By Art Huckabee
What makes for a good restaurant or a restaurant that you want to re-visit? The short answer is the food, quickly followed by the service. After that, the list can get quite long with an ample helping of diner subjectivity thrown in for good measure.
This month, I’m putting on my food writer lab coat and “analyzing” what makes one of my favorite restaurants, Rumi’s Kitchen, a good, if not great, restaurant.
Accessibility: It can be good, but if it takes two hours in Atlanta traffic to get there, I’m not going more than once. Rumi’s is located just outside of the perimeter on Roswell Road, easily accessible from most anywhere.
Parking: If you have to park so far away that you have to use Uber to get back to the restaurant, it’s a one-time proposition for me. Rumi’s has valet like you read about. I don’t know where these moonlighting NASCAR drivers take my car, but it always returns in perfect shape and they genuinely seem happy with my $3 tip.
Reservations: There was a very brief window of time in my life where I would endure a wait of two hours and that was to ride Space Mountain at Disney World. Rumi’s take reservations and they also seem to handily accommodate walk-ins.
A pleasing space: You would never know that Rumi’s occupies what used to be a Midas muffler shop. What once were automotive bays is now well-lit, inviting space with comfortable seating and views into an open kitchen.
Won’t break the bank: Rumi’s isn’t cheap with entrée’s ranging from the high teens to most in the twenties, but you feel as though you could manage a couple of visits a month without taking out a second mortgage.
A decent wine list and cocktail selection: Rumi’s wine list is only one page with emphasis on reds. There are lots of selections by the glass and the prices are reasonable. There’s a small craft cocktail selection and several beers.
Excellent service: Rumi’s excels. Be it a party of 12 or a party of two, the wait staff is always on point. They’re unnoticeably attentive, keeping plates cleared, water glasses filled and baskets full of the addictive flatbread. The rare misstep is quickly remedied.
Excellent food: I have never had, nor dined with anyone who has had, a bad dish at Rumi’s. Pick a couple of “Tastes,” like creamy Hummus or Merza Ghasemi, smoked eggplant with tomato and garlic; spread them on the hot flatbread. Or order some excellent grilled spicy wings flavored with lemon and saffron. Or maybe some Dolmeh, grape leaves filled with minced beef, rice and herbs.
For the entrée’s, or “Feasts,” Rumi’s is a kabab-a-palooza. From chicken to lamb to beef to seafood, there’s something for everyone. The Chicken Barg is saffron marinated breast meat, perfectly charred yet still tender. The four cuts of beef are as good as can be had anywhere in town. The Rack of Lamb is marinated in garlic, rosemary and saffron and grilled to medium rare perfection. The Chilean Sea Bass is the best version of this Patagonian toothfish that I’ve had. The grilled saffron shrimp are also outstanding.
The “Feasts” are large portions. They come with enough rice to feed a small village in China. Chose from flavors like lentil and raisin to almond orange zest to dill and fava bean to simply saffron. There’s always a roasted tomato on every plate that often serves more as garnish than meal.
Consistency: Rumi’s is consistently great!
Rumi’s Kitchen is located at 6112 Roswell Rd., Atlanta, GA, 30328. For more information or reservations, call (404) 477-2100 or visit rumiskitchen.com.
Art Huckabee is one of Yelp’s Elite Reviewers, as well as a pilot and food lover. Send feedback to TastingIntown@AtlantaINtownPaper.com.