First Bite is Approval at Restaurant No. 246

On the way to brunch Sunday afternoon we walked past the huge windows of  No. 246  and noticed people sitting inside. It was the 5th day of operation for this much-awaited restaurant in the former Eurasia space. There was no brunch menu (maybe in the future we were told) but the lunch menu was interesting enough to entice us to stay. The space is attractive, bright, and welcoming — hip even, and completely transformed from the previous darkness. An open kitchen, stacks of wood for the oven, and a lovely reclaimed wood floor add touches of warmth that offset the bright whiteness of the walls and the sleekness of the decor. Eventhough the name “No. 246” and the hipster vibe seem a bit impersonal, the staff is friendly enough and the food is comforting, creative, and well done. I did get a glimpse of Chef Drew Belline working the dishes coming from the kitchen.   

 

Back to the first bite – yummy. We were starving so we quickly ordered the first thing on the menu for munching while we evaluated the rest of the offerings. Our “Toasts” came quickly and they were just what we needed. I love to eat this way – small flavorful bites, with each bite being wonderfully different. The “toasts” consist of bits of rustic bread toasted with olive oil and accompanied by a spread(s) of your choice. There were 5 choices – we ordered three. The pot of homemade ricotta spread with chanterelles and lemon was creamy and refreshing, the pork rillettes were meaty and satisfying, and roasted eggplant and chilies tickled my tongue.  

 

 

Half-devoured pork rillettes toasts

 

From the lunch selection of salads, sandwiches, pizzas, pastas and larger plates, we settled on two sandwiches from the five listed. The crispy chicken paillard with lemony dressing and the tomato/mozzarella/basil/prosciutto sandwich were served on good focaccia and come with a choice of salad or garlicy fries. Both sides were so good we ate those even before we dug into the sandwiches. When we finally got to the generous sandwiches they were tasty and satisfying. 

 

Layla’s backyard tomato sandwich with fresh mozzarella, basil, and prosciutto.

 

Although we had food left over to get boxed up for a snack a home, we couldn’t resist ordering dessert. The blueberry croustade was rich but not too sweet. The blackberry ice cream was definitely home made — I didn’t ask, but you could tell.

I snagged a dinner menu in anticipation of my next visit. The setup and choices seem much like the lunch menu. You can start with “Toasts” to share or choose from a selection of meat and cheeses. These would be great for munching on at the inviting bar with a glass of good wine. The category “To Start” includes a nice selection of salads, a soup, and a $5.00 meatball. No sandwiches for the dinner hour, but they do have a list of five pizzas and four pastas. The “Plates” list has three fish choices, chicken, steak, and pork sausage– explaining how they are cooked, sauced, and accompanied. Being the type of restaurant it is, I get the impression that the menu will change with the season and/or the inspiration of the chef.

 I can’t wait to try more.

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About mickeybaskett

It wouldn’t be prudent to disclose the number of years Mickey Baskett has been writing, editing, and producing art, craft, and lifestyle do-it-yourself books -- just know that she was intimately involved with Mac-rame in the day. The beginning of her love affair with food started when she was nine years old and manifested itself in the form of a casserole. Her published cookbook, Gourmet Garnishes, is proof of that long and loving relationship. The constantly evolving food scene in Decatur is fodder for her musings.
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