The towering space at the corner of Peachtree and Lenox will always be Bluepointe to me, the scene of infamous parties (some surprised me, others we crashed), where many bottles of Veuve were poured whilst copious quantities of steamed curry lobster were devoured. It was also the setting of mine and LC’s first date.
Now it’s Ford Fry’s St. Cecilia that presides over Buckhead’s main mall district, serving Northern Italian seafood for lunch and dinner. I had avoided it as long as possible, the inevitable sadness of seeing the space transformed. Gone are the plush velveteen banquettes and glitzy lights, replaced with tufted sofas upholstered in subdued shades of taupe, large white pendant lights suspended from the soaring ceiling, and reclaimed wood juxtaposed by gleaming white tile.
Six years later, LC and I chose St. Cecilia for our anniversary dinner. Arriving in the bright light of day, the restaurant’s entrance still embodies high drama. We had a brief wait for our table which allowed us to order cocktails at the revamped white marble bar. Made with jalapeno-infused Mezcal, the Ultimas Palabras won both our votes.
Moments later, we were whisked away to our table, near the transparent floor length patchwork curtains. Freshly baked flatbread wrapped in parchment arrived, served with salted butter and olive oil. Although I noted our special occasion on the Opentable reservation, I was surprised and impressed when they congratulated us and offered complimentary glasses of champagne to toast!
Chef Craig Richards, who has helmed the kitchen at Ecco and La Tavola, creates rustic Italian-inspired dishes that allow each ingredient to shine. An example is the Yellowfin Tuna crudo, smartly presented in a conch shell. Diced tuna is tossed with pickled peaches, olives, and razor thin slices of jalapeno.
LC and I often share several dishes. After polishing off the tuna, we decided to try one pasta, an entree, and a side, making sure to save room for dessert. Agnolotti, filled with rich red wine braised beef short rib, was light on the promised parmigiana crema, leaving the dish a bit dry.
Although I usually prefer shellfish, we decided to try the Monkfish, accompanied by creamy herb polenta, caperberries, lemon, and snap peas, dressed with a vibrant yellow sauce made with turmeric. I didn’t love it and our side of Crispy Punched Potatoes was somewhat underwhelming as well.
Thankfully, we saved room for two desserts, the Buttermilk Lavender Panna Cotta we ordered and the complimentary gelati delivered with a candle. Honey, graham cracker crumbs, and strawberries accented the sublime panna cotta.
Again, the service at St. Cecilia was flawless. The decor was refreshing, if not somewhat common these days. But still, the ghost of Bluepointe haunted our visit, leaving me craving its gaudy glamour…and just one more bite of that curried lobster.
3455 Peachtree Road NE 404-554-9995