Buckhead has welcomed a new restaurant that brings together the flavors and inspirations of the legendary Silk Road. Tantra Restaurant and Bar takes your senses on a journey along the historical trading route that stretched from Asia, through the Mediterranean, southern Europe and into Spain. The richness and of the flavors and cultures is evident in the atmosphere of Tantra – from the decor to the food to the inventive menu of signature cocktails.
We started the evening with a couple of cocktails at the sleek, polished concrete bar that anchors the front of the restaurant. My husband tried a traditional Manhattan; I opted for one of Tantra’s signature cocktails, the Exuding, a tasty and refreshing mix of Michael Collins Irish whiskey, St. Germaine liqueur, and bitters. The menu of Tantra’s special cocktails has a number of tempting choices, with names ranging from sexy to sexier, like Ladies Aphrodisiac (Sakiri vodka, raspberry nectar and cucumber), Forbidden Fruit (Ketel One vodka and apple puree), Sensual Chocolate (Chocolate 360 vodka and Dutch Raspberry Choco Vino), and Tantric (Sapphire Gin, St. Germaine liqueur, thyme and lime juice).
The appetizers were an easy choice for us – we split the Hummus Tasting platter, which features three different flavors of housemade hummus: edamame, chickpea, and truffle. The hummus is served with warm, soft Naan bread for dipping and is a light and perfect starter. For a heartier hummus, you may want to try the Hummus Tahini and Sauteed Lamb starter, with extra virgin olive oil, pimenton, and pine nuts, also served with warm Naan. We also sampled the Oysters on the Half Shell – after all, what’s sexier than oysters? The regular order is a half dozen (below, only three are pictured) and is served with three different sauces: wasabi ponzu, pink peppercorn mignonette, and cilantro chutney (the wasabi ponzu and the cilantro chutney were my favorites).
In a moment of pure decadence, I also had the Seared Foie Gras, served with spiced apple chutney, toasted brioche, and saffron-ginger gelee. The pairing of the spiced apple chutney with the foie gras was, plain and simple, luxury defined. Though not normally a fan of foie gras, even my hubby enjoyed a few bites.
When it was time to order our entrees, the choosing was a little more difficult. A number of seafood selections looked perfect for a hot summer evening, like Basil Caramelized Scallops or Chili-Seared Yellowfin Tuna; the chicken dish – Ashley Farms Chicken Breast served with potato crusted Basmati rice, sauteed okra and almond curry sauce – made my mouth water; even the vegetarian dish – Vegetarian Okra and Paneer Koresh with potato crusted Basmati rice and charred tomato sauce – was a temptation for me.
However, I ended up with the Walnut Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs (I’m a sucker for short ribs, and these were well worth it), and my hubby actually surprised me by foregoing his usual choice of lamb and opting for the Grilled Elk Filet. Paired with glasses of red wine, we toasted an evening of delicious food and excellent service. Both were perfect choices, especially given the lighter style of the starters we’d chosen. With no shortage of tempting entrees, there is definitely reason for us to return in the near future.
Often ignored or an afterthought at best, I have to mention the greens. At the urging of our server, we ordered a side of the Ginger-Soy Braised Greens, a combination of collard and mustard greens in a soy-ginger sauce. I am a huge fan of greens, so it didn’t take much convincing. It was one of my favorite dishes of the night. The chef has apparently heard this before, because when we told him, he laughed and said, “Even after the foie gras and the short ribs?” Absolutely. I highly recommend them – even if you’re not normally a fan of greens.
Just when we thought we couldn’t eat another bite, dessert arrived. Not usually a fan of anything with white chocolate, I was a little dismayed when our server brought out the house specialty, Warm White Chocolate Cake. However, the freshness of the berries (I’m also a sucker for plump, juicy summer berries) and the subtle flavors of the housemade vanilla-lavender ice cream changed my mind and (almost) all thoughts of the Cardamom Panna Cotta that I would’ve ordered went right out the window. There’s always next time…
Tantra Restaurant and Bar is, I think, a versatile addition to the Buckhead scene: think of it for a fun girls’ night, a romantic date night, a casual night with friends. Go there for before-dinner drinks, for tapas and cocktails, or for a full-fledged multi-course meal. Valet parking is complimentary and convenient (though during high traffic times, it can get backed up quickly and be a little bit of a headache). It is, all in all, a restaurant I’d love to see stick around for the long haul.
Full disclosure: Tantra Restaurant and Bar graciously hosted us for dinner and a portion of our bill for was comped by the house However, all opinions expressed here are my own.