Indigo ~ upscale casual ****
Seafood and French Cuisine
1397 North Highland Avenue NE
Atlanta, GA 30306
Phone: (404) 876-0676
Fax: (404) 876-8862
Atlanta eatery aficionados who stroll the Virginia Highlands intimately know the many machinations of Indigo. Despite the restaurant’s changes in owners and atmosphere, Indigo remains a central landmark and a fave source for libations and crustaceans served in the spirit of a neighborhood where diners demand decor and delectables offered without attitude or unmitigated expense. Though the restaurant has morphed many times, it’s finally settled back into a heralded hallmark of the ‘hood. The blue marlin are long gone from the walls, and Floridian seafood is now replaced with French classics and continental cuisine. The newly-upscale eatery still offers reasonably priced fare. Pasta dishes and a la carte entrees can be paired with side dishes for diners wishing to create their own plates.
The menu offers an eclectic variety of eats likely to appeal to any array of diners. Crab cakes, skate, escargot, oysters, mussels, fois gras and more classic beef/game dishes are just few of the listings promising to tease the taste buds. Though the menu is not stunning in its presentation, it explains dishes well. The wine list offers an eclectic mix of varietals from various regions. Many are offered by the glass, and the waitrons are quite ready to recommend whatever accommodates your particular tastes.
FOOD QUALITY: ****
The food is consistent and adventurous. Colors and textures are well-mixed, and the quantities are usually generous.
FOOD PRESENTATION: ****
The dishes are served with flair but without pretension.
The atmosphere is refined and elegant but still cozy enough for intimate dining. The background music, however, blares too loudly or not at all, making for an uneven din.
All is spic and span without appearing hospital-sterile.
Bartender Derick (he came with the lease) is the perfect pourer. Full of stories and an open ear, he mixes memories and martinis with flare. The servers are also stellar and seem to have ample suggestions as to wine parings, menu recommendations and the like.
Try the cassolette d’escargots de Bourgogne (six cost $7). Even those resistant to what they think are “slimy snails” will surely lose their scruples once they dip Indigo’s crusty peasant bread into this garlicky goodness full of fresh parsley and butter. There are also lighter appetizers like the poached pear, blue cheese and arugula salad ($4.25) or the tomato mozzerella hors d’oeuvres offered at the same price.
For entrees, try the soupiere de la mer au sauternes ($22.50) and the gateau de crab aux petits legumes sautes ($25.50). The soupiere is almost like a seafood pot pie: a puff pastry stuffed with lobster, shrimp, crab, vegetables and in a saffron sauce – very elegant and unusual. The crab cakes are outstanding and are served with a pastilla cream spinach and tomatoes tartar. The dish consists of the largest, fattest, most tender cake, crusted perfectly on the outside and stuffed full of generous clumps of large, moist heavenly clusters of fresh blue crab.
Other highlights include a roasted vegetable platter, a roasted rack of lamb crusted with mustard, classic (and difficult to find) duck confit and hickory wood-grilled beef filets. Save room for the cheese plate and dessert.
OVERALL RATING: ****
Indigo does well with its newly revised mix of old and new eats with a refreshing French flair (without the pretension). The atmosphere is cozy but elegant. The service shines. It’s best to follow the staff’s recommendations and nosh on the appetizers and desserts if possible. Seafood is the specialty. Enjoy the mixture of Moroccan, French and Spanish flavors without facing an overload of fusion.