New fishies: Blue Trout opens in Midtown If you live inside the Perimeter and you're the sort of person who likes to visit new restaurants frequently, you've probably noticed the sudden halt in new openings. Between saturation of the pricey intown market and the recession, restaurateurs have headed to the suburbs. In the June issue of Knife and Fork (404-378-2775), for example, four of the six restaurants reviewed are in the 'burbs and there's one feature on dining in South Carolina and another on Macon. So, it was quite a surprise to discover three new restaurants in Midtown last week. The first, Blue Trout, has been opened by Fariba and Tommy Todd. The couple are best known as founding partners of Metrotainment Cafes, which operates Einstein's and Cowtippers. After leaving that company, the Todds opened Atlantic Star in Decatur, which recently closed. Blue Trout is located in a 1920s building catty-corner to the new Publix on Piedmont Avenue (554 Piedmont Ave., 440-685-9575). It is in the space formerly occupied by Patti Hut, my favorite Jamaican spot, which never quite recovered when it was forced to move from its original location in the old Rio shopping mall that was demolished to build the Publix complex. The Todds have wisely produced an inexpensive menu for their new space, which includes a bar area, a large and rather gloomy dining room in the rear and a brighter, smaller one with garage-style windows that look over a street-facing terrace. (Surprisingly, considering their use of patios at Einstein's and Cowtippers, the terrace is barely furnished.) I dined with my friend Rose D'Agostino on a meal we found mainly good, especially for the prices. Her starter of chopped salmon tartare ($8), seasoned with parsley oil and shallots, also included eggs, capers and cornichons. It sounds a bit like salmon with a kitchen-sink treatment but it worked quite well. I was just as pleased with a fat croquette of goat cheese ($8) served over a tomato-basil fondue good enough that you'll want to sop it with toast on the side. Entrees were less satisfying. In fact, Rose's yellow fin tuna ($20), a special, was vastly overcooked and served with an utterly tasteless but enormous mound of orange and white veggies. Carrots and lotus root? Carrots and daikon? Flavor and texture provided no clue. The bok choy on the plate was fine. My own dish, the signature roasted trout was a bargain at $12. While the skin on the filet could have been a bit crispier, the fish tasted great over some sauteed spinach with a sauce of brown butter dotted with capers. You'll also find slow-cooked pork, roasted chicken, a couple of steaks, burgers and other sandwiches on the brief menu. There are some shellfish dishes -- ceviche, oysters on the half shell, steamed shrimp, mussels -- that recall Atlantic Star. The restaurant is also open for lunch and is offering a $6 bargain of a sandwich, a side item and a soft drink through June 30. Dessert can be a slab of satanically rich chocolate torte with unsweetened whipped cream from the Bread Garden, which is also supplying the restaurant's table bread.

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