Several months ago, we were invited to enjoy a complimentary meal at SOHO Restaurant in Vinings. We finally got around to taking advantage of the owner’s generous offer a couple of weeks ago. Like many higher end places in the Atlanta area, SOHO recently rolled out a gluten-free menu. Obviously, they want to get the word out to those who need gluten-free menu selections.
We arrived super early for dinner on a Sunday evening, right after enjoying the Allure of the Automobile exhibit at the HIGH Museum. Due to the early time, the restaurant wasn’t busy yet, but that was fine by me. I like it when the staff has time to prepare my meal safely and that’s not always possible when the kitchen is slammed with orders from a packed house. Unless we’re on vacation, you won’t likely find us dining out on Friday or Saturday nights – unless it’s very early.
To start, we had the Sciabica Family Basil Olive Oil Poached Wild Gulf Shrimp. It’s served with a chilled white bean salad, greens & tomatoes, balsamic drizzle. It might be the best shrimp appetizer dish we’ve ever had in Atlanta. We also split the House Made Fresh Mozzarella Salad which was quite lovely. It was perfectly dressed with just enough basil oil and balsamic vinegar reduction to bring out the flavors in the cheese and tomatoes.
For my entree, I ordered the Salmon Napoleon which comes with portabella mushrooms, roasted peppers & spinach, tomato-basil risotto, basil oil and balsamic reduction. My husband ordered the blackened trout. His dish was excellent, but my Salmon was absolutely spectacular. The presentation was lovely and it tasted even better than it looked.
Since I ordered the fish cooked through, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. Chefs don’t really like it when you ask that your fish (or meat) be cooked differently than the way they think it should be served. I’ll never forget when someone delivered a barely warmed piece of pretty raw salmon to our table in California, long before the trend hit the East Coast. I don’t do sushi and I don’t do rare fish.
Not only was my salmon cooked the way I like it, the texture of the fish was as tender as it would have been had it been served rare. The risotto that accompanied my fish was superbly flavored and it was simply delicious. All the tastes and textures on my entree plate just worked perfectly together. I wasn’t crazy about my husband’s red rice, but he was very happy with it.
The creative kitchen team at SOHO had been experimenting with a gluten-free cobbler, but in the end, they decided not to offer it on the gluten-free menu. Therefore, like most other places here, my dessert choices were limited. I could have fruit, ice cream, sorbet or crème brulee. I was too full to eat much dessert but did manage a few bites of the crème brulee my husband ordered. It was your basic, creamy and delicious crème brulee. At this point, I’m getting over both flourless chocolate cake and crème brulee. Since I don’t need the extra calories anyway, I’m fine skipping dessert when dining out when nothing particularly interesting is available.
The Vinings area is becoming quite the gluten-free dining Mecca in the Atlanta area, so it’s unfortunate that it’s way off the beaten path for us. One thing that seems to be happening in that area – and other higher end places around the city for that matter – is that most of them are not offering gluten-free bread, pasta or interesting desserts. This is the case at SOHO as well, but their gluten-free options are delicious and plentiful none the less. I have no right to complain about dessert choices when I have to give away part of most gluten-free desserts I’m sent to review because we get too many to eat them all. Last week I received a chocolate cake, apple pie, pumpkin pie and cookies from one company. Look for the cake review next week – it is decadent and addictive. Yes – I think I can live without a knock-your-socks-off gluten-free dessert at SOHO or anywhere else.
*Special thanks to the staff and owner of SOHO for our lovely meal. We thoroughly enjoyed sampling your creative, gourmet and delicious gluten-free offerings!