White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails, Downtown
Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. Dinner: 4-10:30 p.m. Mondays-Sundays. Bar open until 11 p.m. or later.
Snacks and starters, $7-$16; entrees, $19-$35; sides, $6.
270 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-524-7200, www.whiteoakkitchen.com
New from the team behind Max Lager’s, White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails, billed as “Downtown Atlanta’s Contemporary Southern Dining Experience,” is a major renovation of the former All Star Cafe space on the corner of Peachtree and Baker streets.
The look: Contemporary Southern also is an apt description of the decor in the window-lined expanse that rambles from a front patio perched high above the sidewalk to a private dining room in back. Fittingly, the airy bar and main dining areas are a tableau of weathered oak and Jack Daniel’s barrels illuminated by imposing wooden chandeliers.
The scene: Though White Oak currently isn’t open for lunch on weekends, the recent Saturday afternoon during Dragon-Con proved a notable exception, as a horde of costumed sci-fi and fantasy fans descended in search of food and drink. Suddenly, Wonder Woman and her children were there, along with some Starship Troopers and zombies.
The menu: Executive chef Ben Vaughn’s offerings are divided by numbers, one, two or three, that roughly correspond the size and price of the dish. And each dish is noted by its main ingredient, then described. So Foie Gras ($16) is Tennessee Farms foie gras torchon, bacon jam, Hardy Farm’s peanuts, brioche and banana. Fried chicken ($19) is caramel fried chicken, pickled vegetables, pan gravy and fleur de sel potato chips.
The drinks: The beverage program is Southern-influenced, too, with more than 40 whiskeys displayed above the bar. The all-Georgia draft beer list features two Max Lager’s beers, White Oak White and Hopsplosion IPA. The bottled beer list is centered on Southern regional breweries. Cocktails include the Midnight Train with pecan-infused Woodford Reserve and Laird’s Apple Jack Brandy.
The extras: Parking downtown can be a challenge, but White Oak offers free valet service at both lunch and dinner. The weekday lunch menu includes cold plates and sandwiches, in addition to starters and entrees.