Last night my sexy thang of a wife and I ventured into the city to enjoy a dinner at Eno before heading to the Michael Bublé concert at the Atlanta Fox Theater. Elaine had given me the tickets as a Valentine’s Day gift and we had been looking forward to this ever since. As thirty-something suburbanites we save trips into Atlanta for those special occasions like going to the theater, taking in a nice dinner or seeing what’s on the sale rack at Ikea. With a license plate that identifies our SUV as hailing from north of Spaghetti Junction, we stick to the main arteries in town and avoid stumbling into the parts my mother would refer to as “lock your doors.” We try to put on our hipster faces and prepare for the disdainful looks we receive from the uber-urbanites wearing their designer clothes and walking their designer dogs. Ah, the pretense of it all.
The Fox is located on Peachtree Street (as opposed to West Peachtree, Peachtree Circle, Peachtree Center or Peachtree Crack Cocaine Lane) but getting off on the Peachtree exit from 85 South to get there is a mistake. Doing so at rush hour will dump you right in the middle, nay right at the tail end, of the infamous downtown race that cruises along at the breakneck speed of four blocks per hour. When you factor in the road construction delay at the 800 block and the road destruction delay at the 900 block, you regret not packing a picnic lunch and some sleeping bags for the trip. The only thing more humiliating than being passed in traffic by a blue-haired octogenarian is being passed in traffic by a blue-haired octogenarian on a HoverRound. I dropped Elaine off at the restaurant to secure our table and paid a whopping $15 to park.
Eno (pronounced “Eno”) fancies itself all of a sidewalk cafe, wine bar and an intimate fine dining restaurant. Too many notes? Maybe, but this turned out to be a nice place to get our eat on. The restaurant’s smack dab on the corner of 5th and Peachtree, so every seat offers a view of business people, the occasional homeless and theater-going SUV drivers from outside the perimeter. My wife alerted our waiter to the fact that we had concert tickets, so when I joined her at the table he promptly suggested we order as soon as possible to assure getting out of there before the show. Elaine ordered salmon while I got the North African inspired lamb shank with fregula. What’s fregula, you ask? It’s like cousous but coarser and rougher. What’s couscous, you ask? I like to think of them as Arabian grits. What are grits, you ask? Be gone with you, you culinary plebeian! I also got a glass of Château Redortier Côtes du Rhône. She snuck a sip from my glass and it reminded us both of our trips to the South of France. Good good stuff, that provençal libation.
Twenty minutes after we ordered, we still had no food. Meanwhile another couple sat at the table behind us. When our waiter approached them and learned they too had concert tickets, our waiter pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration and sighed. His suggestion to them was that they only order appetizers. They one-upped him and only ordered drinks. Too bad too, because if they had been shoving food in their mouths we wouldn’t have had to listen to this man’s diatribes on how much he makes and how good he looks. For those interested, and by the level of his volume he must have thought that included everyone in the restaurant, his commissions this month alone would amount to a little over $4000. What’s more is that by his own admission he looks good enough to have dated pretty much everybody he’s ever wanted to date. When he said this to his dinner companion, Elaine and I both laughed audibly. I felt a little bad for the guy because this was obviously a first date and the romantic in me always roots for the guy on those occasions, but this guy was doing more than nervously rattling off at the mouth. He was nervously rattling off at the mouth about how wonderful he was. Gross. I hope for his sake his date was more impressed with him than we were. My back was to him, but Elaine thought he overestimated his appearance by a longshot.
Our food did finally arrive. My dish looked like something Wilma would serve Fred Flintstone. It was a huge hunk of meat with the bone sticking out served on a bed of the aforementioned pasta and diced carrots. The whole dish was swimming in some sort of reduction sauce, but I didn’t pay enough attention to know what it was. I’ll tell you this though: It was tasty. The meat practically fell off the bone and melted in my mouth. As big as the mutton shank was, the chef was kinda frugal with the fregula though. I downed this like a famished trogladyte and ordered a second glass of wine. Elaine and I both ate in a matter of minutes, not because we were worried about making it to the show on time but because the food was just that tasty. Too good for talking, we like to say. The bill came to $70 which for two entrees and two glasses of wine ain’t too bad. We’ll go back.
For the record Michael Buble puts on one hell of a great show. Not only does he sing in that crooner fashion the Rat Pack did back in their heyday but he also has that same showman quality on stage that Frank, Dean and Sammy must have had. Michael Buble was even funnier than the comedian who opened for him was. Great White Northern comedians take note: the fact that you’re Canadian isn’t all that funny. The main act upstaging you by improving upon your lame jokes however, now that’s funny. Michael Buble awed his audience with some great musical impersonations of Johnny Cash and Michael Jackson. Elaine was hoping to hear the Spiderman theme which he didn’t sing, but the stuff he did sing was incredible. For the last encore he turned off the mike, stood on the edge of the stage and just belted out the last stanza ino the audience. That guy’s got some pipes on him!
Women swoon over that Michael Buble and he knows it. I think the reason he allows flash photography is because the more photos he lets people take, the more likely they’ll post them up on his message boards and drive up ticket sales. He says at the beginning of the show that he knows it’s the women who drag their guys out to see him. Granted, he was right in my case, but I loved the concert nonetheless and I got to take my date home and snuggle up next to her. As for the guy who had dined next to us, whether he can say the same thing I’ll never know. At least if he can’t get a girl to go to bed with him, he’s still got his commissions and overinflated ego.