Sometimes you happen upon a place that beckons you. It might be a beautiful door or an unusual piece of art that draws you in. It might be the scent of delicious food mingled with laughter that slips out the door. It might be the enthusiasm shared by a previous visitor. All of these elements draw you into Lure, a contemporary fish house that recently opened on Crescent Avenue in Atlanta.
Lure is making a name for itself—not just from the exquisite sustainably-harvested seafood it offers, but on a number of fronts—creative mixology for example. I had heard about Lure’s Punch Bowls—unique concoctions served in gorgeous antique silver punch bowls made to share around the table. But at the suggestion of Lure’s hospitable beverage manager, Mark Frazie, we sampled a few of the cocktails “from the Bottle Shop”. These effervescent drinks are special because each is created and hand-bottled on site. Mark tells us it took many hours infusing liquors, herbs, and bitters until perfection was achieved. I loved the Bali Hai, an infusion of domaine milou, benedictine, st. germain, and hopped grapefruit bitters. My husband fell for the popular Micha Caliente—lemon-lime soda, jalapeno vodka, orange liquer, cranberry and verdejo. The kick from the jalapeno vodka is a nice surprise!
Lure has one of the finest selections of cocktails around. From hand-crafted drinks to bubbly infused bottles, it is well worth the visit to sip at the bar, chat with the friendly bartenders, and relax in the gorgeous setting. But the plates whizzing by from the kitchen will entice you to stay for dinner.
Lure’s premise is that food should be a feast for the eyes and all the senses, and the staff gently encourages patrons to be interactive with our food and call upon our senses to experience it. From pouring and sharing drinks to deboning fish, we were always doing more than just tasting. We were seeing, smelling, touching and talking about our food. The roasted tomato and fig tart with summer vegetable caprese salad is a great example. Stunningly beautiful, I loved the seasonal combination of tomato with fig. Being a gardener, I had to ask about the origins of the fig and the tomato. And as a home cook, I had to learn more about the sensual, tender Burrata cheese, which is made with fresh mozzarella and cream. The servers and staff at Lure were not only knowledgeable about each dish, they were enthused to talk with us about it.
We are often discouraged from touching or “playing with” our food, but at Lure, diners wrap lettuce leaves around tender grilled octopus and pork and dip them in spicy Vietnamese sauce. The seafood platter of cold-smoked salmon with cucumber salad, bluefish with pickled beets and crème fraiche, and rainbow trout patè with house-cured roe beckons to be shared around the table. It is a feast for the eyes and the palate, with tastes varying from smoky char to sweet beet, and enticing textures, from silky crème fraiche to salty, bursting droplets of roe.
The sweet, tender seared Georges Bank sea scallops, served in field pea succotash and country ham, is one of the most visually pleasing plates ever. It tastes every bit as good as it looks.
Lure’s grilled Georgia rainbow trout might just be the pride of the staff. It is locally sourced by a fisherman up in north Georgia. Not only does he farm the trout in a sustainable manner, but he also owns the watershed above the trout farm, and the native forests surrounding it. Served with Muscadine butter and new potatoes, the trout was expertly deboned by our friendly and attentive server, Ashley. And if you are feeling adventurous, the trout is delivered with clear instructions about how to expertly debone it yourself!
Vegetarians are not forgotten at Lure. The French horn mushrooms a la plancha, with baba ghannouj and chickpeas, is an outstanding choice. The rich, earthy mushrooms are seasoned with cinnamon, parsley and coriander.
Dessert lovers are not overlooked either. The delicate fried dough, dusted with powdered sugar, brings one back to childhood afternoons on the beach, drenched in sunshine and salt. But the adult version is even better.
Fifth Group, the creative force behind a number of Atlanta’s great restaurants (South City Kitchen, Ecco and more), does not overlook a detail—even behind the scenes. The chefs and staff enjoy one of the finest grill ovens in the industry—a coveted Josper, along with a soft serve ice cream maker (try the green tea ice cream!). Fifth Group is devoted to sustainability and the environment. For example, the owners installed a unique roofing system over the patio that electronically closes when it rains. It collects the rainwater that is directed into a special storage unit in the bottom floor of the restaurant, where it is saved to water the gardens. All kitchen waste is sorted and recycled or composted. “Now in the restaurant world there is so much competition—you have to focus on quality, sourcing locally and being green, or you won’t make it,” notes Lure’s sous chef, J.D. Childress. From Lure’s beautiful environment, to the cocktails, to the food, you will savor every moment. And Lure will beckon you back.