house made ricotta agnolotti with spring vegetables
Yes! For a while I didn’t think Atlanta could do the whole farm to table concept despite the city’s fascination for it. It’s so easy to take a dish, throw in some fresh spring peas from the garden and expect customers to like it because hey, they’re fresh! I disagree. Take those peas and do something with them. Well tonight I ate at Floataway Cafe, a Star Provisions restaurant (owns Bacchanalia, Abbatoir, Quinones), and found proof in the pudding, farm to table pudding that is.
Let’s get the whole atmosphere thing out of the way first. This place is very much hidden from the world tucked away on a side road in the back of an industrial building. Inside, it feels a tad retro because the interior designer clearly liked green and teal but because the place is farm to table, I get it. It’s comfortable, not stuffy and classy.
I don’t usually give much blog space to bread baskets, but I’m going to make an exception. All it took was one bite from this one and I knew exactly what was up. A while back I tried olive oil made from arbequina olives in Chile. It was groundbreaking. It was pure and earthy and as I noted in the post, “tasted like mother nature.” Well the minute the olive oil hit my tongue, I shifted in my seat. “Oh…I see…,” I said.
Floataway Cafe’s bread accompanying the holy olive oil was excellent by itself. It was buttery and, well, fresh, but not the kind of the fresh that’s hot-out-of-the-oven-fresh. The bread was fresh and clean on a much deeper level (the merits of baking your own bread — not sure if Floataway Cafe does but this certainly isn’t everyday restaurant bread).
Well this here is my appetizer of wood grilled chicken livers with red onion jam and grilled sourdough bread ($12). I know what you’re thinking: that’s huge! I thought the same thing. I would have preferred half of this at half the price. As for flavor, it was very fulfilling. The chicken livers had this wonderful grilled taste while the sweet jam countered the chicken livers’ general bitterness (not sure if that’s the right word). Overall, an excellent dish.
Of the three entrees I tried, this farro risotto with royal trumpet & baby shiitake mushrooms, saba and parmesan ($18) was the least desirable. In fact, I don’t think that this dish should be on the menu. The savory saba sauce is good, but the farro reminded me of Oatmeal. And let’s face it, nobody wants to be reminded of oatmeal at a nice restaurant.
You don’t need me to tell you that this quail with arugula & balsamic ($20) has been grilled. Whoever manages the grill must have nerves of steel because although it looks like the entire quail is burnt, it didn’t taste burnt. In fact, it was just right. Tender, juicy and everything in between, it’s the kind of dish that screams summer cookouts.
For as much as I love meat and think salads to be boring, this entree was my favorite of the night. It tasted, in a word, like “spring.” The menu’s description of “house made ricotta agnolotti with spring vegetables” ($22) doesn’t do this dish justice. Not only were the agnolotti wonderful pillows of homemade heaven, the fresh peas, the sweet beets, the leaves of basil (I think), wilted turnip greens (I think) — together it was so refreshing, so pure, and so tasty. Juices from the beets mixed with olive oil to make for this slightly sweet dressing of sorts.
Was I full at this point? Absolutely. Did I stop at the entrees? No. How could I? Things had gone so well. I needed to see this baby to the end. This is Floataway Cafe’s take on a strawberry pie with strawberry sorbet ($8). Just look at this guy. Quite good. And I’m especially glad that the kitchen made aims to produce a pie in an un-pie like form.
This, ladies and gentleman, is the cherry on top of an already wonderful cake: toffee cake with vanilla ice cream (one of my friends requested that the ice cream be on the side – $8). Toffee cake is the epitome of cavity-inducing sweetness, but this one defied the odds. Not only was the cake itself super super moist (unlike the time at an Irish pub where I had to use a knife to cut the cake while my friends held the bowl), the caramel sauce was…perfect? I don’t really do caramel because I always find it to be too sweet but this sauce was just sweet enough. Smooth too. Excellent.
You know, I am so tempted to give Floataway Cafe 5 stars. Every course was so very good, but a few mishaps do come to mind and since 5 stars means perfection, I just can’t. Maybe next time. But still, Floataway Cafe is an excellent restaurant. It’s fresh, it’s very tasty and they’re actually doing things to the ingredients they get from the “farm.” Looking back I hesitated visiting this place because the menu looked a bit boring. But now I feel like the menu is just humble. I’ll be back…soon…
1123 Zonolite Road
Suite 15 Atlanta, GA 30306
404 892 1414