Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sugo, Sugo, Sugo!

This past Thursday evening, a group of us from work decided to meet for P-Council. The Council has been off schedule as of late, due primarily to the holidays and a fairly heavy year-end workload. After some deliberation, we chose Sugo as our meeting place. Sugo is a family-owned restaurant with three locations in the Atlanta area, and our friend Tim, having visited there often, highly recommended it. Since Tim has dined all over the world, we trust him.

When I arrived at the bar, our friend Keith was already there. I ordered a grapefruit cosmopolitan, an interesting twist on one of my favorite martinis, and was impressed by the lightly tonic quality combined with a tasty cosmopolitan base. Tim arrived shortly, and since he was a regular, we were soon visited by the son of the owner, who provided a brief overview of the family history.

It seems that somewhere back along the line, Greek and Italian families came together and started combining elements of both cuisines. Several family restaurants were opened in the Northeast, and in the Nineties, the family decided to bring the business to Atlanta. It is obvious that these people know their food. But not only that, they also know how to serve guests and make them feel truly welcome.

After spending a few minutes at the bar's comfortably appointed lounge area, we were shown to a table, and then the true treat began. The owner came to our table, introduced himself, began to tell us a little more about the family history, and then launched into a prosaic description of the dishes being featured that evening. By the time he had finished, we were in awe. Every ingredient and sauce was described in detail, and it became something of a task to decide between all the wonderful alternatives.

I chose a dish called Pernice's Chicken. Heavens above...I have never eaten anything like this. Allow me to lift the description from the menu, because I cannot do it justice otherwise:

"Pernice's Chicken - Dressed with a touch of tomato basil sauce, Prosciutto di Parma ham, caramelized onions, dates, spinach, pecorino romano, and provolone cheese. Served atop basil and black pepper papparadelle pasta tossed with roasted parsnips, caramelized radishes, figs, cherry tomatoes, cremini, portabello, and oyster mushrooms."

Not only was the food superb, the service was phenomenal. The owner's son stopped by as we were dining to check on us, and our server, a very pleasant and hospitable young lady, dropped back over to our table several times to discuss the food and to tell us a little about herself. An enterprising art student, she has great plans for her future. I hope to see her work in a gallery someday!

In Atlanta, we have many restaurants that try so hard to provide the "ultimate dining experience", and every once in a while, we find a true gem. Sugo is one of those. Our entire visit was so much more than just a dinner. It was like being welcomed into a family's home to dine with them. This restaurant is so "with it" that it even features its own blog entitled "A Day in the Life of a Family Run Restaurant".

Hats off to this wonderful establishment. I cannot say enough good things about Sugo.