Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Palate-Decatur, GA

April 23, 2010. Palate-Decatur, GA. Palate is a delightful cafe and bar in the Oakhurst neighborhood of Decatur. Their outdoor patio looks out over the street and is very relaxing.

FOOD (24 OUT OF 25)

We started our meal with bruschetta. It was served with fresh garden tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, and mozzarella cheese. Oftentimes, the tomato juice can make the bread squishy, but this bread was delightfully toasty and crunchy!

For our main course, we had one entree each. One was maple-grilled salmon with lima bean and black-eyed pea garnish and garlic smashed potatoes. The second was meatloaf, served with herb buttered green beans and garlic smashed potatoes with an added side of macaroni and cheese. The meals were both excellent! The salmon was cooked just right and the maple grill seasoning was not too overpowering, but it was noticeable. The mashed potatoes were delicious! As someone who is not usually a fan of lima beans, we both very much enjoyed the garnish! The meatloaf was also very well-prepared, but it was covered in a ketchup-based red sauce that was a bit overpowering. The macaroni and cheese was among the best we've had!

We also ordered two glasses of wine. With the salmon, we had the California Cellars 2004 chardonnay and with the meatloaf, we had a Duck Pond Merlot from Washington state. They were both very good matches!


The restaurant is very nice, but the patio could have been a bit better-kept. There were lovely trees that overhung the patio, but that meant that the patio was in need of a good sweep! When the server arrived at the table, he brought two glasses and an old wine bottle full of water. The effect was very appealing! The interior dining conditions also looked very nice.


The biggest problem with the service was getting a table. The restaurant was very near empty when we arrived, yet nobody was at the door or at the bar to greet us. Finally, a cook walked out of the kitchen and handed us some menus and told us to have a seat anywhere we liked. It appeared that two servers and two cooks were working that evening. This was simply not adequate for a Friday night!

COST (25 OUT OF 25)

For an appetizer, two entrees, and two very good glasses of wine, we spent about $50. The most expensive dish on the menu was under $15 and there is something there for everyone. The wine, which is the signature offering of Palate, is organized into four tiers. Tier one is the cheapest and tier four is the most expensive. Most of the wine is imported.

FINAL SCORE 93/A Exceptional

Palate has immediately left an impression on us and it will surely become a regular hot spot for us as we settle into Decatur. We were in disbelief at the cost versus the quality! We will certainly be back often!

Visit Palate on the web at

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cafe Lily-Decatur, GA

Recently, we visited Cafe Lily in downtown Decatur, Georgia. This small and seemingly informal restaurant is actually a well-known Decatur eatery. The menu offers a multiplicity of options for vegetarians, seafood lovers, and carnivores!

AMBIANCE 19 out of 25 points

Before we begin with our critique of Cafe Lily's ambiance, we'd like to mention that while we did go into the restaurant briefly, we sat outside. We are certain that our critique would have been different, had we sat inside. With that said, however, the outdoor seating was very cramped. Only two planted bushes separated us from the parking lot and the street. Sitting in one of the chairs caused me nearly to tumble backward onto the ground! However, from what we observed, the indoor seating was very pleasant. There were white linen table cloths covering the tables with complementing linen napkins. The water goblets and plates were also very tastefully decorated, as was the decor on the inside of the restaurant.

We were given menus for wine, specialty cocktails, and dinner. However, the menus did appear a bit soiled.

SERVICE 23 out of 25 points

Our server was quite friendly and saw to it that we were well taken care of! She was quick to offer suggestions, ask about our food once we received it, and was happy to return an unsatisfactory serving of mashed potatoes to the kitchen. She was present when necessary and absent when necessary. We were quite satisfied.

FOOD 17 out of 25 points

The food was costly for what we were served. Both of us had a chicken dish, but after we were served, we realized that we could have very easily made both dishes at home for a fraction of the cost. While the food was good, we were looking for a culinary experience that was a treat for us. We were satisfied by the food, but not impressed.

COST 18 out of 25 points

We ordered an appetizer to share and two entrees and our total bill was around $50. When we saw the menu, we immediately began thinking of ways to minimize the cost of the meal, as the entrees were extremely expensive. Instead of ordering what we really wanted, we were forced to order cheaper dishes because of the price.

However, we did feel that the pricing of the drinks and some of the salads and soups were adequate. We feel that dining at Cafe Lily for lunch would also be more cost-effective.

FINAL SCORE 77 out of 100 = C (Adequate)

When all was said and done, we were satisfied with our meal, but not at all impressed with our experience at Cafe Lily. On subsequent visits, we will consider sitting indoors and dining only at lunch.

Visit Cafe Lily on the web at