Dinner at Floataway Cafe
This weekend I got to check out Floataway Café with our friends John and Lisa, a restaurant that I’ve been eager to try for the awhile. Owned by Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison, the people that also own Bacchanalia, Floataway Café offers delicious food at a more affordable price and more casual atmosphere. You definitely wouldn’t describe Floataway as ‘centrally located’ to anything really, but it is near Emory University, on Zonolite Road, off of Briarcliff. While we had a bit of difficulty finding this restaurant, located in a restored warehouse, once we were inside, we had a wonderful dining experience, ranking Floataway as one of my top meals in Atlanta thus far. Not only was the food delicious but they get five stars in the ‘gluten-free friendly’ category.
Fortunately we made reservations in advance because Floataway turned out to be very busy when we arrived. We waited for about ten minutes in the bar area for our table but the chairs were comfy so I didn’t really notice the wait. (So much better than standing in a hallway to wait for a table like a lot of restaurants!) The décor in Floataway reminded me of Bacchanalia, with tall ceilings and drapery. Quatrano can amazingly transform a warehouse into a beautiful dining room. Our table was tucked in the back in its own little area surrounded by curtains. I’m usually distracted by other diners but we were secluded, yet could still feel the bustle of the restaurant. It seems that the management realized early on that noise would be an issue because of the space, so much of the decoration was put into place to combat the noise. I didn’t find sound to be an issue at all so problem solved.
The menu at Floataway is only one page but I did not feel limited in my options. Our wonderful waitress was very knowledgeable and particularly conscientious about relaying information between the kitchen and me. She even asked me if I could have specific vinegars and served nuts on the side of my salad because they used corn starch and just wanted to be careful. It amazed me that the chef was so attentive to my dietary needs, particularly on such a busy night. Sometimes at nice restaurants, the chef thinks he/she knows everything about food and doesn’t ask any questions because the chef thinks he knows all of the answers. I felt very confident in the food that I was served, even on a busy Saturday night.
Every aspect of my meal at Floataway was delicious, filling and fresh. The menu changes every day so they make the most of local and seasonal ingredients. David and I split the ‘Elijay apple salad with arugula and cheddar.’ The dressing went perfectly with the flavor combinations and the salad wasn’t overdressed and soggy either. For the main course, David and I each ordered gluten-free dinners that we shared. I love getting to share with others, which is often a rarity for me when dining out. I chose the quail with wood oven roasted Bartlett pears and balsamic. This was my first experience trying quail (with the encouragement of our waitress) and it was so good. I don’t think I will ever prepare quail in my own kitchen, so this was a great opportunity to try it. I love combining the flavors of pears and balsamic too which went well with the smoky flavor of the quail. I enjoyed every bite of my portion.
David ordered the oven roasted Springer Mountain chicken for his entrée. Normally this dish comes with a warm bread salad (obviously full of gluten), but for us they substituted roasted vegetables. Normally I don’t order chicken at a restaurant but we had eyed this plate on someone else’s table and it looked incredible. (It tasted as good as it looked.) I take pride in my own roasted vegetables but these were strong competition. The cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and carrots that accompanied our chicken were perfectly cooked and seasoned. They were tender and seemed to melt into the rest of the meal while maintaining their own distinct color and flavor. Of course David let me eat more than my share of the veggies.
After such an extravagant meal, I usually abstain from dessert, especially since I usually am limited to a scoop of ice cream or a creme brulee. (I’m sorry but I just have trouble getting excited about crème brule.) The waitress told us that the gateau victoire with chantilly cream is entirely gluten-free. She even double checked with the pastry chef because at Star Provisions, they dust it with flour, but at Floataway, no flour is used. I ordered the cake with a cup of coffee and what a great decision. Part of why I loved this cake so much was because it didn’t taste as dense as your typical ‘flourless chocolate cake.’ It actually tasted more like cake than a huge hunk of chocolate. I highly recommend saving room for this tasty treat when you check out Floataway. If only Star Provisions could make their gateau totally gluten-free!
Overall, a successful evening with delicious food. We had a great time with friends and did not feel rushed through our meal at all, even though the restaurant was busy. You should definitely visit Floataway Café, even if you’re not planning on being in the neighborhood!
Floataway Cafe – 1123 Zonolite Rd. NE – Atlanta, GA 30306 – 404.892.1414