Christened a "modern American steakhouse," C. Ellet’s is the newest restaurant from James Beard Award-winning Atlanta chef Linton Hopkins.
It recently opened outside SunTrust Park in The Battery Atlanta. And in many ways, the location is a synthesis of Hopkins’ many different concepts — from sophisticated Southern fine dining at Restaurant Eugene, and cutting-edge pub grub at Holeman & Finch, to fast-casual fun at H&F Burger and Hop’s Chicken stands.
C. Ellet’s offers lunch and dinner, with game day hours and menus, and multiple spaces for eating and drinking, year-round.
The stunning, Baroque-modern Dining Room feels like a conservatory. The Club Room is open from lunch until late, and features an appropriately clubby bar. And the patio areas and walk-up oyster bar engage the lively surroundings of the ballpark and The Battery.
Of course, the menu shows off steak, with both classic and lesser-known cuts sourced from farms and artisan butchers around the U.S. For $135, there’s the colossal 38-ounce Tomahawk Rib-eye. Much more modestly, the 8-ounce Eureka Cut Flank Steak is priced at $25.75.
Other sections of the dinner menu include raw and chilled seafood, shellfish towers, and starters such as White Oak Pastures steak tartare prepared tableside, and cured salmon belly with red-eye broth and radishes.
For non-beefeaters, there’s the likes of Southern-style Maine scallops with grilled Vidalia onions, and plenty of vegetable sides, such as roasted baby carrots with puffed sorghum and dill.
In the Club Room, you can order entree-size salads, C. Ellet’s dry-aged cheeseburger, and several sandwiches, in addition to steak features found on the dinner menu.
The man in the kitchen is executive chef Damon Wise, who was the longtime New York City-based corporate chef for Tom Colicchio’s Crafted Hospitality, and spent time in Atlanta when Craft and Craft Bar opened in Buckhead in early 2009 and closed in early 2011.
Last week, Wise took a break to sit down at C. Ellet’s and talk about returning to Atlanta, and opening a modern steakhouse at a ballpark.
“I came from a French cooking background, but I kind of fell in love with Tom Colicchio’s style of cooking, and I ended up working for him for about 14 years,” Wise said. “When I opened Craft Atlanta, I lived in Buckhead for a very short time, and I just worked.
“So I didn’t really get an idea about what Atlanta was like. But when I came down this time, and Linton showed me around, I fell in love with Atlanta. I think it’s a great town, and it’s growing, and there’s a lot of cool stuff going on.”
Asked how C. Ellet’s fits with other steakhouse concepts, Wise pointed to the beef and what’s served with it.
“Everybody likes steak,” he said. “And the thing with the steakhouse concept is that it’s very American. That’s the first thing that comes to mind when people talk about a steakhouse. It’s just that they think about the old-school ones. But the beef programs have changed a lot over the years.
“It’s actually a cool way to eat. You can come and eat a big steak and have your vegetables, too. There’s really something for everyone, now. You can get the burger. You can get the Tomahawk, if you got that big bonus check. We have great beef in America, and why not celebrate it?”
Asked about building value into what is traditionally a high food cost menu, Wise said that was the most difficult task.
“That why we spent months putting the steak program together,” he said. “It’s about making sure we get the right pricing. Making sure the taste is correct. Making sure we’re able to source from responsible places. It was really difficult, and we ate a lot of beef.
“Here we try to offer everything. We did research on all different cuts of beef, which can be equally as tasty, and allows us to drive down our prices a bit. The Eureka Cut Flank Steak, which is really tasty, with a lot of beef flavor, is a great example of that.”
2605 Circle 75 Parkway, Suite 400, Atlanta. 678-996-5344, c-ellets.com.
More images from a First Look at C. Ellet’s