Just past the first-year mark, Atticus seems to be settling into its space and discovering what the kitchen is best at. In a family neighborhood scattered with college students, you’re not quite sure what to expect upon entering, but the welcoming atmosphere will lure you in regardless. Their menu has a definite Latin flair, but still offers variety, and nearly half the menu is vegetarian. No doubt we had to try more than one dish, so with guidance from our server, we landed on the Brie hot pot and the risotto.
Bright and vibrant in color, the risotto is subtle and savory. It's not as sweet as you might expect for having a carrot base, and a black-garlic vinaigrette makes the dish stand out from ordinary Italian rice dishes. Circling the risotto around the rim of the bowl, the vinaigrette adds just enough tangy kick every few bites, but not so much that it overwhelms your tastebuds. The cooked carrots that accompany the pea shoots and lay atop the risotto are the sweetest bites you’ll get. Overall, the dish is quite hearty and goes well with the bread stolen from the Brie plate.
The Brie is something else, melted in a small cast-iron pot with mushroom duxelle and accompanied by slices of bread, apples, sautéed onions and marmalade. The accoutrements are chosen wisely and allow you to customize and change the flavor of each bite. What’s better than melted Brie? Oh, mushrooms sautéed in lots of butter and then added to the Brie.
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Both dishes go well together, and the Brie is a great shared appetizer, but if you’re not above an all-cheese dinner and the person you’re eating with won't judge you for consuming a small pot of melted cheese as your meal, then go for it. After all, it’s a mini-cauldron of melted Brie; how much convincing do you really need?
It seems Atticus is getting in the swing of things. Cozy and rustic, the design and aesthetics throughout are attractive, with a few eye-catchers, but not overdone. The menu is not huge, yet has variety and options for almost any diet. And the general vibe is very easygoing. It’s a great place to catch up with a friend, or for an intimate date. We're happy to report that Atticus seems to have gotten word out to a rapidly growing vegetarian crowd and that the meatless options might be one of the eatery's true strengths.