Thursday, December 27, 2012


A few weeks ago, my husband and I ventured to Downtown Athens for a date night.  It was much busier (and colder!) than we anticipated, due to a show at the Classic Center.  After trying to get a table at a few different restaurants, and not even being acknowledged by the hostesses, I felt my annoyance growing.  When I'm hungry, I have very little patience, unfortunately.

We decided to try one more restaurant, a French restaurant called Etienne, before throwing the towel and getting take-out somewhere.  As soon as we walked into the restaurant, we were immediately greeted by the host and welcomed like old friends.  Despite being busy, the staff took the time to clear us a table and seat us promptly. This is what really stood out about Etienne for us: the great service.  Our waitress was extremely knowledgeable about both the food on the menu and our drinks, and took the time to carefully answer our questions. She seemed to genuinely care that we had a great eating experience.

The food and drinks at Etienne were wonderful as well.  I ordered The Mainland (a ginger beer concoction), and it was honestly the best cocktail I've had in Athens.  My husband had similar sentiments about his own drink, a Sazerac.

The Mainland
For appetizers, we ordered the Escargot and the Beinets de Morue (Cod Fritters), and enjoyed both immensely.  They were both well-seasoned and cooked perfectly.

Beinets de Morue
For my entree, I ordered the Steak Frites (NY Strip), medium-rare.  It was everything I wanted in a steak; cooked perfectly, tender, and flavorful.  The french fries, though an odd pairing, were great tasting too.  Although for the price, I think I might have preferred a fancier side dish.

My husband ordered the Daube D'Agneau (Braised Lamb Shoulder). The waitress informed us that they were out of the Rutabaga Mash that the lamb usually sits upon, and asked if it would be okay for the chef to substitute with Sweet Potato Mash.  My husband hesitantly agreed, and but was glad he did. The dish was amazing; seriously amazing.  An all-around fantastic dish.  There was such a wonderful depth of flavor, and everything was just beautifully cooked.  Etienne--if you are reading this--we implore you to consider making the sweet potato mash a permanent switch on the dish.  We originally were concerned that lamb and sweet potatoes would not contrast well, but were surprised by just how perfectly they paired.  It made it a really unique and special dish; one that we are both still craving weeks later.

Unfortunately, we were both way too full for dessert.  I have a feeling it would have been great.  Overall, we were both really happy with both the food, service, and ambiance of Etienne.  While the prices were a little high to add it to our regular restaurant rotation, it's definitely going to be one of our splurge-date restaurants.

Etienne Brasserie on Urbanspoon

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