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Grazing: First Look: Bistro Niko

The prices at the Buckhead Life Group's new restaurant are actually quite reasonable

"Gah, it's like a quick trip to Paris, except that we don't have to sit shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers," Wayne said soon after we took our seats at Bistro Niko (3344 Peachtree Road, 404-261-6456).

"But I want to rub shoulders with zillionaires," I replied. The new restaurant from the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group is located in the Sovereign Building near Lenox Square. The mixed-use skyscraper includes 82 condos listed as high as $9.5 million. Here, the recession is merely an inconvenience – mainly to one's slightly poorer friends. The bistro was packed, with waits, during my lunch and dinner visits.

Bistro Niko is named after Niko Karatassos, who runs the Buckhead Life Group with his father, Pano. This is the first Atlanta restaurant they've opened since Kyma (by far my favorite of their operations) in 2001. But, like all their restaurants, Bistro Niko excels at service and style.

Although the Sunday night crowd seemed almost purely composed of Buckhead types – yes, that's stereotyping – the lunch crowd was more diverse. I counsel you in any case to dress decently. You know, in lots of black to offset your bleached teeth. And borrow a good car if you're going to use the valet. And do use the valet, because parking will cost you $8 or more if you don't. Plus, using the valet allows you to loiter among the cluster of fox sculptures by Michael Stipe.

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(Photo by James Camp)