The idea of an upscalish ethnic restaurant with a craft bar is a wonderful idea, as far as I am concerned.
Don’t get the wrong idea. I do love Buford Highway style hole-in-the-walls. Always have.
But I do like the idea of trying to make different cuisines more approachable, so long as the kitchen realizes it is those flavor imbalances and quirky nuances in the food that make eating ethnic fare so fun.
And, adding a craft cocktail program to the mix only elevates the experience and opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
So what’s not to like?
With my strong interest in this kind of dining I have been paying close attention to Le Fat (935 Marietta St NW, Downtown, Tel: 404.439.9850) a stylish Vietnamese restaurant opened by Guy Wong about three months ago.
And I must say, I have been pleasantly surprised. Especially with the service. In a day where it seems a gazillion restaurants have opened in a short period of time, and good service is spread thin, Le Fat effortlessly makes it look easy.
In my opinion, the food equals the service at this sleek Vietnamese eatery. A redolent bowl of pho arrives with the proper accoutrements and a rice dish features a runny sunny side up egg.
The menu is small so the kitchen can stay focused, and the flavors remain true to Vietnam. Crunchy Vietnamese egg rolls are rife with earthy undertones, the way they should be, and shaking beef, a Vietnamese classic, is as light and flavorful as I’ve eaten in Atlanta.
What shocks me most is how inexpensive the restaurant is, yes, I know $10 for a bowl of pho on Buford Highway is unheard of, but this isn’t Buford Highway — in food quality and appearance — and besides, I’ve encountered a $10 bowl of pho at C’om Dunwoody without being struck by sticker shock.
In fact, I find C’om Dunwoody over all to be more expensive than Le Fat, and I frequent both.
I do like Le Fat, but I wish they would open up the playbook by adding new menu items, fun stuff like the roasted chicken with a lemongrass honey barbecue glaze, which is simply a must.
But even if the menu doesn’t expand, I plan to keep going back. But then, I am a cheap slut when it comes to good Vietnamese cooking.