By Lauren Townsend for The Aha! Connection
The Braves play this weekend and it would be a great opportunity to check out the refined yet approachable style of Achie’s. Brought to you by Culinary Director, Hugh Acheson and Executive Chef, Alex Balduc, Achie’s offers southern inspired food and drink with a variety of atmospheres within the restaurant. Bar seating offers a first hand look at hand crafted cocktails or the opportunity to grab a quick bite and a local beer before the game. Achie’s also offers outdoor seating for anyone who wants to dine al fresco to views of SunTrust Park’s front yard. The restaurant is also designed for a lovely evening with or without baseball. I had the opportunity to sit down for a coursed meal this week and was impressed with the refined southern flavors, excellent service, atmosphere and variety of elegant cocktails.
The first course was a hot chicken and waffle with fermented chili powder, brioche white bread waffle and bread and butter pickles and a local meat and cheese board with in-house made pickles served with a champagne cocktail. First of all, now I need Hugh Acheson’s pickle cookbook. Second, I love that the “waffle” was brioche pressed in a waffle iron making the ratio of bread to meat perfect. Finally, I learned that the Omni offers a package where you can go down to Calyroad Creamery, learn how to make cheese and then bring that cheese back to Achie’s for them to pair with wine for you. UH-MAZING. That’s my dream.
The second course offered a beet salad that was delicious and beautiful plus a salmon cobb chop salad with an Iberian gin and tonic. The cobb salad is perfect for lunch or pre-game meal and the protein can be interchanged. The composition and presentation are visually appealing, but I really loved the fact they make minor changes to the salad seasonally and it comes with a sunflower seed dressing, keeping the salad light and letting the ingredients stand out. I would never order a gin and tonic so now I will have to rethink some life choices because once you add blueberries, mint and cardamom, I’m in.
The sides offered at Achie’s will change for the fall and I got a sneak peak of salt baked sweet potatoes with sage, pecans and a citrus-sorghum glaze. Crispy, sweet and nutty, can’t go wrong. The brussels sprouts are perfectly cooked and seasoned, but the unexpected addition of caramelized apples and mustard seed was so delicious. My favorite cocktail of the evening was bourbon with honey and lemon, called the Gold Rush. I kind of want to learn to make this, but then I don’t, because they are so delicious.
Achie’s has a number of sandwiches and burgers that would be perfect alone or pre-game, but for a lovely sit down meal, the seared dayboat scallops with butternut squash, spinach, pecan gremolata, pickled currants and brown butter was perfect. Look at the photo and the perfect sear; perfect variety of colors; perfect plating. Definitely one of my favorite scallop dishes in Atlanta. I usually avoid ordering steak at a restaurant for a number of personal reasons, but the ribeye at Achie’s may have restored my faith; Served with horseradish butter and house-made steak sauce, crispy fries and a light baby arugula salad. The steak was tender, well seasoned and cooked just the way I like it. The fries were crunchy on the outside and the salad was simple but really helped balance out the rest of the meal. A close second in my favorite cocktail race, was the Two World Hero, which is rye whiskey, cognac, vermouth, red wine and bitters. The flavors are smooth and a little spicy not to mention it’s pretty.
Desserts are light and approachable. The chocolate pecan pie had good balance but the real highlight was the chocolate ice cream. It was so simple but the flavors were nuanced and palate cleansing. Nothing closes an evening out like a lovely glass of port, particularly a niepoort late bottled vintage 2013.
I can’t wait to go back to Achie’s for a date night and with my children. The Omni at the Battery seems like the perfect stay-cation hotel. It is an elegant hotel with so many great little nods to Atlanta and the Braves as well as a front row seat to the stadium. The pool deck offers an even better view and from it’s green space, you can see the whole baseball field. While the Omni offers a variety of packages, one is a children’s turn-down with milk and cookies so you may want to add this whole experience to your stay-cation bucket list.