First Look: Little Alley Steak, Roswell

Hicham Azhari and Fikret Kovac, the partners behind the Salt Factory and Inc. Street Food, have been credited with bringing the historic Roswell dining scene a much needed jolt of contemporary energy. But with Little Alley Steak, Azhari and Kovac are digging into the past, describing their latest venture as “a relaxed, late-1800s-inspired all-American steakhouse.”

The look: A black cast-iron bull's head hangs above the front door, giving the otherwise unmarked entrance the air of a speakeasy. Inside, the former antique shop has been transformed with refurbished brick, reclaimed wood and white subway tiles, track lighting fashioned from meat hooks, and seating areas of booths and tables situated between low walls.

The scene: One evening, a buoyant middle-age group sporting golf shirts, shorts and sundresses crowded one end of the L-shaped bar, slurping raw oysters and sipping martinis. In the dining room, servers dressed in crisp white Chefwear jackets delivered sizzling steaks and carafes of red wine.

The menu: Executive chef Bob McDonough sources wet-aged, dry-aged and prime beef from Chicago butcher Meats by Linz. Cuts range from a marinated 8-ounce hanger steak ($19.95) to a prime 18-ounce bone-in ribeye ($48.95). But the menu also meanders through appetizers, soups and salads, as well as seafood, chicken, lamb, pork and even tofu entrees. An American Kobe beef burger ($12.95), topped with crispy pork jowl and Vermont cheddar, comes with Belgian fries.

The drinks: Wine and whiskey are the stars at the bar. The wine list includes point ratings from Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate. Wines by the glass are priced at $8-$18, and there are plenty of bottles in the $30-$60 range. But you'll also find the likes of a 2006 Cardinale Bordeaux-style blend, which scored a 100 from Robert Parker and goes for $375. The whiskey list is topped by rare scotches and small-batch bourbons, such as Pappy Van Winkle and Murray McDavid.

The extras: Little Alley will feature what's billed as a "neighborhood butcher shop" selling specialty steaks to take home.

Dining out

Little Alley Steak, Roswell

4-10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays; 4-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays. Bar open late.

Appetizers, soups and salads, $6.95-$17; steaks and seafood, $19.95-$48.95; sides $5-$6.

955 Canton St., Roswell, 770-998-0440,