Atlanta Social Season SUMMER 2016 : Page 36

DINING Summer 2016 sea son eatings Reviews and photos by David Danzig hall I compare Atlanta’s restaurant scene to a summer’s day? In 2016 many would argue that it is even more lovely and temperate with brilliant new flavors, textures and atmospheres even Shakespeare could never had dreamed. So check these out soon as we know that summer’s lease hath all too short a date. S A Aria Of all the trends that faced the reckoning of the Great Recession, perhaps the harshest backlash focused on the art of traditional fine dining. The words, “fine dining,” alone became A 1 A 2 1. Ruby red and golden beet salad at Aria 2. The revamped cozy atmophere at Aria 3. The local charcurterie plate at Linton’s in the Garden 4. Outdoor dining at Linton’s in the Garden associated with gluttonous excesses and useless formalities and the consumer dictated that dress codes, atmosphere and prices needed to significantly lighten up. Of course, Aria , which opened in 2000, had already firmly established itself in the upper echelon of Atlanta’s fine dining firmament by the time the banks were collapsing and it was Gerry Klaskala’s exquisite cooking that ensured that the restaurant would not only survive the Great Recession but exemplify Darwinian survivability. Now, well on the other side of our economic trough, Aria has rebooted its interior and is ready for its 2.0 close-up. Both the bar and the dining room have undergone a transformation designed to update the mood of the moment and attract younger diners. The cream-colored walls and turn-of-the-millennium fabrics have given way to a darker, more relaxed palette, new leather banquettes and chairs. Still there: the signature bejeweled dog sculptures and dramatic, space-age jellyfish-like chandelier. And, of course, Klaskala’s cuisine, delicious and always social media-worthy, steal the show. But now you can enjoy in a space where the fine dining party doesn’t feel like it’s 1999. B Linton’s In the Garden Two geniuses can now be found making art at the Atlanta Botanical Garden — world-renowned glass-blowing maestro Dale Chihuly, who has a spectacular installation of his work living amongst the foliage, and our own James Beard award-winning Chef Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch, who with his wife Gina has just opened a magnificent new restaurant, Linton’s in the Garden . Previously Hopkins operated 36

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