how to do atlanta - the sound table
Remember that trip you took to New York back in your mid-twenties? You were feeling young, sexy and sure of yourself. The friends that you came to visit in the bustling city introduced you to their group of friends, and you all met up for an evening out at a cool, but unpretentious lounge in lower Manhattan. The DJ there played an intriguing and unintrusive medley of urban underground funkiness, the drinks from the bar were prepared just right, the food: filling, flavorful, and just light enough to keep you feeling flirty. At one point in the evening, you thought to yourself, “why isn’t there a place like this back home in Atlanta?”If you’ve never had that particular New York experience, it’s ok. You can still create a similar memory right here in the A, at The Sound Table.
Open for only a few months now, The Sound Table is the second restaurant / lounge venture for Jeff Myers, who also owns the equally hip resto-lounge Top Flr. All the elements that succeed at Top Flr – small plates, expertly prepared classic cocktails with modern updates, laid-back but attentive service staff, and mood-altering décor – are in place at The Sound Table. The decor is perhaps the most marked difference between the two. Whereas Top Flr is more vampire-chic with its monochrome baroque appointments, The Sound Table is more urban lodge with simple clean lines, exposed ductwork, expansive ceilings and warm wood accents. As a result, the overall feel of The Sound Table is more casual, but you can still put on your cute go-out gear if you want.
The Sound Table is certainly a welcome addition to the Edgewood corridor. The other bar / restaurant establishments on the strip either tend toward a slightly grungier, more hipster vibe (a la Noni’s Bar and Deli, and Edgewood Corner Tavern) or can be off-puttingly upscale (a la Café Circa) for a casual evening out. The Sound Table fills that in-between space that the now-closed Harlem Bar used to, but thankfully, there’s more square footage to enjoy yourself in. The only not-so-stellar thing is the parking situation. The adjacent lot is super tiny, and street parking can be a bit of a challenge (and a trifle scary, given the neighborhood night walkers) on busy weekend evenings.
That minor nuisance aside, The Sound Table has quickly become one of my favorite places to hang, and is tops on the list of places I recommend to people who are looking for a true taste of Atlanta’s nightlife and dining scene.
Here’s a quick sampling of some of the standouts from Executive Chef Shane Devereux’s menu:
- Chinese Pork Ribs – My absolute favorite on the menu. Tender, fall of the bone ribs with an Asian glaze of soy and red chili.
- Vietnamese Pho – not an authentic pho, but a respectable approximation of the Vietnamese noodle soup. The Sound Table’s version comes with tender bits of shredded oxtail and a flavorful broth with all the expected accompaniments – hoisin, fresh cilantro and bean sprouts, lime, and pepper sauce. Comforting and refreshing even in the dead of summer.
- Cece Frito – A delightful appetizer of fried chickpeas and capers dusted in a curry salt. Caution: these things are highly addictive!
- Spatchcock Grilled Chicken – A testament to the fact that simple cooking can be the most exciting. Cuts of bone-in chicken cooked over open flame with simple flavoring of lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a hint of herbs. The first time I tried this, I enjoyed it so much that I was compelled to replicate the dish at home (recipe soon come!).
- Chocolate Truffle w/ Salted Caramel Ice Cream – I usually don’t ever go for dessert. But this one is totally worth the extra calories. A chocolate molten cake that’s light yet decadent with a perfectly contrasting dollop of salted caramel ice cream. I was beside myself.
Food prices are slightly higher than what you’d find at a traditional bar / lounge. But they’re in line with the quality of the dishes and overall experience.
The cocktails at The Sound Table almost deserve a review unto themselves. Classic adult beverages are reincarnated with names like “Summer Home in Milledgeville” – featuring St. Germain elderflower, absinthe, and green chartreuse – “Small Axe” with tamarind-infused rum and grapefruit Ting, and my personal favorite, “The Gemini Handshake” – a mix of cachaca, lime, and locally made pineapple-habanero jelly. The bartenders are clearly master-level mixologists, and the showmanship that comes along with the drink making is well worth the price of admission.
Oh, and let's not forget the most important element – the music. The Sound Table is a joint venture among 3 DJ-preneurs (yeah, I said it) whose aural palates are as global as the joint’s menu. Resident and guest DJs drop in often and spin an eclectic mishmash of future funk, electro soul, trip hop, dubstep and everything in between.
New York – eat your heart out.
Spatchcock Chicken photo courtesy of Leon Dale
Sound Table Cocktails photo courtesy of Carlos Bell
The Sound Table 483 Edgewood Avenue (at Boulevard) Atlanta, GA 30312 www.thesoundtable.com