Restaurant Spotlight White Oak Kitchen Cocktails

The Southern dining experience is something that Atlantans not only know quite well, it's something that they often expect when deciding to dine out. It's because of this familiarity with the cuisine, that new restaurants specializing in southern cooking are in for initial skepticism and harsh critique if the food fails to live up to expectations. Conveniently located right in the heart of downtown Atlanta, White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails has a lot to live up to by referring the restaurant as "Downtown Atlanta's Contemporary Dining Experience."

This boastful claim could be a good thing however, if the food at this new restaurant lives up to hype that precedes it. Venturing inside the space at White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails, you are greeted with a shabby chic version of medium brown wood paneling and tables, which bring about an old southern flair. Meanwhile the contemporary light fixtures, design accents and overall floor plan, speak to a modern southern sensibility. Combined these elements speak to southern contemporary description that White Oak prides itself on. The bustling view of Peachtree Street, only adds to the ambiance. Make no mistake about it though, it's all about the food here and the menu is definitely tempting and worth at least a first try.

Executive Ben Vaughn has successfully crafted a menu that is equal parts down home comfort food and upscale fine dining, fare worthy of those with even the most elevated palate. Some of the menu items that should be sampled right away include: Fried Chicken (muddy rice, black pepper pan gravy, Fleur de Sel potato chips), Shrimp (jumbo white shrimp, shaved mirliton, green papaya, baby butter Bibb, grapefruit, Tupelo honey emulsion), Beaufort Stew (roasted prawns, homemade Andouille, fingerling potatoes, hominy, smoked pork belly brood) and lastly the Snapper, which contains virgin snapper, Carolina Gold hoppin' John, wilted kale, warm tomato and artichoke vinaigrette. While other desserts are offered, it's the decadent cakes here that really make a lasting impression.

The Caramel Cake, Double Chocolate Cake and the Red Velvet 4-Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting simply scratch the surface of what sweet treats are to come. The drink menu features an impressive list of draft beer all from Georgia. There are also several signature cocktails that celebrate the southern influence of not only the location of the restaurant, but the food inside as well. White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails is located at 270 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, 404-524-7200. Operating hours are: Lunch 11:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; Dinner 4 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. Mondays-Sundays. For more information visit . For more information about the author, Danielle Jennings, please visit my Google+ profile page.