Review: Paces 88 (1)

Chef Mark Alba takes the helm at the St. Regis

It’s hard to call the proliferation of swanky new hotel restaurants in Atlanta these days a trend. It’s more like a side effect. Three years ago, when the economy was booming, upscale hotels were planned all over town. Millions of dollars went into construction. But these weren’t projects that could be abandoned simply because the economy tanked. So while smaller restaurant projects were put on hold or abandoned, and large and small eateries alike closed all over town, a generation of gleaming, expensive hotel restaurants arose.

Paces 88, in Buckhead’s new St. Regis, epitomizes almost everything that’s both commendable and frustrating with this new crop of restaurants. Extreme care has been taken with the décor and food. The place has a meticulously upscale and conservative feel (think muted wood tones, large cream archways, oil paintings and windows overlooking a manicured courtyard), and the menu consists of dish after dish of perfectly cooked and presented luxe ingredients. Everything is $5-$10 more expensive than you probably want to pay, and nothing about the place is the least bit surprising. If that sounds good to you, you’ll probably love Paces 88. If it sounds a tad boring, well, it is.

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(Photo by James Camp)