Restaurant Reporter
Jan Butsch Schroder

I love my hometown of Atlanta. But during times when my immediate view is one of unending car bumpers with R-rated bumper stickers and grouchy commuters, I turn to fantasies of life in a town where the only hold-up on the road is caused by folks stopping to buy homemade peach pies and chow-chow.

Such was the case when I was driving recently to Mosaic, located on Maple Drive right near the insanity-producing intersection of Peachtree and Piedmont. It was a journey from new Atlanta – where the former gracious mansions that lined Peachtree Street have long since fallen prey to the bulldozer– back to the old Buckhead, where cozy cottages lined the side streets.

This charming restaurant is located in just such a house, although the bungalow has been decorated to more modern tastes with warm colors and contemporary art. If the weather is nice and you seek a quieter dining experience, enjoy the large garden terrace.

Executive Chef Darrell Rice, a South Georgia native who grew up hunting, fishing and even butchering, has worked at several Atlanta restaurants, including Canoe and Old Vinings Inn. He shared his philosophy of the Mediterranean-inspired menu at Mosaic.

“Mosaic does not represent a fusion of dishes but rather putting together the pieces of a puzzle – our menu,” he said. “Each dish is a piece of a mosaic rather than each menu item; thus keeping the true pieces whole and representing cuisine correctly. Fresh seafood, flavorful meats and seasonal produce are incorporated in every dish, striving to attain a level that guests can relate to and appreciate. True passion for food comes with authenticity rather than ideology; there is nothing new with food, only technique.”

You can check out his delicious technique with items such as Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Trio of Kobe Beef Sliders, Mesquite Grilled Pork Tenderloin, and Tandoori Tilapia. And if you’re in the mood for a special drink, put yourself in the hands of the charming long-time bartender, Robert Chambers, who is happy to concoct you a cocktail to please. Here’s my toast: Even as our city changes its skyline at an alarming rate, here’s hoping that we will always have charming little places like this to give us a much-needed respite from the woes of development.

Mosaic, 3097 Maple Drive, 404-846-5722, www.mosaicatl.com

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