I thought Revolution Doughnuts was difficult to find, but TWO urban licks brings “hidden gem” to a whole new level.
My cousin Tim,whom I last visited in Sugarland (isn’t that a fabulous city name? I wish I had come up with it) in elementary school, happened to be in Atlanta for a few days on a business trip right when I returned from Wisconsin. My dad had driven down to Atlanta with me for a mini vacation and we decided to meet up for dinner with Tim. I wanted to try someplace new, so I combed the internet and grilled fellow Atlantians. I had my choices narrowed down to TWO urban licks and Empire State South, but in the end, I chose TWO urban licks for their slightly lower prices, strong recommendations, and my $10 off any Concentrics Restaurant coupon.
We picked up Tim from his hotel in Midtown and I confidently entered TWO urban licks’s address into my GPS. After a short drive, my GPS pipes, “Arriving at destination, on right!” I looked and to my right stood a huge, plain building with a sign advertising yoga. I pulled over to the side and swiveled around. Nothing. Wondering if we had somehow passed it, I did a U-Turn and slowly drove back. My dad noticed a tiny sign on the ground at the entrance of the Yoga/warehouse parking lot. I stopped and read it: “TWO urban licks.” The arrow pointed into the lot.
Wondering if it was a trap, I turned into the parking lot and proceeded to follow a series of small signs, each one directing me further and further into the lot and its twists and turns. The final sign directed me uphill to an overhang where, to my relief, I saw people. I drove up and an efficient team of valet parkers directed me where to stop. One opened the door for me, handed me a ticket, and whisked away in my car. There still weren’t any signs, but we saw some people come out of a large door and presumed that it led to the restaurant. We went in, walked down a short passageway, and stepped through another door into another world.
The slightly dim enclosure boasted incredibly high ceilings and a high energy atmosphere. I had made a reservation and the hostess immediately led us to a table. I gawked at the gorgeous open kitchen, sitting smack dab in the middle of the restaurant, as we walked past. A few minutes after we sat down, the far wall, composed entirely of garage doors, opened up to offer us some fresh evening air paired with a beautiful view of Midtown.
Our waiter, a slightly older gentleman, stopped by to welcome us. The bustling restaurant had taken its toll on him, for his voice was slightly strained and hoarse. Regardless, the good man continued to speak above the noise throughout our meal. He explained how they served some wines by the glass from barrels and printed their menus daily to feature the freshest ingredients possible.
I tried the White Peach Sangria, which he recommended for those who liked sweeter drinks. To my disappointment, I couldn’t really taste the peach flavor and it wasn’t as sweet as I had hoped. My dad and Tim both ordered draught beers, which they seemed to enjoy. We started off with an appetizer of shaved calamari, which were, as our server put it, “unlike any other calamari found in Atlanta.”Different does not equate to heart-stopping delicious. Indeed, the calamari, drizzled with a wasabi aioli and a sweet & sour sauce, while hot and crisp, was unlike other calamari I’ve tried before. However, I’ve had tastier calamari elsewhere and probably wouldn’t order it here again.
Our entrees were a very different story. Both my dad and Tim ordered the bistro steak, served with yellow corn chimichurri and mashed potatoes, and it was love at first bite for both. I stole a few bites of the filet mignon and was surprised at how tender and flavorful the meat was.
I ordered the opah, which our server described as a type of Hawaiian fish that tasted like a cross between swordfish and tuna. I had never even heard of it before and was excited to try it. I had eaten tuna, but couldn’t recall whether or not I’ve tried swordfish, and expected the opah to be really meaty and almost steak-like. Thus, when it arrived, its delicate texture completely surprised me. Served with lobster broth and sweet peas, the opah tasted wonderfully sweet and fragrant. However, after a few more bites, I found the flavor to be a bit one-note and couldn’t continue eating it.
My dad refused to surrender and managed to polish off his entire entree, resulting in no space for dessert in his stomach and more dessert for Tim and me, both huge dessert people who had wisely saved room for sweets. We shared the popcorn sundae and rum-soaked raisin bread pudding. The sundae, composed of housemade popcorn ice cream layered with housemade cracker jack and salted caramel, had a lovely balance between sweet and salty.
The warm bread pudding, paired with housemade brown sugar ice cream, provided a satisfying combination of hot, cold, and sweet. My only complaint was that the proportion of ice cream to bread pudding was off – too much bread pudding and too little ice cream. However, it was a wonderfully guilty end to a fabulous meal.
On our way out, I noticed that all the tables had some fresh bread. Despite being completely stuffed, as a carb lover, I was both disappointed and irritated that we hadn’t been offered any. It was also then that I (rather belatedly) remembered my $10 off coupon.
I loved the restaurant’s high energy, open kitchen, and tasty food. My dad and Tim both agreed to come back the next time they’re in town. Lucky me: I live in Atlanta, for the timebeing and I will definitely return to TWO urban licks (coupon in hand:)). Hopefully I won’t have trouble finding it the second time, although proper signage by the street would definitely be recommended.
TWO urban licks
820 Ralph McGill Blvd
Atlanta, GA 30306