Resides in the Krog Street Market, The Luminary is a French-American brasserie that sells interesting, sophisticated but approachable dishes. A combination of both classic and modern, The Luminary possesses the vibe of sophistication but casual dining. There are cool decoration elements here and there, like a neon cursive sign behind the raw bar, a large antique-style mirror atop the bar, and a bunch of white ceiling lights that look very artsy. Some tables are dressed in white linen while others are left naked. The restaurant also uses clean white tiles and a row of wall art displays to make diners feel welcomed. After all, what could be better to dine and observe the busy Krog Street Market through big open windows?
The menu here is simple but inclusive at the same time. Diners can choose to dine everything from meats, cheese, to seafood. The drink menu, in addition, is quite impressive. Especially, the restaurant will serve up its oysters at half price from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. everyday (except Monday since it’s closed).
We’ve been to The Luminary a couple times and felt very satisfied with the food and service here. So we’ve decided to share with you our thoughts on it.
Roasted foie gras (Must try!)
Our roasted foie gras deserves the tittle of ‘one-of-a-kind’ appetizer. The dish was served on a scorching hot cast-iron skillet, with the Dutch baby pancake topped with fresh persimmon, cocoa nibs, honey, sprinkle of coarse sea salt and of course, roasted foie gras. The presentation was nothing fancy, but it didn’t matter cause as soon as we dug in, we were blown away!
Fun fact: Dutch baby pancakes, German pancakes, Dutch puffs, whatever you call it,came from Seattle, Washington and is originally a sweet breakfast dish. However, at The Luminary, that concept is no longer valid. Instead, it’s a creation of roasted foie gras on top of Dutch baby pancake- a playful twist for the taste buds.
The Dutch pancake was not quite fluffy like the usual pancake, but rather sticky, warm goodness and dense. Buttery fragrance with the perfect thickness, the pancake got puffed and crispy around the edges. This is because the skillet was placed into the oven and the direct heat from it will cause the liquid in the batter to evaporate and puff the edges up. And through not entirely visible, drizzled honey was there, adding a slight hint of sweetness.
Eating alongside were ripest and juiciest persimmon wedges and the long-awaited foie gras. The foie gras was not insanely huge, but enough to suit our taste buds. The roasted piece was really rich and pleasantly tasty. The kind of melt-in-your-mouth and delicate foie gras that we instantly fell in love with. We especially loved the luxuriously smooth aftertaste it carried over. Lastly, A-graded cacao nibs and sprinkled salt really pulled everything together.
DUCK BREAST SALAD
Duck breast is inevitably yummy. The meat is savory in its own terms- fatty, juicy, tender and meaty, too. It is an important component that makes up the fame of French cuisine. On our visit to The Luminary, we ordered a dish of rare duck breast and it came out as expected. The meat was smoked red, tasty and tender. It was especially juicy to have the rare part. Eating alongside were pickled cabbage and micro green, which gave our bites crunchiness and tangy-ness. Whole grain mustard and nuoc mam sauce were other interesting additions. While nuoc mam sauce made our tongues tingling and paired so well with pickled cabbage, the whole grain mustard added a spoonful of sour and sweet flavors.
Steak and fries is every meat lover’s favorite, myself included. But when the steak frites is served in a French-American brasserie like The Luminary, it goes beyond expectation. 8oz hanger steak, French fries, and maitre d’hotel butter, it is by far the the best we’ve tested. So if you have a hankering for steak frites, look nowhere else than The Luminary in Krog Market.
The hanger steak, in our opinion, is the best cut on the animal. Ordering a medium-rare portion, our steak was very tender, delicate and juicy. Once it in the mouth, discerning diners will notice a strong smokey flavor from marinated spices, a creamy taste from the savory maitre d’hotel butter (we loved the parsley in it), and a sweet aftertaste from the pan-seared beef. In overall, the French touch on it is greatly appreciated.
