Last night I dined at the restaurant, No. 246, for the first time. It came across my radar a little while back and seemed like a place that would satisfy my penchant for indulging in delicious eats in beautiful settings. And the pedigrees of the chefs/owners, along with some local buzz, had me feeling sure that I'd love everything about it. Was I right? Well, yes and no.
While there was lots to love, there did happen to be one glitch of sorts in my experience. So here's the lowdown on my first take at this neat spot, broken down into a few key categories that matter to me in any dining experience.
The Food: No. 246 offers its own local take on Italian cuisine. The menu boasted of cheeses, charcuterie, salads, sides, pizzas and, of course, pastas--along with some special entree offerings. I scoured the menu online, in advance, (a habit of mine, I admit), and decided upon their Romana pizza. The description of this pizza--tomato, oregano, anchovies, chilies, garlic, black olives and olive oil--spoke to me and my palette in a mouth-watering way, and I couldn't wait to dive in when dinner time finally came around last night. Sometimes my choices change between my initial menu look and the actual restaurant visit, but this time it did not. It stuck--and happily so. I loved it.
|Romana Pizza, No. 246|
It was everything that I love about pizza. The crust wasn't too thick or too thin and was perfectly crispy. The ingredients--hearty tomato seasoned with garlic, chilies, olive oil, accompanied by the briny goodness of the olives and anchovies, made each bite so, so good. Our table also received some chili oil for drizzling and that was the coup de tat to make this one of the best pizzas I ever recall having. Seriously. And beyond all that, it was quite substantial and easily shareable depending on one's appetite, with maybe a salad or side dish tossed in to round things out. In fact, I have left overs that will shortly become lunch.
But it wasn't all good on the food front. I also scoped out the dessert menu in advance and knew that I had a date with their chocolate and candied hazelnut ice cream in a homemade waffle cone. Being the ice cream junkie that I am, I purposely limited my intake to two courses so that I could indulge in every last bite of this treat. The taste? Quite good. And the garnish of hazelnuts added the perfect crunch and texture contrast. (I make a similar gelato recipe at home.) However, it was served almost half melted! Not good for a frozen dessert, right? See what I mean in the shot below, which was taken right when it was delivered to our table.
|Chocolate and Candied Hazelnut Ice Cream with a Homemade Waffle Cone|
In hindsight, I should have sent it back and requested a fresh, truly frozen, dessert, but my reflex prevailed, and I dived in to prevent losing any further enjoyment from the fastly liquefying serving before me. It definitely took the star appeal out of what I anticipate is normally a rock star dessert.
The Ambiance/Decor: True to the depiction on its website, I found the decor to be beautifully understated, yet stunning, giving the space an equally rustic and modern look and feel. And the ambiance was casual and welcoming, bolstered by the low lighting that helped to offer up the feel of a special dining experience.
The Cost: I found the menus to be reasonably priced and likely suitable to most budgets, with the entree courses topping out around the mid-twenties, on the high end.
The Linger Factor: When you're dining out, this is typically the time you look forward to "letting your hair down", unwinding and catching up. And having the ability to linger for a bit after the courses have stopped flowing and the meal is over, to take everything in without the sometimes abrupt halt that can ensue, is a welcomed pleasure. No. 246 offers up plenty, so you'll be able to enjoy not only your food--but your company.
Location, Location, Location: No. 246 is located in the heart of downtown Decatur, with convenient public parking close by. (I was wearing 'valet parking' heels, so the ability to find relatively convenient parking in that downtown area on a Friday night scores big with me.) It's a great part of the Atlanta Metropolitan area, replete with many other charming and noteworthy restaurants and shops.
|All smiles from an enjoyable evening with a good friend & good eats|
Final verdict? I'll be back!