresh plums. I also tried the spotted trotter duck pate with red wine braised shallots and a basil crisp cup, as well as a rabbit crepinette with wild leeks and morel risotto. Of these three, my favorite was definitely the goat cheese plate. The combination of the cheese, ham, and plums was very refreshing and perfect for a warm, summer day. I was not as much of a fan of the other two dishes. To be fair, it was my first time trying either duck pate or rabbit, so perhaps a more experienced foodie.

Good Lady Sandy Creek goat cheese, tasso ham, micro radishes, and fresh plums.

Another dish that I was able to try for the first time was gazpacho. And unlike the rabbit and duck dishes, I was much luckier this time around. Three different kinds were served; a strawberry, a cucumber, and a more traditional yellow tomato variety. Each one tasted like a cold, flavored soup with a slight spicy kick. Although my favorite was the strawberry, due to its sweetness, I thoroughly enjoyed all three. Any one of them would make a great summer appetizer.

gazpacho

The two entree dishes consisted of steak oscar with crab, asparagus, hollondaise, and tarragon, and a red porgy with pickled vegetables and finger lime caviar. Despite it being possibly the least exotic meal on the menu, the steak oscar was mouth-watering and the components came together perfectly to create a succulent dish. The red porgy dish was just as enjoyable. The fish was paired with black rice that had a sweet taste, and drizzled with the citrus caviar of finger lime, enhancing the flavors as well as visual appeal of the dish.

red rice & porgy

What intrigued me most about the restaurant was its dedication to using locally grown ingredients. As the executive chef Martin Pfefferkorn explained, the restaurant uses as many ingredients from Georgia and the surrounding states that it can. He even started his own vegetable garden on the roof of the hotel. Every dish incorporates at least one ingredient from this roof garden, which can be seen from the Polaris. All of the fish served is line-caught, minimizing  environmental impact. Because of this dedication to what is fresh and local ingredients, the chef has to reinvent the menu every two weeks. While this may excite some people, it could be disappointing for others who find a dish that they love. Personally, I think that the freshness of the ingredients and the support the restaurant gives to local farmers is worth having to search for something new to eat every time.

rooftop garden in downtown Atlanta

Overall, I had a great experience trying out the newly redone Polaris. The food was great, the view was gorgeous, and I loved the chic style with a little bit of throwback mixed in. With its updated menu, fresh ingredients, and home-style atmosphere, I think the new Polaris could become just as much of as an icon as the old ones.

polaris candy

~ By Allie Williams, marketing and communications intern at Go Eat Give. Allie was invited to preview the new Polaris for lunch earlier this week. 

The Lawrence Atlanta

Enter a charming Midtown neighborhood restaurant with modern atmosphere. Be tempted by a large wooden bar screaming innovative cocktails and divine aroma rising from an open kitchen. Headed by the visions, passions and inspirations of restauranteurs Darren Carr and Patrick LaBouff, The Lawrence is their latest venture after the success of Top Flr, Sound Table, and Dinner Party Atlanta.

The bar menu is created by Atlanta’s well know mixologists, Eric Simpkins. He developed the program at Trois and then helped open Drinkshop. Fresh herbs, homemade syrups and top shelf liquors are used as cocktail ingredients. The wine menu is exhaustive, but you can also bring your own bottle for a $25 corking fee. Needless to say, the bar at The Lawrence is a great hangout for happy-hours well into late nights. Oh and they also serve afternoon tea!

Lady Lawrence
Lady Lawrence

When the restaurant first opened, it received average reviews on its food. But Chef Mark Nanna has upped the ante adding a New Age twist to traditional southern fare. The menu is concise featuring snacks, cheese, small plates and a handful of entrees. Quality, not quantity is the kitchen’s mantra here.

Every single dish is prepared with careful consideration to textures, flavors and versatility that will WOW your senses. Starting with a delicately cut tuna tartare under a dome of crispy thin rice cake, melt in your mouth crab cakes with an apple Brussels slaw moving your way to curried cauliflower with raisins and cashews, you will find elements of surprise in every bite.

Curried cauliflower with raisins and cashews
Curried cauliflower with raisins and cashews

Brisket braised to perfection and an opaque pink King Salmon fillet show some culinary finesse. Even a simple pan seared chicken breast deserves an applaud when it sits on a not-too-cheesy crawfish mac-and-cheese and braised kale.

A roasted half head of cauliflower steak entree turns heads as the waitress takes it to deserving veggie lovers. Who knew cauliflower could taste so good?

Contrary to perception, sweet potato cheesecake with cornbread crust and burnt marshmallow makes for a mesmerizing dessert. The addage, “life is too short, eat dessert first” should strictly be applied when dining at The Lawrence.