Filling about half the plate was French fries, which might seem delightful at first. However, we personally found the fries to be too bland and soggy, pretty much similar to that you’d find at McDonalds. While ketchup and mustard were served on the side, we’d still appreciate a bit more flavors and quality in those fries in a restaurant like this.
First impression? Gotta be the chef’s creativity. We normally see the Italian-inspired Cioppino in the form of stew, including seafood, tomato, and fluid soup. Served alongside is toasted bread, like French baguette. However, our Cioppino at The Luminary is not the norm. Featuring seafood (shrimps, clams, mussels, and crabs), the restaurant makes its own version with the tomato-saffron broth and Israeli couscous. Seriously, it’s a complete taste bud adventure.
Lying in the innermost of the plate is the Israeli couscous. It was meticulously cooked and presented. Upon serving, our hostess carefully poured the tomato broth over, making sure that the couscous, by then, would have been perfectly cooked; and it was. ‘Satisfying,’ one word to define all.
The assemble of seafood comes next on the list. Since our Cioppino featured catch of the day, the seafood was fresh and had that kind of ocean-taste. Interestingly, The Luminary steps out of the box to grill each and every piece of seasoned seafood before placing them on the plate. Therefore, you’ll not only taste the spices of the broth, but also the flavor of each piece.
Of course, Cioppino at The Luminary wouldn’t be perfect without the tomato-saffron broth. Without a doubt, it was a perfect suit for the dish. Thanks to saffron, the medicinal spice, the broth was tasty, pungent and earthy. We loved the texture-thick and dense- and the tingling feel on the tongues. Indulging the whole combination, it was really an explosion of deep and vibrant flavors in your mouth. So don’t be hesitant to slurp a bit more broth than usual, because it is the key component to pull everything together.
Wrapping up a great meal with some chocolate dessert, why not? We picked Coffee Financier and it didn’t let us down.
The Chocolate Financier, a French almond cake, included pieces of lightly salted caramel chocolate ganache, pecan sorbet, and coffee pastry cream. The cake was sweet and nutty with the crisp outside. The slight hint of salt really made the cake more appealing. The cake’s presentation was abundant, which was very satisfying.
The scoop of pecan sorbet, however, was quite small and wouldn’t be enough for three squared cake pieces. Yet, the scoop was so good- sweet and creamy. It was as if the pecan sorbet could be served independently as a dessert plate. Finally, the coffee pastry cream pulled everything together so nicely. The taste wouldn’t be as strong as our normal roasted coffee, but a kick of bitterness pairs with sweetness is such a good combination.
The concept of happy-hour oysters is not something strange to Atlantians. There are plenty of options out there, namely The Optimist or The Pig and The Pearl. Depending on different places, oyster’s price can be $1 each or half of the original market price. For Luminary, it is the latter.
Honestly speaking, this is not a bad deal. Oysters at Luminary are fresh and juicy in general. We personally like medium and large oysters, while there are also a bunch of small (cocktail) oysters to select from. The platter was served with what probably was Horsey cocktail sauce with a kick of minced garlic, tabasco and lemon wedges. The oysters were tasty on their own, quite smooth and silky, but those sauces really added to the flavors as some would be more briny than the others.
Did you know that Bourbon can go so well with heavy cream? Taking a sip of eggnog cocktail in this breezy weather, we were so pleased to feel the inside warmth with the Bourbon. That paired with the unbeatable smoothness from heavy cream and the creaminess from egg yolk, making the drink an utmost experience that any diners once dreamed of. The drink is an amazing combination of sweetness, creaminess, and a Bourbon finish that will run through your throat and spike up to the nostrils.
Overall, dining experience at the Luminary is unquestionably good. The restaurant might have provided somewhat slow services during peak hours, but we’ve always felt the attentiveness of our waiters. The place is hygienic, from front desk, dining tables to perfumy bathroom. Also, delicious food, soft music and ample seating are some good points to take noted. Lastly, price is justifiable for the food and service, which we think they’re all worth it.
Address: 99 Krog St NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
Reservation: (404) 600-6199
Hours: 12–3PM, 5–11PM (except Monday)