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Fayetteville is no longer just a college town with a limited food scene to match. Newly minted as the second-largest city in Arkansas, the home of the hogs has now become a burgeoning food town with an eclectic mix of restaurants.
Case in point is Atlas The Restaurant, the white tablecloth, upscale eatery whose mission is to take you on a culinary journey. It is a soothing setting in a revamped historical building with exposed brick throughout the dining room accented by black and gold colors. The bar, which is located right as you walk through the front door, is a place you’ll want to relax for an hour or five while partaking in one of the restaurant’s signature cocktails.
The food is both beautiful and delicious, as illustrated by my recent Sunday evening dinner with my daughter. First things first, this place is not cheap. Expect entrees to run in the $30-$40 range, as is typically the case for menus with such technical execution. There is a noticeable focus on local ingredients, especially during this time of year, as was the case with our Heirloom Tomato Salad appetizer. Large cubes of juicy, sweet watermelon complemented the acidic cherry tomatoes. The Marcona almonds provided just the right amount of crunch to this perfect summertime meal starter. Another appetizer, the Maine Diver Scallops, ate more like an entrée, thanks to the trio of perfectly seared scallops. Bits of smokey bacon were a nice touch, as was the tarragon beurre blanc… because, well, butter.
My daughter ordered the pork chop. Cooked just right, the interior of the chop had a hint of pink to go along with grill marks that me a little envious. If only I could achieve such markings with my outdoor grilling at home. A man can dream.
My duck breast was every bit as impressive. Medium-rare with crispy skin, the protein resided on a plate with orange-scented farro, pickled apple, squash, zucchini, and a Luxardo cherry reduction. Heck, there was even a handful of English peas, which I typically dislike, but the chefs at Atlas made me a believer.
In fact, this restaurant made me a believer. Atlas will thrive in Fayetteville, especially after we inch past a global pandemic that continues to challenge fine dining restaurants across the country. If the staff can execute food and service on a nightly basis like what we received, I see no reason why success and accolades won’t follow.
Atlas is not only a welcome addition to Fayetteville’s food community, but also the state of Arkansas. I wish we had saved a little room for dessert. The turmeric cheesecake with rose-infused honeycomb will have to wait until next time. See? I told you this place was fancy. Just be sure to make reservations so you can find out for yourself.
Atlas The Restaurant
208 N Block (Fayetteville)
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 5 p.m.-9 p.m; Closed Monday & Tuesday
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