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AJC file photo: Becky Stein

Georgia’s most romantic restaurant is a Johns Creek steakhouse that bans kids, according to a survey of Open Table users. Congrats to Viande Rouge!

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AJC file photo: Becky Stein

AJC file photo: Becky Stein

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The AJC’s former food critic, John Kessler, sounded duly impressed in a 2011 review of Viande Rouge:

     “Lock your car, walk across a parking lot so hot the tar is sticky,   open a blacked-out corner door of a small retail strip and then your jaw will drop.

     Viande Rouge Steakhouse greets you with a thrilling whoosh of  darkness and air conditioning. You stand at the entrance and gape  at everything you slowly begin to discern in this dim, glittery  room: a waiter flaming bananas Foster on a rolling cart, brocade-patterned walls the color of blood,  sexed-up art in gilt  frames. The hostess knows to stand by while you soak it in. She seems used to the response.”

At the time of his review, Viade Rouge was off limits to anyone 18 and younger. They’ve lowered the age limit since then. “Adults 14 years old and over only,” the web site warns.

Don’t plan on taking MARTA there, either. Ever. With little warning and no public comment, the Johns Creek City Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing the expansion of a MARTA rail line into north Fulton County.

The resolution was a response to an effort by the mayors of Roswell and Sandy Springs, to begin a countywide discussion of MARTA’s proposed expansion – and the half-penny tax that would be required to fund it.

AJC file photo: Becky Stein

AJC file photo: Becky Stein

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Kessler, who has decamped for Chicago, had this to say about his meal:

(Chef Marc) Sublette pays attention to the flavors of his ingredients and thus  avoids some of the excess so endemic to steakhouses. I don’t care  whether he uses fresh or frozen for his creamed spinach ($8); it’s poofy and light,  tasting of vegetable rather than salt or dairy.  Fine,  too, are the pommes frites ($8),  a deep bowl of crisp  shoestrings that stay appealing to the final bits.

I choose a glorious tangle of potato crunch called pommes rissolees ($8) to accompany my wet-aged 12-ounce New York strip ($38) —  fat, tender and cooked exactly as ordered.

I decide to take this strip to the milliner and order one of the  signature “chapeaux” or “hats” that the kitchen proposes for the steaks. Most of the choices (lobster thermidor,  bacon and brie, fried oysters and tomato hollandaise) seemed too rococo — like  putting a Texas cowboy in one of those Three Musketeer jobbers  bedecked with ostrich plumes. So we opted for the relative  restraint of roasted bone marrow with shallot butter ($8),  which  was luscious but nonetheless over-the-top rich after the first two  bites.

I far preferred a hatless 18-ounce Delmonico rib eye ($44),  its  meaty flavor and crispy ring of fat providing all the flavor  necessary. Ditto a sauteed Dover sole ($39), which the waiter  wheeled to the table atop a cart, filleted and plated with tiny stripes of brown butter and no more than a dozen fried capers; you taste the succulent fish and then relish each tiny pop of flavor. Sublette, who long worked for the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, knows how to present luxury food.

The kitchen wedges a few flat-out French dishes into the menu,   including a gorgeously updated duck a l’orange fashioned from one crisp duck confit leg and a beguiling pile of pulled duck meat, orange segments, frisee greens and potatoes in a light duck jus. As with the tomato salad, the fresh orange provides all the acid and sweetness this dish needs.”

AJC file photo: Becky Stein

AJC file photo: Becky Stein

I don’t know if the exact menu items he wrote about or the prices are still the same (probably not – it’s been five years) but that should give you an idea about the place.

It should come as no surprise but the place is completely booked on Feb. 13, the Saturday before Valentine’s Day. If you’re a late diner there are a couple of reservations available in the 9 p.m. hour on Feb. 12.

While we’re on the subject of romance, check out 5 romantic Valentine’s weekend staycation destinations in Atlanta and other romantic restaurants in Atlanta, andvisit the AJC Atlanta Restaurant Scene this week and next for more Valentine’s Day inspiration.

Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook andfollowing Atlanta Dining on Twitter.

110811-JOHNS CREEK-GA- John Kessler's weekly dine review of Viande Rouge on Thursday August 11, 2011. Manager/waiter Brian Thomas making flaming bananas foster. (BECKY STEIN/special)

AJC file photo: Becky Stein


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