Last Friday night, the Caseys, Kevin + I checked out Ford Fry’s (JCT Kitchen + No. 246) newest hot spot: The Optimist. It’s an impressively designed sustainable seafood restaurant on the Westside (near Bocado) specializing in oysters. In fact, you can sit in it’s casual sister restaurant, The Oyster Bar at The Optimist, to get your serious oyster on. We ate in the massive main dining room to try a little bit of everything.
Often sold on atmosphere alone, I knew I was going to like The Optimist as soon as I set foot inside. I love everything about what they’ve done with the decor. It’s JCT Kitchen + the beach. LOVED!
We started with the best bread I’ve ever had at any restaurant. I’m seriously not exaggerating. It. was. unbelievably. good. Yeast rolls + sea salt. How simple! How simply delicious!
For appetizers we had the Mussels with crabby-coconut broth, bird’s eye chile + picked herbs. The broth was so tasty.
Maybe the greatest dish we had all night was our second appetizer: “Angels on Horseback.” Fried oysters with pork belly, pickled mushrooms + red wine fish bordelaise. Try this dish. I command you.
Kevin ordered the Wood Roasted Half Amish Chicken, almost boneless with salsa verde for his entree.
Jess selected the Seared Rare Tuna with charred octopus, potato salad + harissa.
Sam picked the Duck Fat Poached Swordfish with pickled sweet peppers + crispy pancetta. It was the prettiest-plated dish.
I had the Wood Roasted Soft Shell Crab with pickled ramps + garlic broth. It was good, but not too photogenic.
On top of all of that, we ordered three delicious sides. (1) Risotto with red wine fish bordelaise, (2) Basmati “fried rice” with smoked fish, curry, crushed peanuts + egg, (3) Corn milk hushpuppies “beignet style” with cane sugar butter.
The hushpuppies were out of this world good! Let’s see them again…
For dessert, we feasted on Buttermilk Donuts with sweet corn ice cream + hot pepper jam…
… and Pound Cake with ice cream. They both really hit the spot.
We were all so pleased with our meal. Everything we ordered was delicious and inspired, the atmosphere was beyond excellent, and the servers + hostesses all seemed so happy to be working at The Optimist. In full disclosure, our service was a little slow and our specific waitress didn’t seem to be that familiar with the menu – particularly the cocktails – but we chalked that up to it being their very first Friday night. I’m sure they had a better handle on things over the past week.
I can’t wait to go back and try so many other delicious-looking items on their menu…including their OYSTERS! I’m still not sure how we ended up overlooking those during our visit! I highly recommend The Optimist + hope you all enjoy this special spot as much as we did!
914 Howell Mill Road
Atlanta, GA 30318
Tags: ,becoming the caseys, blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol, clean plate club, comfort food, don't judge, double date, I'm just saying..., incredibly bold statements, Kevin!, Lets hear it for the boys, LMR, newsworthy, people watching, PLU, see and be seen, sugar rush!, support local businesses!, sweet tooth, Table for Two, Things that are awesome..., Things we love!, westSIDEEEE, You Can Find Me in the A, Yowza.