Thursday, August 4, 2011



By Doc Lawrence

ATLANTA. By midday, it was a southern scorcher, emblematic of all the dire warnings about the treachery of Dog Days. But, we didn’t stay home. Ignoring the warnings from TV weather announcers, we met for lunch across the street from the Georgia Aquarium.

Legal Seafoods, from its debut here in the flagship city of the New South, hasn’t skipped a beat in quality of menu and service. The wine list is crafted by one of the most respected wine professional on earth, the incomparable Sandy Block, a gentleman who doesn’t hide his penchant for the wines of the Loire Valley.

I was joined by friends Tom and Lisa from Tallahassee whose opinions regarding dining are valued. Although the area near the Georgia Aquarium is dotted with many fine restaurants, Legal Seafoods can always be counted on for consistency. There are no discernable fads here and management recognizes that fine dining has some universally accepted rules of order.

We enjoyed different dishes from crab cakes (no breadcrumbs at all), to swordfish (“the best I’ve eaten in years,” said my pal Tom Nelson) to my choice of lite clam chowder followed by a Boston seafood icon, Scrod. It was baked to perfection and feather light.

To enjoy the genuine Legal Seafoods gourmet experience, wines are obligatory. Sancerre, the gem from France’s Loire Valley paired with everything on our lunch menu, as would so many other white wines listed from Burgundy, Alsace and California. When the weather is burdensome, white wines rule. As they should.

Sandy Block is a Master of Wine, one of only a handful of Americans to hold this prestigious title. Block serves as Vice President of the Executive Board of Boston University’s Elizabeth Bishop Wine Resource Center, teaching advanced wine courses since 1999. He developed curriculum for Wine Studies at Boston University and taught wine-tasting courses to aspiring chefs at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. Block joined Legal Sea Foods in 2004, providing wine vision unmatched almost anywhere in the country.

Good friends, a view of the Georgia Aquarium, a memorable lunch, and attentive service all served with fine wines. That’s the Legal Seafoods experience in downtown Atlanta. It’s almost like being in Boston.

Read the Wines Down South August eNewletter: Folk Art, Tailgating, Recipes, Sangria for Bulldawgs and more:

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