75 5th St., Atlanta, 404-214-6740

Think about it — when you really love something, it’s easy to describe, isn’t it? Ditto for what you might hate. Black and white are easy marks of assessment.

But what about beige? It’s a lovely, soothing tone, but has a bit of a bad rap in the color department. There’s really nothing wrong with it, but on the other hand, it’s not as sophisticated as taupe. It’s certainly not as exciting as rust or caramel.

Waterhaven, a new restaurant in Technology Square that occupies the Globe’s old space, is just this side of beige. Edging towards tan, but beige nonetheless. Joe McCarthy, a former Capital Grille and Houston’s veteran, has leased the odd space, touting all the right restaurant buzzwords: sustainable, farm fresh, responsible stewardship of resources.

And the menu, from chef Chris Lee, who has worked at the Real Chow Baby and Hi-Life Kitchen and Cocktails, certainly tries to uphold the motto. But somewhere between farm to kitchen to fork, something gets lost in translation. There is, for instance, absolutely nothing wrong with a dish of fried green tomatoes, crispy-fried in cornmeal and served with a goat cheese peppered with poblano and a pumpkin seed pesto. But thinking back, there’s nothing all that remarkable about the dish, either.

The space has always been too open and massive to be inviting, and the addition of khaki green walls and a curved banquette that also serves as a divider between bar and dining options don’t do much to warm things up. The Globe’s interesting library is gone — now just another large dining area. It should be closed off for service and used as a private function space simply because looking at all the empty tables gives the wrong feel to the ambience.

The menu is a foodie-friendly list of recognizable favorites, from fried calamari — tendrils and rings lightly fried with a bit of cornmeal and served with lemon wedges and a sweet and sour sauce — to the ubiquitous roasted beet salad.

Where the kitchen provides the most color is with the daily vegetable plate, a composed plate offering seasonal, rotating veggies — for me Italian greens done up Southern style, plus super fresh-from-the-farm-tasting lady peas, slightly salty and perfectly cooked. A lightly fried squash blossom and a stack of sliced-and-grilled eggplant suddenly had my taste buds thinking purple.

Braised oxtail is fall-from-the-bone tender, with the hint of gaminess this meat should provide, in an au jus surrounded by choice turnips and carrots. Doughy, herb-speckled dumplings were puzzling: cold, clammy and downright inedible.

Flatbread is really nothing more than a fairly bland version of thin-crusted pizza, with various toppings of the day that amount to more of the same.

There was a puzzling predicament with wine one evening as well: Each wine we ordered was not available. We asked for two by-the-glass selections, gave up and asked for a bottle of pinot gris, then gave up on that. A gin cocktail with peach puree was a refreshing way to start the evening, though, garnished with fresh basil. The wait staff is earnest, but often it seems as if the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing.

Dessert seemed an afterthought at this point, but I’m glad I didn’t give up: The panna cotta served with a fresh-and-sweet blueberry compote is one of the best things on the menu. The texture is a little loose, which affects the way it looks on the plate adversely, but makes the cream taste even smoother.

The patio is lovely, and the restaurant has made a point of being dog friendly. Waterhaven certainly adds color to the neighborhood, even if it isn’t in bold brushstrokes.


Overall rating:

Food: Farm-to-table favorites

Service: Friendly and professional, though sometimes a little confused

Price range: $$

Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover

Hours of operation: Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Open for dinner Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m.

Best dishes: Oxtails in au jus, vegetable plate, panna cotta

Vegetarian selections: Salads, veggie plate

Children: Yes

Parking: Valet parking is available after 5 p.m. in front of the restaurant. Validated parking is available during lunch at the Georgia Tech conference center and the lot at 5th and Spring streets. Guests will receive a voucher.

Reservations: Yes

Wheelchair access: Yes

Smoking: No

Noise level: Low

Patio: Yes

Takeout: Yes

Address, telephone: 75 5th St., Atlanta, 404-214-6740

Web site: www.waterhavenatl.com

Pricing code: $$$$$ means more than $75; $$$$ means $75 and less; $$$ means $50 and less; $$ means $25 and less; $ means $15 and less. The price code represents a typical full-course meal for one excluding drinks.

Key to AJC ratings


Sets the standard for fine dining in the region.


One of the best in the Atlanta area.

Very good

Merits a drive if you're looking for this kind of dining.


A worthy addition to its neighborhood, but food may be hit and miss.


Food is more miss than hit.

Restaurants that do not meet these criteria may be rated Poor.

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