Did you know Nikolai’s has been around for 38 years?! That is an eternity in restaurant world! Nikolai’s used to be known as a white glove service/jacket required establishment that your parents or grandparents may have dined at on a very special occasion. (Meg’s fabulous MIL actually celebrated her 40th birthday with a group of friends a few years ago!)
Now, after an extensive renovation, Nikolai’s is offering a more casual, yet sophisticated modern dining experience. I still wouldn’t show up in jeans and a t-shirt, but all the fuss of jacket and tie is no longer necessary. That doesn’t mean that the atmosphere is anything less than beautiful. With the stunning city skyline as a backdrop, the table linens, serving ware, dinnerware and even silverware have gotten an update to match.
Chef Stephanie Alderete and General Manager Daniel Rudiger pulled out all the stops on our 4-course meal. We started out with vodka shooters. No really, we did! But, they were very refined vodka shooters featuring their in-house flavored vodkas in the prettiest little sipping glasses. Now that is the way to start a meal! Naz Dorovje! (“To Your Health” as the Russians say.) Our waiter couldn’t have been more friendly and helpful with menu recommendations in addition to giving us some history of the restaurant.
Between the four of us, we tried most items on the menu and the conversation came to a halt at the start of each course as we each dug in and “focused” on our dishes. My personal favorite was the Seared Foie Gras (and foie gras is apparently Chef Stephanie’s favorite ingredient to cook with!) and Brian was in heaven with the traditional Russian dish of Red Beet & Beef Borscht Consommé. Meg’s Chilled Coconut Milk & Sweet Potato Bisque was so good she almost didn’t let me have a taste and Barrett’s Seared Beef Tenderloin was cooked to perfection.
Our waiter explained that Chef Stephanie’s menu consists of European-influenced modern American cuisine with a mix of seasonal, creative dishes alongside signature Russian favorites. Every course brought out was even better than the last and be sure NOT to skip out on the dessert course. I had a chocolate mousse that was to.die.for., and we were also treated to flourless chocolate cake for Meg’s birthday!
If you are looking for a restaurant to host a celebration over the holidays or any time of year, be sure to check out Nikolai’s. The service, cuisine, view and historical significance can’t be beat anywhere else in Atlanta (and that’s saying A LOT from this Atlanta foodie!)
Thanks for hosting us Nikolai’s! Although our food was free, the opinions are all ours and we already have plans to visit again to celebrate the holidays with family!