Food & Drink » Bar Review

Eye-opener

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When it opened in a refurbished filling station in fall 2002, East Atlanta bistro Iris was hailed as a blossom to treasure in a blooming culinary scene. The restaurant's bar, however, has often played mere purgatory for those awaiting tables. That's a shame because it's got personality waiting to bloom as well.

Nestle at a table in the glass and concrete block of a sidebar, peer out from behind creamy curtains and past the chrome patio, and you'll look toward East Atlanta's boho crossroads. Now slink to the sleek chic of the brushed metal bar and order a drink from J.B. You'll know him when two hands with letters tattooed across the knuckles place down your drinks, and you'll know he commands the CD changer when you hear some DJ Shadow or Krush. A migratory bartender transplanted from New York, J.B.'s contribution to Atlanta's cocktail scene is the Caligula.

The drink lives up to its name. It's an orgy of ingredients: Grey Goose, Grey Goose Vanilla, Grey Goose L'Orange, Malibu, Amaretto, Licor 43, Chambord, Grand Marnier, orange juice, pineapple juice and -- dare I say it, but, yes -- cream. It comes delivered with a frothy head and a sidecar, because it's a drink overflowing, like it just can't wait to explode (in your mouth). The first sip tastes of chocolate-covered pineapple, the second of honeyed citrus punch.

For those who consider this drink too decadent, the Iris Martini is demurely indulgent, being basically a French martini (vodka, Chambord, pineapple juice). I'll stick with the orgy, though, because after a couple, you never know what might, um, come over you. Something's blossoming in the scene, indeed.


Iris, 1314 Glenwood Ave. 404-221-1300. www.irisatlanta.com.

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