Bacchanalia shines with five-course menu

For more than a decade the queen mama of Atlanta fine dining served a four-course menu that went something like this: cool appetizer, understated main course, fantastic “cheese and contrast” course, seasonal dessert. Then, just over a year ago, owner Anne Quatrano changed it to five courses. I was dubious. Why mess with something that felt so inimitable? Those four courses were Bacchanalia — the script for a experience engineered to make you sigh with pleasure.

The five-course format (allowing for a fish and meat entree) brings a new energy to the experience (and makes the $85 price tag seem a little less splurgy). Different cuts of Jamison Farm lamb with seasonal vegetables and a wisp of sauce show the alchemy of what happens when fine ingredients meet an instinctive palate. But then there are glamorous dishes such as kumamoto oysters out of the shell with lobes of sea urchin roe over a flavor-mined chowder custard that delight the fancy-restaurant part of your brain as it ambushes your soul with deliciousness.

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