Dinner at Atlanta’s Two Urban Licks

I just spent a fabulous weekend in Atlanta, and it all started with a very special dinner at Two Urban Licks. Two Urban Licks is a celebrated restaurant in Atlanta, and with good reason. Secluded away in a renovated warehouse, it’s got a vibe that is edgy and sophisticated. The interior of the restaurant is notable for several reasons. The open kitchen is the heart of the place, with an energy and intensity about it that draws you over to watch the preparations. There are the oak barrels of wine, 42 of them to be exact, that tower over the end of the bar. I love wine, and I wasn’t at all disappointed by the wines I sampled. The Rock Point cabernet sauvignon and the Frogs Leap sauvignon blanc were excellent, both for sipping and as an accompaniment to our meal. And then, there is the live blues music going on in the bar and the Todd Murphy painting in the main dining room. Get there, get yourself a glass of great wine (or a housemade infusion cocktail), and gaze at that mesmerizing painting. Prepare for an amazing meal.

I spent a few minutes chatting with Executive Chef Cameron Thompson, whose culinary talent is well known in Atlanta. Two Urban Licks is regularly nominated as Best Restaurant Scene, among other nominations. I appreciate his dedication to innovative regional cooking with the freshest possible ingredients. I also thoroughly enjoyed meeting General Manager, Shireen Herrington, especially as she is an enthusiastic gardener. The gardens surrounding the patio are currently in transition as construction of Atlanta’s exciting Beltway project are underway nearby, but I loved the recycled wine bottle border. Shireen is anxious to get the gardens going once again to provide the restaurant with fresh herbs and vegetables.

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Since we were blessed with spectacularly gorgeous weather, we dined al fresco and enjoyed a view of Atlanta’s skyline. We relished a sampling menu, starting with the smoked salmon chips and chipotle cream cheese that put Two Urban Licks on Atlanta’s culinary map.

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The salmon chips live up to their stellar reputation, but I gave my foodie heart to the fresh tuna tartare with green apple, red onion, avocado, and wasabi roe. And then I gave my heart to the bronzed scallops. Bronzed. Scallops. They were served on a bed of meltingly rich gouda grits with pico di gallo and smoked tomato broth. Good Lord.

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I love a great steak, and the grilled bistro steak with herb whipped potatoes and yellow corn chimichurri didn’t last long at our feisty table. The sweet corn and roasted peppers were perfect companions to the tender and succulent steak.

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Seafood lovers will be satiated by the fresh mahi mahi, prepared with chili rice and spinach with creole crawfish beurre blanc.

A favorite at the table was the gorgeous Guinness braised lamb with English peas and mint chipotle pesto. Tender and rich, it tastes just as good as it looks. And I love that it is served in cast iron cookware.

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A fine meal is finished with dessert(s), and forks at the ready, we dug into the lemon cheesecake that was incredibly light and delicate. The rum soaked raisin bread pudding with pecans and brown sugar ice cream melts in your mouth, and I don’t think I even got a taste of the banana fudge square. It was gone too fast. The ultimate dessert favorite, though, was the popcorn sundae. Popcorn ice cream, housemade cracker jack and salted caramel…it’s a killer. Order it!

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Special thanks to our attentive and charming server, Emily, pictured here with our friend, Luke, and my daughter, Heather. How cute are these people?

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Disclosure – Two Urban Licks was kind enough to provide a tasting menu for our visit. The opinions expressed regarding our experience are my own.

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