It might seem like madness to some, the idea of opening a seafood house (a historically risky venture in the Atlanta market) three hundred miles from the nearest coastline. Not to mention only two doors down from South City Kitchen, one of Fifth Group’s most successful restaurants. But for Steve Simon, Robby Kukler, and Kris Reinhard, the owners of Fifth Group, doing what might be impossible for others to do and doing it better than anyone else is just another day at the office. Over the last nineteen years, they have created some of Atlanta’s favorite dining destinations, which include Ecco, South City Kitchen, La Tavola, The Original El Taco, and their other new restaurant, Alma Cocina.
Lure is the newest jewel in Fifth Group’s crown. The brilliantly redesigned new space is located on Crescent Avenue right in the heart of Midtown in what was Vickery’s old location. What was once a dank, dark dive is now a freshly remodeled space featuring a rustic nautical theme, while maintaining a clean and modern aesthetic. The dining room features reclaimed wood accents and repurposed lighting features juxtaposed with modern seating and sleek finishes. The outdoor seating area features breathtaking views of the Midtown skyline rising up around you.
As we entered from the street, Lure’s long bar stretched out in front of us and was two people deep with a great mix of Midtown’s prettiest. We watched as everybody was enjoying a variety of Lure’s creatively crafted cocktails featuring an apothecary of exotic herbs and boutique spirits and an expansive wine list. The dining room was almost totally full and the enthusiastically attentive staff made their way around the room with purpose. We were warmly welcomed at the door by a delightful young woman who immediately escorted us to our table.
As we made ourselves comfortable at our table, our server quickly greeted us. At the beginning he seemed very nervous, almost terrified. However, once he relaxed and found his groove, he proved to be very knowledgeable about both the food and beverages they had to offer. He made us aware of the myriad of beverage options that included punch bowls, craft cocktails, house-made Shochu, and an almost intimidating wine list. He offered to give us some time to look over the menu, and time is what you need to process all the fantastic options available. With our servers help, we settled on two glasses of the William Fevre “EsPino” Chardonnay, which had clear notes of pear and membrio, which proved to be an enjoyable pairing with our meal that evening.
While the food menu isn’t quite as expansive as the beverage menu, Lure still offers you no shortage of fresh, local, and sustainable seafood and produce options for your dining pleasure. Executive Chef David Bradley is himself something of a Fifth Group prodigy. Having started as a server over a decade ago, David has worked his way up through the ranks, and is now at the helm of the kitchen at Lure. His menu is created and updated daily and is a testament to the group’s commitment to quality.
As for the food, you will not be disappointed. To begin our meal, we started with a couple items from the raw bar. A few Quahog clams topped with charred padron peppers in an escabeche were the highlight. Although, I will warn you to look out for little pieces of shell that I had in my clam. Our seafood cocktail featured fresh shrimp, clams, mussels, and squid that were alive with fresh citrus, and smartly paired with a shot of Hennepin Ale to pour over the top.
We followed the raw course with a couple of share plates. Two amazingly fresh Georges Banks Sea Scallops came perfectly seared over a succotash of field peas and country ham. We also enjoyed the Seafood Sausage Cassoulette. The beans came perfectly al dente and the house-made seafood sausage offered the perfect balance of flavor and heat. It was topped with a warm “salad” of stewed tomatoes, fresh sweet fennel, and squid. “For you or for your sharing,” I recommend spending some time exploring all of the small plate options Lure has to offer.
At our server’s recommendation, we chose the Whole Grilled Georgia Rainbow Trout for our entree. It was served “head-and-all” from the wood grill and accompanied by new potatoes, and the whole thing was drenched in the most wonderful muscadine butter sauce. Conveniently, if you are not familiar with the finer points of de-boning a whole fish, they provide you with an adorable anecdotal cartoon (drawn buy a line cook from one of their sister restaurants) explaining the ins and outs.
After a dessert of a sourdough funnel cake (their very own sourdough culture is kept in the basement) and a lighter, yet also delicious, rice pudding sundae with rum raisin caramel sauce and house-made vanilla soft serve, we were completely satiated. We finished the evening with a cocktail at the bar, and I’m almost positive I saw Owen Wilson coming out of the men’s room as we were leaving!
While bringing fresh, coastal cuisine to a Crescent Street location might have been a challenge for some, I am satisfied that this new addition to the Fifth Group family will prove to be a destination for fresh and innovative dining for many years to come. They have truly delivered us another fantastic destination for a unique culinary experience. While some of the staff may still be finding there “sea legs,” I have no doubt that, in short order, Lure will prove to deliver the exemplary service we have all come to expect from a Fifth Group establishment. So be sure to make reservations and check out everything this Midtown destination has to offer!
1106 Crescent Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30309