A great waiter/waitress, impeccable food, prompt refills, and a clean aesthetic makes for a great restaurant experience. At least that is the case for me. My recent trip to Food 101 delivered that plus some.
But to be honest, when I visited the restaurant last spring, that was not the case. The food was meh, the waitress was scattered, and I sat under a leaky ceiling. I wanted to visit again though just to make sure that I didn’t come on a bad night. I’m guessing that the positive changes came with the new chef and menu. I love the new Food 101.
My mom and I went on a Thursday night. The crowd was light and our waitress was very attentive. I could hear my mom talk and myself think. This is always a plus.
We used this dinner as an extension of my mom’s birthday celebration so we started the night with cocktails. I ordered the Pina Island Fantasy which tasted like a vodka version of the pina colada and she ordered the Blackberry Fields Martini. Her drink was a blackberry puree champagne concoction that I actually preferred over my drink. (I forgot when I ordered my drink that I’m not a big fan of vodka.)
Chef Ryan came out a few times. He talked to us about the changes he made to the menu and the ingredients used in certain dishes. He was really a gem. Due to his convo, we decided to order a few signature favorites and new additions. Our appetizers included Triple Grind Beef Sliders and Crab Cakes.
The sliders have been on Food 101’s menu since jump. And I see why: they’re good! They came with shoestring fries. The crab cakes were next level, though. Chef Ryan suggested eating the cakes with the slaw so you can enjoy the flavors together. It was so delicious.
Our entrees were next. I ordered “From the Garden”, the new vegetarian-friendly section of the menu. Chef Ryan noticed the palate of the area and realized people love meatless options. He also realized that non-vegetarians might want to order from this section too so he included a variety of meat add-ons to choose from as well. I selected the Kale & Mushroom Farrotto and added salmon to be my protein. My mom ordered the angus steak and beets special of the day.
Let me note that these portions are nice. Chef Ryan noted that the portions of the meals From the Garden section of the menu are intentionally healthy. This was my first time eating farrotto, but the flavor was everything. The kale gave the farrotto a slightly earthy flavor and the mushroom toned it down a bit. Pairing this with salmon was truly a perfect choice. I believe chicken might also provide a similar taste.
My mom’s dinner was good, too. I love beets (word to Dwight Schrute) so I enjoyed the beet reduction over the potatoes and meat. The steak was tender which is always a plus.
It’s not a great meal without dessert. I ordered the Cast Iron Apple Crisp and she ordered the Kentucky Derby pie.
The apple crisp came out on a hot skillet. I had to let it simmer down before I could eat. I love a dramatic presentation. I also love a great apple crisp. My only complaint was that the ice cream scoop was a little bit too small, but seriously, I devoured the whole thing.
My mom’s pie was great. It’s essentially a bourbon pecan pie with a scoop of ice cream on top. As a pecan pie lover, I bit into this a few times. It really made for another solid dessert option.
Like I said before, Food 101 wowed me. I am now a fan of the restaurant and I’m so, so glad that my bad experience didn’t deter me from returning. As I am often in the Sandy Springs/Roswell Rd. area, I am happy to have a new favorite place to frequent.