Taking a Knife (And Fork) to Atlanta Restaurants


When the latest issue of Knife & Fork: The Insider’s Guide to Atlanta Restaurants arrived, I was reminded why, even though I now live two states away in Mississippi, I still get Christiane Lauterbach’s monthly restaurant review sheet.

The look of Knife & Fork—to which I have subscribed for more than 20 years—is plain. Plain as a church bulletin. But the prose would blanch a Baptist. At times it’s pithy, even pissy.

Knife & Fork maintains no website, no online-accessible repository of past reviews. But there are accommodations for readers who wish to archive content: A three-hole-punch runs down the left side of the folded and stapled eight-page booklet.

Christiane is a French transplant, at ease waxing learned about Atlanta’s best Ethiopian wat or deconstructing the latest dishes from molecular cuisine wunderkinds. And, yes, like many a good critic, she may be at her best when she is less than satisfied. More than any I’ve read in a while, this issue offers some doozies:

Of the Atlanta Grill at the Ritz Carlton Atlanta, which she did not formally review:
“Half the menu is still steaks and chops, and the dining room, decorated with horrifically unpleasant oil paintings of people who appear to have no eyes, still feels like a dowdy tavern.”

Of Rise-n-Dine Diner, to which she gives one and one-half stars:
“The hash browns may be overcooked, the chunky and fresh egg salad should probably not be served on a croissant, and part of the design makes us feel like Chicken Little (will the heavy drywall canopy suspended from a few chains actually fall on our heads and crush us?) but overall, we enjoy the unorthodox thinking of the young crew behind Rise-n-Dine Diner.”

Of the Albert, which she gives one star:
“Most of the regular burgers, including one stuffed with provolone and served on a crispy bun, are perfectly satisfactory, but even a hard-core vegetarian can’t help recoiling when confronted with a black bean burger that can only be described as poop on a bun.”

For a year-long subscription, send a check for $24 to Knife & Fork, 1933-B McLendon Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307.

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