Nicky and I hit the jackpot the other night on a venture to the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood to try The Sound Table. Thank you Darren Carr and the good folk at Top Flr for bringing Atlanta another winning establishment. Located at one of Atlanta’s increasingly popular intersections – Boulevard and Edgewood – The Sound Table is an understated two-story foodie and cocktail haven. The night we dropped in, we discovered local legend Chef Paul Luna (and the lovely Cynthia) at the bar, and celebrity Chef Kevin Gillespie dining at a nearby table.
“Sit down. And Listen.” This is the mantra of The Sound Table. Appropriate words for a perfect destination for sitting back and enjoying great food, amazing cocktails, music that doesn’t overwhelm, and engaging conversation. The Sound Table is set up much like Top Flr, with a comfortable, urban-feel bar (with full DJ set up) on the first floor. The second floor is reserved for dining. The concept is along the lines of the “street-to-table” trend – international focus, small plates.
But the highlight, at least in our minds, is the phenomenal prohibition-style cocktail menu. Bar manager Paul Calvert is a creative genius, crafting a vast menu of unique, yet well-balanced cocktails. The menu itself is divided into style sections to guide you to your particular taste at the moment: sours, citrus & coolers; floral, bright & dry; tiki!; highballs & low; flips & fizz; and strong, rich & strange.
Naturally Nicky and I ordered from our favorite section first – strong, rich & strange. (We’ve given up on reporting who orders which cocktail as most of the time the drinks are either swapped or shared once they arrive.)
“The Toronto” is a smooth blend of rye, Fernet Branca, sugar, angostura bitters, and flamed orange peel and comes neat in a highball glass. The nose is heavy on the fernet-branca and flamed orange; full of fall flavor. The sugar mellows the drink out and the fernet-branca adds a nice herbal tone.
Two of our current favorite ingredients are Cynar and green chartreuse. “Miller’s Crossing” uses both, along with rye, maraschino, absinthe, and grapefruit bitters. It is a more complex and herbaceous cocktail with many layers of flavor, ending on a nice bitter citrus note (the grapefruit bitters perhaps). The absinthe is definitely present, but not overwhelming. “Miller’s Crossing “ is also served neat in a highball glass.
We knew we wanted to try one of the flip/fizz drinks, so we went for the “Saratoga Brace-up.” A mix of cognac, Royal Combier, lemon, sugar, absinthe, Angostura and Peychaud bitters, the drink also features a whole egg instead of just an egg white. The result is a creamier, richer version of a Pisco Sour with a great balance of the orange liqueur and nice definition of the bitters on the back end.
On the complete other end of the spectrum was “The Bohannon.” We asked our server to recommend the most unusual drink on the menu and this was it – London dry gin, Swedish punch, green chartreuse with black pepper sprinkled on top. I love this drink! The chartreuse is prominent up front in aroma and blends well with the dry gin. The Swedish punch gives it a smoky and sweet flavor, but not overwhelming. The pepper balances it so well and is more prominent the longer the drink sits. Incredibly different but well balanced and enjoyable.
As this was our second “research” stop of the night, we opted to make round three a single drink. The “Gemini Handshake” was our final choice of the night and it was also my favorite. This delightful cocktail blends cachaca, lime, and Angostura bitters with locally produced Gemini Jams pineapple-habanero jam. Wow. Layers and layers of flavor from a small list of ingredients. The cachaca provides a perfect base for the contrast of the pineapple and the habanero flavors. The drink is over ice and pink, but don’t be confused by the color. It is biting, complex, and fabulous. Which explains why it is my favorite and why it should be renamed “The Katruska.” Thoughts, Paul?
Nicky and I regret that we could only sample five of the dozens of cocktail options. So many drinks. So little time. Guess you will be reading about multiple return visits to this new favorite spot.