Most are focused on their celebrity-like chefs and the stellar foods that they offer, but there are a few that take the dining experience to a different place - a place where food is more like a celebration of life. One such place is Tantra, located on Peachtree Street in the Brookwood Hills neighborhood in the space that Ibiza once occupied. Taking his experiences from his highly successful hookah lounge, Divan, owner Max Lotfi along with his general manager Laurend Abraham have created a restaurant with an exotic elegance that offers Mediterranean and Indian foods that are infused with mystic flavors of Persian cooking making for a thrilling culinary adventure. The word tantra comes from an ancient yogi practice whose principles are based on expanding the sensuality of one’s world, treasuring all it has to offer. In so many ways, Tantra lives up to its name by infusing a sense of passion into its vibe and menu offerings making for a memorable evening; settle in and enjoy.
The journey starts with the libations that Laurend has assembled which will satisfy any desire. Besides a well thought out beer and wine list, there are alluring cocktails that will tantalize the soul and relax the mind into an almost hypnotic state. The Corazon is a blend of Bacardi Limon Rum, the floral Ty Ku Soju made from the finest barley in Japan, and a puree of passion fruit, pomegranate, and blood orange. If this thirst-quenching citrusy fruit bomb doesn’t steal your heart then the Vanessa or the Gigi certainly will. These are sparkling wine based cocktails that tickle and tease the palate with each sip. The Gigi is made with La Marca Prosecco known for its peach and honeysuckle bouquet, Grand Marnier, and a splash of blood juice puree. After a couple of these lively potions you just may get up and shimmy like the belly dancer you always wanted to be.
Heading up the kitchen is Executive Chef Terry Dwyer (Spice, Mitra, Divan). It is obvious that he has fun in preparing the foods as it shows in both their presentation and captivating flavors. The starters are numerous and each is intriguing in its own way. The arancini-like Risotto and Mushroom Pakoras are coated with a chickpea batter and lightly fried and served with a Persian influenced shallot yogurt that amps up these crispy nibbles. A perfect match to the pakoras is the finely seasoned Sautéed Lamb Hummus. This is one of the best hummus offerings in Atlanta - made by blending chickpeas, lemon juice, housemade tahini (ground sesame seeds) and extra virgin olive oil, and an added treat is the spicy ground lamb giving the hummus a tasty flair. Stepping up the flavor ladder is the succulent plump Prince Edward Mussels that are bathing in a most delicious roasted pepper, white wine, and coconut juice broth, but what gives this elixir its distinctive appeal is the star of anise. Make sure you ask for extra grilled baguette for dipping, otherwise you will be reaching for a straw as it is that good. There are not many places that make decent crab recipes outside of Maryland, my bias, but this is one of the best. Using fresh lump blue crab, Chef Terry modifies the egg-based Persian herb kuku sabzi recipe ever so slightly in order to maintain the rich delicate crab flavors. This baked dish is accented with pleasing orange–verjus yogurt, it’s absolutely delicious - don’t miss it.
By now the taste buds should be fired up as from here the culinary adventure only gets better. There a couple of lamb dishes that will satisfy that carnivore desire – the medium-rare meat is given a pleasing pop with the use of the Middle Eastern spice, sumac, can’t go wrong with either the sirloin or the chops. The basil pesto Sautéed Sea Scallops with a classic buerre blanc reduction is accented with dried Persian limes adding a gentle touch of acidity to this dish. These spot-on seared scallops are served with a side of ginger braised collard and mustard greens, and the creamiest Yukon gold potatoes; wow what a stunning combination of textures and flavors. The offering that is unique and is most exciting to taste is the Grilled Ostrich Fan Filet. This ultra-lean meat has a velvety texture and is not gamey but instead much more like a prime steak that’s rich and juicy. To accent these beef like flavors an orange sauce is drizzled lightly over the top of this scrumptious big bird - yummy.
LGTG FRIENDLY ****
WHERE WOMEN COME OUT |