Eat in Atlanta — 19 September 2013
Roswell restaurant rolls out new lunch menu

By Hope S. Philbrick

If I have one dish by which to evaluate a restaurant, I’ll choose shrimp & grits whenever it’s available. It helps that I adore the dish. But what’s truly amazing is that while it’s relatively simple—comprised of grits, shrimp and a sauce—it’s also remarkably versatile: Every chef makes it a different way. You could stroll along nearly any street in Charleston, S.C., order it from every restaurant you pass, and never have it the same way twice. Remarkable.

And so when invited to sample Aqua Blue Restaurant & Bar’s new lunch menu, I scanned the various salad, sandwich and sushi options, and quickly settled on shrimp & grits

This was not my first visit to Aqua Blue, an elegant, chef-driven restaurant focused on fresh, seasonal ingredients and global flavors. (It’s one of John C. Metz, Jr.’s, restaurants; he recently won Atlanta’s Cook-Off For A Cause.)

Chef Kien SamBut the restaurant has had some changes since my last visit: Longtime chef de cuisine Kien Sam is now officially an operating partner, and he is now in charge of day-to-day ownership of the restaurant. “Sam has been an integral part of the Aqua blue creative team for the last 12 years,” state press materials. “He has been instrumental in the creation of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, including lobster ravioli and calamari, as well as the development of signature breads and unique sushi rolls.”

This version of shrimp and grits features sautéed shrimp, Nora Mills stone-ground corn grits, julienne vegetables and chardonnay cream sauce. The ratio of shrimp to grits to sauce is perfect—and that’s a delicate balance that if off by the slightest bit can ruin the dish. This preparation uses a hefty amount of garlic. I’d say this preparation of shrimp & grits is classic Charleston-style meets shrimp scampi.

Enjoy it whenever your afternoon agenda is void of face-to-face meetings. Or be prepared to pop Altoids all afternoon.

More Information…

Aqua Blue Restaurant & Bar
1564 Holcomb Bridge Rd.
Roswell GA 30076
Aqua Blue on Urbanspoon

Serves lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and dinner daily from 4 to 10 p.m.

-Photo Credits: shrimp & grits © HSP Media LLC; chef Kien Sam courtesy Melissa Libby PR

Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.

HopeP_144Hope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. She’s reviewed restaurants for several Atlanta-based newspapers and magazines for more than 10 years. When not writing, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.


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