Tonight’s date starts in Midtown and ends in Motown. Join us for dinner and a show. We start things off early because when you live in Marietta, you have to give yourself almost an hour to get downtown these days. Some people think that growth is good for Atlanta. I think they should be forced to sit in bad traffic every day. Anyway, Ecco doesn’t open until 5:30, so why not go someplace close for some beers? We park near the Fox and walk over to Cypress Street Pint & Plate (you can read our full review from an earlier visit here) for pretzels and beer.
They have a good beer list here. It’s August when we visit. Is it too early for Oktoberfest beers?
Apparently, it is not. We both order the Highland Claw Hammer Oktoberfest. We haven’t had this style beer all year, and it’s excellent. You would think you were drinking a German beer, but it’s made in Asheville. Nice job, Highland Brewing Company.
We like Cypress’ take on pretzels, because that’s what you eat with Oktoberfest beer.
No twisting required with this pretzel “loaf”. It comes with two dipping sauces, a mild fondue cheese sauce and a sassy, spicy mustard sauce. It goes great with our beers. Both are enjoyed during a torrential summer downpour.
It eventually stops raining, and it’s time for our early reservation at Ecco. In New York they eat after the theater. In Atlanta, we eat before and we are not alone.
Ecco is a beautiful re-purposing of an old fifties-style industrial building. The Fifth Group spent a lot of bucks refurbishing the place. There is a large bar near the host area that looks like it gets quite busy.
Behind the bar is the dining area.
Are all of the people here going to the theater as well? Perhaps. The main attraction of the dining room is the busy, open kitchen, which spans the entire length of the restaurant.
The kitchen has a star too, a wood-fired oven.
We get lucky and are shown to a table with the perfect view of the kitchen and the oven.
Let’s see what’s cooking.
The menu is very Italian, with wood-fired pizzas (no surprise with that oven), pastas, and many charcutiere meats that you can’t pronounce either. Italian food means Italian wine for us.
The Nippozano chianti should go great with our meal. The pre-meal bread comes off of these gorgeous loaves near the kitchen.
We could have eaten a lot of this, but try to control ourselves for the dinner ahead.
After seeing the oven, we must order something that comes from it.
How about a wood-fired pizza? This one is a margharita-like pizza with house-made mozzarella and basil. It’s more like a flatbread, and you can’t tell from the photo that it’s rectangular in shape. The oven does a good job on the crunchy crust and we enjoy our pizza.
How about some pasta? They make it right here.
We order the spaghetti ala Torchio, which features corn, summer squash and basil. We are vegetarians tonight and we don’t even realize it. It’s not a huge plate of food, but it’s enough for us to get a good taste. The pasta is excellent and this dish does not last long.
Somehow we have room for dessert tonight. Or do we still have an hour before the show? Either way, we order the almond brioche.
That’s almond ice cream in there with a delicious brioche. You can taste the almond paste in there, which is one of my favorite dessert flavorings. It’s a great ending for our meal at Ecco.
How was the show?
Motown was fantastic. The cast was energetic, the crowd was into it and there were snippets from over 65 songs during the two hours of music. Maybe it was too much of an ode to Barry Gordy (he wrote and produced the show), but a good time was had by everyone in the theater.
The bottom line on Ecco: It’s the place Atlanta goes before the show. They are open late, so you could go after the show as well. With food this good, Atlanta should go here all the time. Although we wound up eating vegetarian, the pork chops and steaks coming out of the kitchen looked so good that we were sorry that we didn’t sample something from that part of the menu. That will give us something to try on our next visit.
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[…] Best place we ate all year: You really think we can pick one? Restaurants that stood out were Mezza Luna, Bistro Niko, Stem Wine Bar, and Ecco. […]