As I’m gearing up for my regularly scheduled Bunco night, new friend A texts me to see if I’d want to ditch the dice and join her (and her college roomie A) to dine at a new restaurant that their friend from college recently opened. That “new restaurant” just so happened to be No. 246 – the very same Italian-inspired, locally driven eatery I’ve been awaiting with bated breath for the last four months!! And that “friend from college” just so happened to be Drew Belline, No. 246’s very own executive chef and partner (he teamed up with Chef Ford Fry of JCT for the venture). Imagine the luck!
The moment we walked through the impressive glass and iron doors to have the first peek inside I was smitten. The space is fresh, chic and hip with an almost electric see and be seen atmosphere. Smith Hanes, the same brain behind JCT Kitchen’s swoon-worty earth-jeweled décor, left no corner of the place untouched. Think hand blown light fixtures, hand forged bar stools, chairs imported from Australia, reclaimed wood floors from Pennsylvania, custom antiqued mirrors… I could go on for days. It’s pure design genius.
On top of the divine décor, our meal was simply splendid. We began with the Toasts course: cannellini beans, wood oven roasted figs and house-made ricotta while sipping on the Saffy Darling cocktail (saffron-orange infused gin, Strega, mint and Pellegrino Aranciata).
While the menu isn’t extensive, between the fabulous company and cocktails it was decidedly difficult to decide on which drool-inducing plate to try. I started with the perfectly peppery arugula salad with lemony garlic anchovy dressing and fresh shaved parmesan and choose the half portion of Agnolotti pasta (sweet corn, local chantrelles, corn milk, humbolt fog and toasted garlic) for my main course. Both were exceptional.
At this point in our visit, Chef Drew joined us at our table. *squeals with delight* He is young, authentic, bright, humble and quite entertaining. I can only foresee fabulousness in his future, and if day number six of No. 246 is any indication I’m certainly not the only one that feels that way. The coup de grace of the night was decidedly the scrumptious array of desserts he cherry-picked for our dining delight. Think chocolate tart with sea salt and olive oil, blueberry croustade with crème fraiche, house-made coffee ice cream and blackberry sorbet and grand cups of Batdorf & Bronson cappuccino. Are you drooling yet?!?!
Color me content because that’s certainly how I felt after one convivial evening at No. 246. And I’m thanking my lucky stars I just happened to find myself in Atlanta tonight while between trips!
Photos sourced from tumblr, No. 246 and one from Duchess Fare.