The founders of Buck's Restaurant and Bar approached their restaurant's design as would a landscape artist: by starting with the flowers. Inspired by "moon gardens"—collections of all-white blooms meant to reflect moonlight—they set their stage with slate-gray walls, dark wood wainscoting, and, of course, fresh white blossoms on every table. Deliberately mismatched china, sumptuous leather wingbacks, and gilt accent pieces complete this elegant Victorian tableau, which pairs seamlessly with the restaurant's home in the historic Mayflower Building.
Buck's menu of continental cuisine extends the elegance of the table to the plate itself, with entrees of grilled swordfish, cocoa-encrusted rack of lamb, and a daily risotto. The staff oversees an extensive wine list that catalogs reds and whites, domestics and imports. More than 60 bourbons go down smooth accompanied by live piano music performed by Rick Bartlett.
Devoted to the emerging farm-to-table agricultural movement, 610 Magnolia uses local and sustainable foodstuffs to create artful and innovative three-course prix fixe ($50/person) and four-course prix fixe ($60/person) meals. Chef Edward Lee, who was recently named a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast and featured in Southern Living, harnesses international techniques to infuse southern cuisine with eclectic flavors. The variability of local and seasonal pickings makes dishes change as often as a carousel, but past offerings have included Angus beef tartar with pequillo peppers, wax beans, and heirloom tomatoes picked just miles away, and a mosaic of grilled octopus slices with red pepper, cucumber, and feta in tomato-water gelée drizzled in kalamata olive vinaigrette and oregano oil. 610 Magnolia’s skilled kitchen crew can accommodate vegetarian preferences if they’re noted at the time the reservation is made.
A ring of rice encircles the Caviar roll's morsels of yellowtail tuna, smoked salmon, avocado, and cream cheese. The roll's exterior is just as complex, with its delicate crust of masago, tempura flakes, and eel sauce. Sushi chefs assemble hearty sushi rolls such as this at the spacious wooden sushi bar, which curves and twists its way from the front to the back of the dining room. Sushi is the focal point of both the dining room and the menu itself—chefs slice 80 different rolls, ranging from traditional crab and avocado to exotic flourishes such as squid and kiwi. To enhance their sushi selections, diners can consult the sake menu, or fold it into a paper plane and drink whatever beverage it lands on.