Sunday, May 27th, 2012
Helmed by Chef Richard Blais, The Spence, a partnership with acclaimed restaurant group Concentrics Restaurants, opened its doors over the Memorial Day Weekend. The Spence is a classic eatery that serves accessible, ingredient driven food to its surrounding community and beyond. Backed by an all-star culinary team including Adrian Villarreal (Atlanta’s JOËL and TAP) and Pastry Chef Andrea Litvin (New York City’s ABC Kitchen, Atlanta’s The Livingston), Blais displays his culinary strengths throughout on an ever-changing “pantry list” alongside signature dishes.
When asked about the title of his newest concept, Blais explains, “We were looking for a word that would describe the spirit of the design and offerings. We all landed on the word ‘larder’ simultaneously. After some research, my wife Jazmin stumbled upon the word ‘spence,’ a synonym for larder. We loved that it refers to a place where families would sit and eat together. In keeping with its many meanings, The Spence is about the contents of our pantry and coolers, our fantastic purveyors and specialized ingredient sources and sitting down to eat with family and friends.”
Dinner appetizers boast simple and fun dishes such as Asparagus, Duck Egg and Black Garlic ($7), Bone Marrow, Tuna Tartare, Quail Egg ($13) and General Tso’s Sweetbreads ($11). Entrées, like the appetizers, focus on primary proteins and vegetables. Options include Sea Bass, Miso and Green Peach ($22), Chicken Schnitzel and Cucumber Noodles ($16) and Porchetta, Celery Root and Mustard Sauce ($20). Sides such as Macaroni & Headcheese ($5), Bag O Vegetables ($4) and Braised Leaves & Tops ($3) round out the meal. Pastry Chef Andrea Litvin’s sweets perfectly compliment Blais’ savory options. A Malted Barley Panna Cotta with Sorghum ($5) and a Tahini Chocolate Mousse & Campari ($6) are surefire signatures.
The wine list, curated by Advanced sommelier Justin Amick, offers focused “Tried and True” and “Leap of Faith” selections from true artists across the globe listed in an increasing progression of acidity. The “Tried and True” section boasts classic wines, styles and regions that are more familiar and available in the marketplace like Oregon Pinot Noir, while the “Leap of Faith” section includes wines from up and coming wine regions/varietals like Assyrtiko from Greece. Amick, the recipient of the 2012 prestigious Rudd Scholarship from The Court of Master Sommeliers, has been featured in The New York Post, The Atlanta Business Chronicle, Sommelier Journal and, most recently, on CNN.com as part of the “new wave of vino pros.” Amick offers bold, unique and small production offerings that flatter Blais’ cuisine flawlessly.
Courtesy of acclaimed The Johnson Studio, The Spence’s design offers warm handsome design elements such as lacquered white brick, navy repurposed wood, cream tartans and zinc and pine tabletops frame the centrally located beverage and food “kitchens.” The Johnson Studio has been engaged in the design of hospitality projects for more than twenty years and they have designed hundreds of renowned restaurants including Atlanta’s TWO Urban Licks and TRU in Chicago.
75 Fifth Street NW