Spices were once such a luxury that the nouveau riche garishly plastered their homes with them, resulting in the modern-day practice of baking gingerbread houses. Today's Groupon decorates your stomach walls in luxurious spices: for $5, you get $25 worth of Southeast Asian cuisine at Spice Market.
Housed in the W Atlanta-Midtown, Spice Market bursts with the rich colors and flavors of Southeast Asia. Owner and chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten takes diners on a whirlwind tour of New Delhi, Bangkok, and Saigon via delicately spiced dishes. Begin your journey with toothsome peekytoe-crab dumplings served with sugar snap peas ($15) or spiced chicken samosas dipped in cilantro yogurt ($8). All dishes are served family style, inviting diners to set aside bitter primogeniture disputes and grandfather each other in to heaping platters of sautéed snapper with asparagus and shitake mushrooms ($24). The aromatic grilled strip steak rubbed in garlic, coriander, and sesame ($28) separates the men from the boys, the women from the girls, and the girls from the boys if they get too rowdy at co-ed canoe camp. Refresh your palate with a signature cocktail such as the lychee-raspberry Bellini (Cava Brut Reserva 06 Mont Marcal, lychee, and raspberry, $12), or knock back an Asian beer such as Kirin, Singha, Tsing Tao and Kingfisher (each $5). For dessert, nibble Ovaltine kulfi with caramelized banana and spiced milk-chocolate sauce ($7).
Befitting its exotic menu, Spice Market seduces diners with a sexy and dramatic décor dripping with lanterns and embroidery. Pause by the tranquil reflecting pool strewn with flowers and candles, or sink into a banquette stuffed with brocade pillows and await your Pegasus-drawn Fabergé-egg chariot.
Dine-in only. Good for dinner only; excludes breakfast and New Year's Eve.
Spice Market was named one of the 100 Best Restaurants in 2008 by Jezebel magazine, and OpenTable users give it a Diner's Choice Award and a four-star average rating. The Journal-Constitution gives it three stars and Gayot gives it 13/20.
- Though they span much of Southeast Asia, most of the dishes bring Vietnam, Thailand and India to the table, starting with the crispest pappadum, bright with peppery spice and served with a ragout curried with tomato and spices. Brought to the table with cocktails, the crackers are madly addictive. – Meridith Ford, the Journal-Constitution