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Saints Be Praised

Austin Holt | February 4, 2014 | Articles

We knew St. Cecilia, the newest offering from w√ľnderchef Ford Fry, would impress us. After all, the guy’s been batting a thousand: JCT. Kitchen & Bar wowed with chic comfort food; No. 246 stunned with its original take on Italian fare; The Optimist finally made seafood cool in this town; and King & Duke has chef Joe Schafer rocking a hearth bigger than your first apartment. In this newest venture, meeting our expectations wouldn’t be an issue. But exceeding those expectations? We’ll see.

Foodies who remember the old Bluepointe space will hardly recognize this new iteration. St. Cecilia is sprawling, with recovered hardwoods, white tile and brass trim illuminated by two floors of natural light. Meyer Davis Studio, who helmed the $1.6 million overhaul, hits the mark in striking a decidedly posh, European tone, while still outfitting the space with hints of antiquated quirk—just enough to ventilate any stuffiness.

To manage the day-to-day operations of the kitchen, Fry has hand-selected longtime crewmember Brian Horn. The two have a lot in common—mainly a passion for very simple food prepared perfectly—and together, they’ve created a menu with coastal Europe in mind.
The influence of the Italian coasts is immediately apparent, with inventive takes on old standards populating every course. Appetizers like small slabs of tender yellowfin tuna juxtapose heartier starters like the hearth-roasted octopus with cured tomato. A small plate of shrimp-stuffed cappelletti with pickled herbs and sea-urchin froth is an excellent second step before moving on to the main plates, like Block Island swordfish or whole wood-grilled loup de mer. Desserts are made in-house thanks to Pastry Chef Chrysta Poulos; convince the table to help you munch on the Nutella torta with burnt milk gelato.

While you’re there, we needn’t remind you to give some love to the bar (look up--you can’t miss it). Lara Creasy is Fry’s go-to cocktail gal for St. Cecilia, and she’s engineered a surefire lineup of a half dozen or so cocktails that jive perfectly with the menu. The thorough but carefully abbreviated wine list is available by bottle or glass, for those who like to change it up midmeal.

St. Cecilia is exceptional—a milestone in Atlanta dining that will do very well on its first tour of Best New Restaurants lists across the country. Combining only the choicest of influences from his previous ventures, Fry has honed his sprawling culinary aesthetic into a fine point at the corner of Lenox and Peachtree. If we could canonize restaurateurs in this town, this guy would be on the fast track.

St. Cecilia
3455 Peachtree Road NE


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