Bacchanalia (ATL) -Great Food Intertwined with Upsells

I heard so much about Bacchanalia that we decided to spend my birthday. On a Monday evening we drove what felt like to the middle of nowhere and then pulled into the parking lot. The building was a star oasis in the middle of the desert and the name Star Provisions was apt. The rear of this building houses Bacchanalia.

The room is light, airy and large tables throughout the back of the space. A long bar occupies the front. With only two tables occupied I was surprised that the hostess sat us right next to the front door and the hostess station. This was not a gracious welcoming. We asked for a much quieter table in the main part of the room.

The menu is fixed at $95 for four courses (there are many more served with all of the mini-tastings from the kitchen). My wife chose the Nantucket Scallops to start and the NY Strip for her entrée, plus the Turtle for dessert. I chose the Foie Gras…wait the server interrupted and told me the foie gras for the evening was a pate, not a piece of foie gras as stated on the menu. I asked if they could prepare as a piece as the menu stated and he checked with the kitchen. “They can but there will be a $15 supplement before it is a large piece of foie.” My antenna should have gone full 100% “upsell” but I stayed with that option, it was my birthday. For my entrée I ordered the Rohan Duck Breast.

Prior to the receipt of the first course, we received and enjoyed several nibbles. When the appetizers arrived the first item I noticed was the “large piece” of foie was smaller than my thumb, probably less than half an ounce, yes, less than half an ounce. And it was very seared on the exterior, very close to burnt. It was pretty good, not excellent and absolutely not justified in charging $15 more for an item that was EXACTLY as described on the menu.

Moving to the entrée, the evening reached deliciousness. The duck breast was phenomenal, albeit also on the smallish side. In this case the size was absolutely acceptable and the flavors were perfect. The honey and lavender were great complements. This is highly recommended.

Dessert continued the winning streak with the Apple Tart and the Turtle. The tart was delicious and the turtle was excellent.

Service was excellent but forced. Everything was “my favorite.” Even with our mentioning a food allergy, a dish arrived with that ingredient prominent in the presentation.

I think Bacchanalia is an excellent choice for a special, relaxed evening. The supplement for the dish exactly described on the menu is bad, telling me the reason for the surcharge was the large size of the foie and then the miniscule size set a bad tone. I would say that 75% of me loves the place and 25% of me place “emperor’s new clothes” status.

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