Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Atlas

For my friend, Corey's birthday, a group of us met up at the Atlas. I have never had a bad meal here; and this meal was no exception. Before coming, I had checked out their menu online and decided to knock something off of my 101 foods list. When I got there, I changed my mind on what to get. Then I saw the special menu and changed my mind again. What I finally ended up getting was

a crawfish étouffée. When I got it, I was expecting to have at least some crawfish heads poking out of the meal, but this wasn't the case. The crawfish was cooked down with andouille sausage (one of my favorite foods) and both meats were fork tender that melted in your mouth. In the middle sat a mound of rice that worked perfectly with the saucy meatiness of the dish. Garnished on top was, from what I could tell pickled slivers of bell pepper. Although they were a garnish, they contrasted the heat and spiciness of the Creole seasoning. The cornbread that accompanied the étouffée was the only thing that I wasn't too impressed with. It seemed more like a biscuit with some cornmeal than actual cornbread. While I personally think that honey accentuates the sweetness of the corn, it made sense not to have it with this savory dish. Sometimes when you eat a food, you are amazed with the first bite and that excitement wanes with each consecutive taste. I loved every single bite to this dish. I was tempted to lick the bowl that it was served in. The day after eating it, I was still fantasizing about the meal. While this would cause most people to have a "usual" dish from this experience, it makes me more than happy to try other options on the menu.
It was difficult to get good pictures in the darkened restaurant
For dessert, we ordered a molten lava cake. This came with a scoop of ice cream, so homemade whipped cream, strawberries and a fruit puree. Molten lava cakes are really just inverted chocolate cupcakes (that looks like a volcano) filled with a chocolate sauce that oozes out as you cut into it. Unfortunately, most of the inner chocolate had already run out onto the plate when we got this dessert. The cake itself was nothing too special, but still tasty. The thing that impressed me the most was the sauce. It seemed to me like the component that the most skill and time were focused on.

The Atlas is one of the best restaurants in Iowa City. The menu changes with the season and it is reasonably priced for what you get. It is the perfect place to go on a date or anniversary.

Atlas Iowa City, Iowa


  1. I had the étouffée over a year ago, and I still fantasize about it. I had to restrain myself from reaching over and grabbing a few bites from your plate


  2. I would have shared a bite; I had no problem trying things from your plate. I am al about sharing so that you can try everything


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