Omnivore - A terrific meal at Amuse

The new bistro in Midtown has very successful ancestry

We dined Thursday evening at Amuse (404-888-1890), the new restaurant in the short-lived Allegro's space at 560 Dutch Valley Rd. in Midtown. The owners have improved the interior significantly, turning what was a rather chilly space into a warm, intimate bistro, replete with an instrumental jazz duo. We'd expect nothing less of the owners of Anis (Arnaud Michel) and Apres Diem (Andy Alibaksh) who have teamed up to create Amuse.

The menu by longtime Anis chef Lenny Robinson includes a number of novelties like the appetizer of sliced, charred octopus with pickled seaweed and cucumbers (above). My entree was a chunk of roasted, orange-glazed piglet (right) with shredded, pickled brussel sprouts and a paprika brodo.

Both dishes were terrific, although I thought the pickle flavors tended to overwhelm the octopus, which was sliced from a grilled tentacle. Wayne ordered an interesting appetizer of roasted cauliflower with a cauliflower puree. A bit of chili oil added zing to both forms of my favorite cruciferous vegetable. His entree was crispy mackerel over chickpeas with mint and sultanas.

Dessert: a butterscotch creme brulee with a roasted marshmallow topping for me and two scoops of housemade ice cream for Wayne — one lavender and the other violet.

The restaurant is also open for lunch weekdays and brunch on weekends. Did I mention that portions are huge? Some of the appetizers I saw go by our table looked like entrees, especially one of crispy pork belly over napa cabbage, plum, avocado and yuzu.

I'll have more to say in an upcoming "Grazing" column.

(Photos by Cliff Bostock)