After several recommendations from friends, the B.F. and I decided we had to hear what all the fuss was about.
The restaurant was surprisingly empty when we arrived on a Thursday night for dinner. We hoped that this sparseness wasn’t indicative of the quality of the restaurant and were pleased to find out it wasn’t. Our server was friendly and knowledgeable, the food was delicious and the prices were beyond reasonable.
Cellar 56 gets its name from the 56 wine options diners have to choose from, but aside from bottles, half and full glasses are also available for a wallet-friendly $3 and $6. The small-plates menu is divided into Garden, Land, Sea, House and Sweets and none of the plates are over $6.
From Garden, the B.F. and I sampled the Sautee of Wild Mushrooms with Locatelli Polenta. The mushrooms were sautéed wonderfully and complemented the polenta well. The polenta was deliciously crisp on the outside and grainy and crumbly on the inside, if a bit messy.
From Land we tried two different dishes, and at only $5.50 a plate, we could afford to splurge. We had the Herb Roasted Prestige Farms Chicken with Caramelized Shallot Butter and the Green Chile and Prosciutto Mac and Cheese. The chicken was succulent, tender and flavorful, and a perfect portion for sharing. The real treat was the modern take on mac and cheese. I had heard from numerous friends that this was the dish I had to order from Cellar 56, and it didn’t disappoint. I was originally worried about the unique combo of chilies, prosciutto and mac and cheese, but my worries were quelled after the first bite. The chile adds a tolerable spice, and the bits of prosciutto add a smoky flavor to the creamy mac and cheese. I would return to Cellar 56 on a cold night just for a glass of wine and a skillet of the mac and cheese.
From Sea we tried the Seared New Bedford Scallop with Sweet Corn and Applewood Bacon. The portion size was disappointing (one average-sized scallop) but it was cooked wonderfully and the bacon added a nice flavor. The standout of this dish was the corn relish—a tastier version of creamed corn.
Since the portions were one or two bites, even after our four dishes we were still hungry for more. We sampled the Guinness Braised Short Rib with an Unnatural Reduction. Neither I nor Wikipedia know what unnatural reduction is, but whatever it was, it was tasty. The short rib was tender and juicy, and literally fell of the bone, and at a mere $6, it was a steal.
Never ones to pass on the sweet stuff, the B.F. and I chose the Pot of Chocolate, a chocolate fondue platter served with pound cake, marshmallows, strawberries, pineapples and sugar cookies. We cleaned the plate (and I think I attempted to lick the chocolate bowl) and were pleasantly surprised that it (along with all the desserts) were only $3.50.
Cellar 56 is probably the best bang for your buck in usually-expensive Buckhead. After a few (several) glasses of wine, five dishes plus dessert, our bill rang in around $80. Given the primo location, friendly service and recession-friendly menu, Cellar 56 is set to be a new hot-spot and dining-out destination for Buckhead.
Cellar 56 is located at 56 East Andrews Drive and is open Monday through Saturday from 5pm-11pm