Friday, May 10th, 2013
Tucked into the alleyway between Cosabella and Tootsies, Drew Van Leuvan’s new restaurant in the Shops Around Lenox is truly a hidden gem. DC chose Seven Lamps for our Atlanta Eats writers meeting, and of course, to eat, drink, and socialize.
When I arrived, he was seated at the communal table chatting with two contributing bloggers, one of whom was enjoying a cocktail with a salted rim. It turned out to be a Paloma made with tequila, grapefruit, and soda. Moments later I was sipping my own Paloma…tasty but certainly not enough alcohol to warrant it’s $10 pricetag.
Although there are only five actual lamps on the exposed brick wall and four naked bulbs over the communal table, they provided the kind of warm amber lighting that makes everyone look pretty. The dining room is dressed in cool shades of gray against thick repurposed wood tables and schoolroom chairs. Shiny white subway tiles provide a clean backdrop for the staff working in the open kitchen next to shelves of put-ups like pickled fiddlehead ferns.
L and J were already having some cheeses with accompaniments, including L’s favorite pistachio macaroons filled with mortadella mousse. Apparently, they make one want to go topless, so perhaps I’ll get some to go on my next visit.
KR, who is already a Seven Lamps regular, arrived as I was pondering what I might put in my mouth. I decided on a small plate of savory crepes filled with wood grilled Tuscan kale and vidalia onion, then sliced and baked with a gruyere gratin in an iron skillet. The decadent dish was finished with a smoked vinaigrette. Loved it! Another cocktail was in order as we discussed why some folks think all we do is drink and eat, this time a “fizzy lifting drink” made with Bacardi Superior, fresh lime, black peppercorn syrup, then carbonated while shaken. Again, delicious but not enough liquor.
A selection of four handmade pastas, each offered in two sizes, included the alluring black linguine with braised rabbit legs, in a white bolognese sauce. I ordered the small plate for $10. The wonderful toothsome quality of the pasta, colored black with squid ink, was the perfect match to the succulent pulled rabbit meat and sinfully rich sauce. It was the very definition of comfort food…one of the best dishes I’ve eaten in recent memory.
Van Leuvan’s menu evolves with the seasons, and is tweaked daily reflecting the fresh ingredients available at the farmer’s markets. Among a table of food writers, there was not a single complaint, which is a strong indication that Seven Lamps will continue to shine brightly.
3400 Around Lenox Road #217 404-467-8950