Mission + Market – Atlanta, GA

Mission + Market was a “double-find”, for me, in the same week: first I saw it appear on the Eater.com Atlanta “hot list” and then, one of my friends, who lives in Buckhead, was telling me about a great new place that had opened in his neighborhood.  When we were making in-town dinner plans with one of our daughters, M+M was the natural choice.  The restaurant, which has been open since March, is a light and airy space, whose design matched the menu – light and airy, in a California dining kind of way.  On the Saturday when we went, it was raining pretty heavily most of the afternoon and we beat our dinner companions there.  We ordered some hummus to take the edge off an afternoon of waiting for dinner.

The hummus, which was served with fancy crudités and grilled eggplant, was standout.  So many times, when you order hummus in a restaurant you end up thinking, “that was okay, but…”  This was so much better than that – the grilled eggplant in the center, along with the fancily cut veggies, atop pita bread that was still warm from the grill, was excellent.  We actually had a second pita arrive later, also hot from the grill, to scrape clean the bottom of the bowl.  That hot grilled pita could quickly become addictive.

We were so excited about dinner, after we finally decided what we wanted, that we forgot to order the salad we had all been talking about, until our food was almost ready to arrive.  But that didn’t deter us from ordering the watermelon and bufalo mozzarella salad – to share for the table, the next time we saw our server.

Tossed with a little olive oil, vino cotto, mint and basil, it was like a caprese, but with watermelon replacing the tomatoes.  The tastes, together, made for a unique bite, with the right touch of sweet and sour.  But it was, in my opinion, light on the mozzarella.  For dinner, our daughter, after a recommendation from one of the servers, ordered

a braised brisket flatbread, with caramelized sweet onions, peppered avocado and mozzarella.  The brisket was lean and full of flavor.  The sweet of the onions and spicy of the avocado mixed to make for a unique pizza, and one of which  we all enjoyed a taste.  Our son-in-law went with the market burger,

cooked to a perfect medium.  It was topped with American cheese, M+M Sauce (like a thousand island), lettuce, dill pickles and the reddest tomatoes I’ve seen this summer.  When I asked about them, he said that the tomato tasted “like ketchup, in the best possible way”.  The fries, which were listed as “Old School”, but were NOT cooked in tallow, were a hit as well.  It was a good looking burger. 

Every review that I’ve seen of M+M mentioned the seared black sea bass, and my beloved went with that.

I was actually please when she ordered it, because it freed me up to order something else.  Served with a beet raita, roasted vegetables and shaved fennel, it was an elegant plate.  The first bite of the raita (an Indian condiment made of curd and beet) had her encouraging us all to take a bite.  The tartness of the curd and the sweetness of the beet mixed perfectly.  The sea bass was a little on the done side, but was full of flavor.

I went with the charred albacore tuna.  I was really leaning toward one of the pastas (the rigatoni was charming me), but made a last minute turn to fish.

It was served with chilled rice noodles and green papaya, tossed in a ginger soy dressing.  It was not a pretty plate – the tuna was a pale grey and the noodles didn’t add much color to the overall look, but I’ll say that it was some of the tastiest tuna that I’ve had in quite a while.  In its defense, albacore doesn’t have the innate pinkness of ahi, but the flavor was exceptional, without being overly fishy.  The chilled rice noodles were okay, but I would have likely enjoyed another base better.   When it was time for dessert, across the table they ordered the cocoa bread pudding, with Nutella ice cream.

When it arrived at the table, you can see that the sauce was bubbling in the photo, but it doesn’t do it justice.  It was eaten so quickly that the sauce was still bubbling when the last spoonful was taken!  They thoroughly enjoyed it, and offered to share – but knowing that I don’t like chocolate, they knew they were safe.  But they said it was delicious.  My beloved went with the chocolate tort, served with peanut butter ice cream.

Again, she offered a bite to me, knowing it was safe, but said that there was so much chocolate that she couldn’t finish it. 

The meal was both well executed and fairly priced, for Buckhead.  Our server, Greg, was the perfect balance of attentive and invisible – a fine line that he walked perfectly.  So glad that we chose Mission + Market for our recent “big night out”.

 

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