Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Atlanta: Richard Blais Brings Juicy Lucy to The Spence; You Should Bring a Napkin
I hate to start a review with a disclaimer, but I feel it's necessary. Here it is: I've never watched Top Chef. (I know. Bad foodie, bad foodie.) So, as sacrilegious as it may be to admit, Richard Blais isn't a rockstar to me. As a result, I didn't venture into his newest intown restaurant with the same kind of wide-eyed, do-you-see-him-is-he-here-oh-my-god-I-think-that's-him breathlessness as (seemingly) the rest of Atlanta. But the early buzz has been that The Spence is an instant add to the city's roster of true top-flight eateries—and that there's an amazing interpretation of the famed Jucy Lucy on the menu.
More than one person I know has called Blais' take on the Minneapolis classic "the best burger I've ever had." And while that casual claim doesn't generally carry much weight with me, I knew I needed to check this one out. I mean, Blais does know the milieu, having all but single-handedly kickstarted the local gourmet burger boom back in late 2008 with FLIP Burger Boutique. I won't play spoiler by blowing my reviewer wad here in the second paragraph, but if your spidey-sense is tingling after seeing that top photo, you're on the right track.
75 5th Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30308 (Map); 404-892-9111; www.thespenceatl.com
Cooking Method: Wood-grilled
Short Order: The trendy new hotspot from celebrity molecular gastronomist Richard Blais does wild things with food, but his Juicy Lucy is prone to leaking
Want Fries with That? Blais' triple-cooked fries are among the best you'll taste... even when they're subpar
Price: Juicy Lucy, $13 at lunch, $14 at dinner