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LEON’s Full Service

Written by Antonia M. Krenza & Laney Roberts on Wednesday, 05 June 2013. Posted in Magazine, Eat This Summer 2013

LEON’s Full Service
131 E Ponce De Leon Avenue
Decatur  |  Georgia  |  404.687.0500

Living in the culinary cosmos that is Charleston, it is not always easy to escape the orbit of her amazing dining experiences. When you do, however, break free of her gravitational pull, there are many gastronomic galaxies to explore …

It’s a rainy night in Georgia ... more specifically Decatur, Georgia. Damp and frustrated by the Atlanta traffic, we sprint into the shelter of this “gas station turned restaurant”. For those Charleston locals who think Fuel is cool (and it is!) LEONs takes this conversion concept to new levels. The bar and kitchen area - formerly the garage bays - has an English pub feel but the beverage focus is anything but... American bourbons, ryes and whiskey, local and international brews and an enticing seasonal house cocktail list. We opted for Bulleit Rye Manhattans up, something about the damp, chilly air inspiring our choice. While we waited for a friend to join, we also sampled the aptly named “lug nuts”, a daily changing, seasoned assortment of nuts. The night’s offerings were sweet fennel and Dijon roasted. Big happy sigh.

Once our party was complete, we moved to the dining room - a space apart from the bar offering both booth and table seating. We loved the casual vibe of the room  — warm blue on the walls creating a dining Zen — and an upscale menu. Jeans friendly and great grub. We started with an amazing small plate of zucchini-pumpkin seed fritters which scaled new flavor heights when dipped in a tahini-lime goat’s milk yogurt sauce. For entrees our friend and I chose the Flat Iron Steak which was deftly countered by sweet potato crisps, creamed kale and a kick ass house made steak sauce. Antonia opted for the special fish  — Grouper perfectly prepared served within a backdrop of dashi and Hen of the Woods mushrooms that provided an earthy foil to the sweet white flesh of the fish. Although the dishes were solid, we all agreed that the creativity of the appetizers out shone the entrees.

Interestingly enough, our “local” friend had never dined atLEONs Full Service, but, like us, she will be back. Next trip to Decatur our focus will be on those house crafted cocktails and Chef Eric Ottensmeyer’s Charcuterie (Salted, Cured & Smoked) and Artisanal Cheese plates. We also plan (weather permitting) to take advantage of its urban, people-watching patio seating. IfLEONs is an example of the ingenuity and integrity of Decatur’s dining scene, then maybe a trip to Atlanta should always include a side trip to this nearby burb

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