Hey, restaurant reviews are back! Actually this is the start of something new. Don’t worry. Food Done Light is staying just the way it is. (I hope you see that as a good thing) However, we have always had a dream of turning our love of travel and food into a blog. So we are starting small. You are going to see some restaurant reviews, tips on traveling and staying slim, etc. We like to call this section of Food Done Light, Life’s Simple Pleasures, a cornucopia of travel and food. So let’s get to it.
owned by Zach and Cristina Meloy and started as the PushStart Kitchen
They describe Better Half as “ever changing, seasonal menu will reflect our love for what we do through the best products the South has to offer”.
The first thing you need to decide, when making a reservation for Better Half, is where to sit. You have two choices. The first is at a regular table. The second is to sit at the bar. This isn’t just any bar. The bar is part of the kitchen, like a kitchen counter. You will see and interact with Chef Zach, Chef Jonathan and pastry Chef Robin. The cooktop is right in front of the bar. You can see the Chef’s cook and prepare the gorgeous plates of food. (Full disclosure, Better Half is my absolute favorite restaurant in Atlanta. We have eaten there many times and only ever sit at the bar) If you are a foodie, the bar is the place for you. If you are going with more than two people ask to sit at the corner of the bar. You will be able to talk to your dinner companions and still enjoy the “show”.
As with the seating, there are options for dinner. There is a regular menu with appetizers, entrees and dessert. They also do a priced fixed five or nine course dinner. They can accommodate dietary restrictions. On our last trip, we splurged on the nine course dinner to give you a more complete review. It is a lot of food. I would be more than happy with the five course or simply sharing an appetizer and enjoying an entrée and dessert. While the menu changes very often, the silk handkerchief pasta with wild mushrooms, tomato marmalade and porcini cream is always on the menu. This dish is an homage to the first meal Chef Zach ever cooked for his wife, Cristina. This is not your ordinary pasta. The pasta is homemade and the tomato marmalade elevates this to one of my all-time favorite pasta dishes. When we take our daughter, she can devour it.
I think of Better Half’s food as inventive with a splash of fun. Their dishes have many components to them and the plates always look like a piece of art. On our last visit, we started with a fried plantain topped with black bean puree, charred poblano goat cheese and onion candy. This one bite wonder was my absolute favorite of the night. Chef Zach was also good enough to explain how he made the onion candy. A roasted carrot with honey yogurt was the next delicious, small bite.
Next up a small entrée of homemade garlic shrimp sausage with a jalapeno tamal, pickled cabbage and a tomatillo tartar. This was my second favorite dish of the night. Each component of the dish was delicious on its own, but sheer heaven when eaten together. They have found a novel way to make tamal, and we happily came home with the basic recipe for making our own shrimp sausage and tamals.
The second entrée was a perfectly grilled pork loin with golden rice grits, pineapple pico de gallo and black beans. The freshness of the pineapple pico de gallo brought this dish together. Chef Zach has a love of Latin food which was evident in this menu.
You will progress to dessert through a cheese plate, usually local cheese. In this case it was whipped blue cheese with an onion marmalade. Simply divine.
Pastry Chef Robin is not to be out done. We started with a pistachio fudge topped with a sprinkling of smoked sea salt. The mix of the smoke from the salt with the sweet from the fudge was intoxicating.
We finished the meal with a deconstructed key lime pie and a gingerbread cake. There desserts have the perfect level of sweetness. Now a days I find restaurant desserts too sweet.
Atmosphere: Modern, clean decor. I find that it is not quite as loud as trendy new restaurants. Casual atmosphere.
Food: Inventive, fun and complex
Service: Attentive service, great teamwork
Perfect for: Foodies, dinner for two, adults night out, business and a night out with friends.
*While we on occasion bring our 9-year-old daughter, I would not consider this a restaurant for families. If your child is a “foodie” and not looking for a children’s menu, they will love it. When we do bring our child, the entire staff makes a special effort to make her feel comfortable. If is evident that they love children and love seeing them enjoy good food.
349 14th St, NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
Open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday
Reservations through Open Table.