Everybody wants a piece of the BeltLine. Lots of micro boroughs are popping up all along it. There is plenty of room for further development and yet already a cornucopia of killer options no matter what section of the BeltLine is nearest to where you are. But location alone does not a success story make.
Which brings me to Bazati. Located at Common Ground between Two Urban Licks and New Realm Brewing, the restaurant is a three-in-one: a brasserie downstairs, a series of tiny boutique shops, and a Miami-inspired joint called Estrella upstairs on the roof. It’s been open for a little over a year and there was a fair amount of buzz about the French dinner menu last summer. I went for brunch on a beautiful Saturday at noon and will not be going back.
The space is gorgeous. There are huge windows letting in lots of natural light and the gigantic patio overlooks all the BeltLine passersby. But you can also see the happily overcrowded patio at New Realm next door and it will unavoidably lead you to believe you’re missing out on a better time. We were at Bazati during the high tide of the weekend, and only two other tables were seated the entire time we were there. The upstairs spot likewise has only a handful of guests, and there was a half dozen people at the bar. Bartenders and servers alike were greatly amusing and friendly, though this did not much placate our table during inexplicably long wait times for our plates.
On the surface, Bazati is nice to look at and nice to chat in. The deeper problem is that most of the food we ordered was merely passable. As in: if your suburban dad who is a picky eater wants to “experience the BeltLine” and “see some city culture,” you can take him here for a decent $26 steak frites. The steak was properly cooked and the eggs on the Benedict were properly runny, but the burger was sadly very well done. I’d ordered the namesake Bazati burger because I’m a sucker for lamb, but was brought L’Americain with Angus beef instead, which I would have sent back had it not taken so long to arrive.
Fortunately, I’m always willing to pile up the small plates and dessert. The caprese salad adds a nice touch by smoking the mozzarella, but then undercuts its own success by butchering both the heirloom tomato and cheese too thin. The fried brussels sprouts with lemon and capers were a delight. Normally I’m quite tempted to fill up on bread, and you’d think a $4 bread service at a French brasserie would be truly something to fawn over—but as my mother would sometimes say on a Saturday, “this tastes like Friday’s bread.” There were two slices of an olive loaf, a small baguette that was more stale than crusty, and a pat of piped butter still too cold to put a knife through cleanly.
As for dessert, the flourless chocolate cake is the same as everywhere else, the raspberry crepe has great filling in a somewhat overcooked and thus rubbery package, and the profiteroles with pistachio ice cream calmed me down enough think maybe this place can still turn things around. But let’s be real. Bazati has already had a year to make good on the feedback from their early lukewarm reviews. Their legit French chef, Remi Granger—formerly of very successful ventures like Gunshow, Revival, and Bread & Butterfly—has already bailed. The fact is that if a French brasserie can’t get simple bread service right, it’s toast.
Bazati is located at 550 Somerset Terrace. For more, visit bazatiatl.com.