Review: Bocado (1)

Todd Ginsberg gets neighborly on the Westside

My, how far we've come. When I arrived in Atlanta a little under four years ago, the Westside was barely more than a collection of warehouses, wholesale fabric stores, and a smattering of pioneer galleries. Sure, Octane sat perched on the crux of Howell Mill Road and Marietta Street, and just up the road West Egg, Bacchanalia and Star Provisions represented what was coming down the pike for this neighborhood. But it hardly held the hottest-'hood-in-town status it does today, particularly as a dining destination.

At the same time, I spent most of my first year here complaining about the lack of small, chef-driven restaurants. It seemed to me that Atlanta's main concern was glitz, with food and authenticity coming in last on the list of restaurant priorities.

A restaurant like Bocado would have been a revelation back then. Situated across the street from Octane, the restaurant's scale, location, appearance and mission are exactly what was missing from Atlanta circa 2005. The space, designed by design firm du jour, ai3, has an airy, modern loft-like feel, with exposed bricks, polished concrete floors, and blond wood tables, but it feels intimate and relaxed. The menu, created to be flexible and sharable, speaks most clearly of the aspirations and inspirations of a talented chef.

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(Photo by James Camp)