Archive for July, 2007

Utopia: A Name well Deserved

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

A friend of mine told me about is little restaurant near downtown on Marietta Street called Utopia Martini & Tapas Lounge.  I was already in Midtown and decided to try a little adventure by attempting to find the place.  My girlfriend and I past several buildings with the hope that they were our destination only to be disappointed.  We finally saw a white single story stand-alone building that I recognized as the the former Cajun Kitchen and before that The Lizard Lounge, both fairly grimy looking places.
These memories left me a little bias as to what I expected to see.  We parked valet in a secure lot behind the restaurant which use to a gravel dirt patch.  There was action on another part of the building which appeared to be under renovation.  The entrance had oversized metallic doors with oversized metal pick handles.  This opened into a entrance area with a flat screen TV. 
Everything was new and put together with a scence of style and purpose.  The entrance opened into a spacious room with more metal and black marble on the dinning tables accented by red.  This space had only dreamed of being this fancy.  They had a huge black marble top bar with more flat screen televisons.  The booth seating is big an spacious, enough for a party of six to eat or drink comfortably and dangly sting curtains offered a measure of privacy.
We talked with the owner, Donnie, who told us the design was mostly a reflection of his wife’s good taste. He encouraged us to visit the private lounge area down stairs which they have a DJ spinning music Thursday thru Saturday.  He also gave us the scoop on the renovations he was doing next door to create a lounge featuring live music 7 nights a week.  Stay Tuned.  We will be back when that happens.
The waitress informed us that the portion sizes were on the large side for tapas and guided us to some really good suggestions.  We both started with the spinach salad while I had a glass of Pinot Grisgio and my girlfriend had a martini.  After another round of drinks, we ordered the Volcano.  It came with small sliced and pre-seasoned pieces of tuna, shrimp and beef and we took turns cooking on a little grill in the middle of the plate.  This was totally fun.  It felt like a miniture bar-be-que inside a restaurant.  It even had that grilled smoky smell at our table.  They had the food seasoned just right.
The night had turned out to be one the best dinning experiences I’ve had in a while.  There attention to detail push all the right buttons.  My girlfriend order another martini that came with a glow-in-the-dark wrist band around the base of the martini glass which looked really cool against the dark marble table tops.  The flat screen televisions behind the bar are positioned so that you can easily see from any table or booth in the restaurant.  The waiting area is a lounge with plush sofas, art, a string curtains for more privacy and a large window of the view outside.  The bathroom were even cool with large leaf shaped sinks and a cascading stone facet.
We topped the evening off with dessert.  I had a sliced apple, stawberry and marshmellow plate with a chocholate dipping sauce set up fundo style.  My girlfriend had the Tarimisu which tasted homemade.  After that, I had reached my total satisfaction point.
I left the place feeling so good I had to let people know that I experience Utopia right near Downtown.