Sunday, March 30, 2014

First Look: Foundation Social Eatery

A non-chain restaurant? On my side of 400? I may get the vapors.

Foundation is the first solo venture from Chef Mel Toledo, formerly of Bacchanalia and Century House Tavern. While it was originally planned for Inman Park, Toledo has made a smart move by choosing Holcomb Bridge Road for his restaurant. East Roswell is critically underserved by restaurants, especially upscale, non-chain eateries. Also, I learned at the Roswell NEXT restaurant panel last year that while many of the patrons in the Historic District do hail from Alpharetta and east Cobb, there's also a sizable contingent from Norcross and Suwannee driving in. So while Foundation is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Canton street, I think it'll prove to be a smart move in the long run, provided Toledo can maintain the excitement of the opening this week, covered by both the AJC and Eater Atlanta, as well as other news outlets.

Foundation takes over the space vacated by the late, unlamented Twisted Taco. It's been transformed from the dark, nasty faux taqueria into a bright, airy industrial inspired space. Think exposed wood, concrete and rebar used in creative ways. It's softened with artwork inspired by Mel Toledo's orchid tattoo created with more wood and repurposed building supplies. I like the visual pun between "Foundation" the restaurant and the building materials used in unusual ways.

So how about the food? Do east Roswellians have cause for rejoicing? Yes. Yes we do. It's pretty delicious. Let me take you on a tour.

This is a "station #4". It's a nicely balanced cocktail of absinthe, rye whiskey, and bitters. It was refreshing and not too heavy for the meal. 

This was our appetizer. Crispy pork ribs with pickled onions. The ribs were melt in your mouth soft, but crisp on the edges. The house made pickled onion was perfect. The vinegar cut the fattiness and made a very balanced dish. Perfect for sharing. 

This is the braised pork shoulder with apple arugala salad. It was my husband's dinner, so I only ate a bite or two. The pork was beautifully done and the salad pairing keeps it from being heavy. The extra bacon is a little much though. A few more vegetables would have helped the balance. 

I had the home made pasta with lamb bolagnaise. I don't eat much pasta anymore, so this was a really nice treat. The lamb was braised in the sauce and shredded.  Again, a little heavy on the meat, but still  a real nice execution of a classic italian dish. 

My dessert was the olive oil rosemary cake, which I swear tastes better then this picture looks. The cake was much lighter than expected and not too sweet. The sliced oranges and whipped creamed also contributed to the light feel of this dish. A perfect end to a meal. 

Our friends had the chocolate tart with banana brûlée. I love seeing something clever like a caramelized banana on a plate. I had a bite of the tart and it was a very dark chocolate, almost bitter, with a hint of espresso. I dislike coffee flavors intensely, so I didn't like it. But I understand I'm in the minority on this one. Go ahead world, enjoy the one chocolate dessert I don't like. 

Service was attentive without being intrusive. Our server was knowledgeable about many menu items and made recommendations when we looked a little lost. I felt like we were in good hands. 

So what's the verdict? Is this the restaurant east Roswell has been waiting for? I think so. It's a little pricey to go in my regular rotation, but I definitely plan to return. Hopefully my prediction that will attract diners to this side of 400 will pan out and this will stick around for years to come. 

Foundation Social Eatery on Urbanspoon

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