Sweet potato cheesecake
Sweet potato cheesecake

The Lawrence is perhaps one of the most community oriented restaurants in Atlanta. Weekly, The Lawrence celebrates “Tuesday Relief,” where they donate a portion of Tuesday’s dinner proceeds to a local charity.

Join Go Eat Give for dinner or drinks at The Lawrence on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 from 6-11pm. Click here to RSVP.

 Dine out Lawrence

 

Sloppy Joe’s Havana

Sloppy Joe’s is a historic bar located in Old Havana and one of the must-visit places in Cuba. The landmark sandwich shop opened in the 1930’s. It is believed that the name originated from the unkept nature of the restaurant or the fact that it had “ropa vieja” Spanish version of a sloppy joe as the featured dish.

Over the century, the bar became a popular hangout spot among Hollywood celebrities, international artists and American tourists. Even Ernest Hemingway was said to have frequented the bar often, befriending the owner Jose Garcia. Sloppy Joe’s has been described by the Los Angeles Times as “one of the most famous bars in the world” with “almost the status of a shrine.” The bar, in its heyday, can be seen in the movie “Our Man in Havana” starring Alec Guinness.

sloppy joes cocktails

The cozy bar was known to have the longest mahogany drinks cabinet of Cuba, and still retains its charm after careful renovations. Sloppy Joe’s was shut down in 1959 during the Cuban revolution, but is now open for business. It reopened in April 2013, after 48 years, just in time for my visit to Havana. The new Sloppy Joe’s is made to look like a replica of its 1950’s version with black and white interiors, photos of celebrities and walls adorned with every imaginable variety of spirits. They even offer polaroid photos of guests at the legendary bar.

sloppy joes bar

Go Eat Give volunteer vacationers enjoyed an evening of cocktails, small plates and sandwiches stepping back into time and imagining the splendor of this once all-American hangout. If you visit Cuba now, you should make it a point to step inside Sloppy Joe’s and have an overpriced drink or two. The food is typical of what you would find at a touristy restaurant, so perhaps take your appetite for an authentic Cuban sandwich someplace else in Havana.

sloppy joes

Sloppy Joe’s located on the corner of Calle Animas and Zulueta in Havana Vieja (Old Havana). The entrance is next to the Plaza Hotel.

Citizen Public House

Don’t let the name fool you. Although Citizen Public House is an upscale version of a traditional public house serving contemporary cocktails, beer and wine, it is by no means limited to a drinking establishment. Located in Old Town Scottsdale, the European-fusion food that you will eat at Citizen Public House is probably the best Public House grub you have ever come across.

Representing it’s reputable name, I had to try the cocktail Citi-Zen. A unique blend of Absolut Pear vodka, Domaine de Canton, ginger liqueur, housemade sweet and sour, served with rock candy so you can stir and add more sweetness to your drink as your palate changes through the evening. I have to say perhaps the most innovative cocktail menus.

Opened just a few months ago, after the success of Cowboy Chow, another great hit in Old Town Scottsdale, Chef Bernie Kantak has created a menu that is a blend of Hungarian, American and Mediterranean inspirations.

The Original Chopped Salad is perhaps the only item I have seen on any menu that has its own facebook page! A flag like display of smoked salmon, Israeli couscous, chopped greens, pumpkin seeds, roasted corn and tomatoes, served with a buttermilk dressing is a wonderful blend of textures and flavors. See recipe.

From the bar snacks section, I tried the Gorgonzola-Emmental mac-n-cheese. I would describe it as the adult version of Mac and Cheese. It wasn’t very cheesy but had a rich strong flavor from the Gorgonzola enhanced further by slices grilled red bell peppers. The best part was they used actual macaroni pasta, which is usually not the case at many upscale restaurants.

All ingredients are sourced from artisanal and organic farms around the country. The menu offers gourmet burgers and sandwiches but I decided to try the seafood. Alaskan Halibut was perfectly pan seared and served with roasted cauliflower, charred tomato vinaigrette and tarragon butter. It melted in your mouth! Pan Seared Scallops were juicy and tended, delicately placed upon buttery roasted corn grits.

The menu is printed daily so we had to wait to see what pastry chef Tracy Dempsey had in sore for us. I decided upon the Chocolate Pecan Bars, which were described to me as home made rustic bars. They were much more than rustic I would say! Rich and crunchy pecan triangles served with chicory (a coffee replacement) ice cream and salted chocolate caramel sauce vanished from my plate into my mouth very quickly. I also tried the Pig in the Orchard Bread Pudding but wasn’t a big fan. The combination of Granny Smith apples, Applewood smoked bacon, bourbon brown sugar sauce sounded interesting but did not do much for me. I am still not use to the idea of having meat in my dessert, I guess.

Citizen Public House

7111 E. 5th Avenue Ste. E
Scottsdale, AZ 85251-3200

(480) 398-4208