I’ve said this before but I’m always eager to try a restaurant in Atlanta that falls outside the confines of the new American type with a Southern influence. When a scoutmob came out for Tantra, my friend Carolyn and I saw it as a perfect opportunity to try out this Mediterranean/Asian fusion restaurant and lounge in Buckhead and it did not disappoint.
We grabbed an early dinner on a Tuesday night before a movie, so it was an off-peak time, if you will. This meant we were one of just a handful of tables, which I don’t believe is typical on a weekend night. Our server was very attentive, which could be attributed to the slow night, but I got the impression that she was always just as friendly and helpful. Per her recommendation, we tried one of the house cocktails – Gigi – and it was delicious. The mix of presecco, Gran Marnier and blood orange was a sweet (but not too sweet) and refreshing start to the meal.
Tantra’s decor fits the cuisine – bold and unique. I liked the red accents admist the mostly black and white palate when it came to the furntiure and paint scheme. There were interesting light fixtures and plenty of art work adorning the walls. A warm and cozy atmosphere is often lost on restaurants with trendy decor, but that was not the case. I felt comfortable even though the space had a chic design.
Both Carolyn and I were more intrigued by the starters than the entrees because they seemed a bit more unusual. That’s not to say the main dishes are not appetizing. The sides and sauces were indicative of Tantra’s distinct style and one option was especially unfamiliar: grilled Ostrich fillet. That’s not something you see everyday in Atlanta.
We ordered four appetizers: the hummus tasting, Kibbe Nayeh pizza, cucumber and tomato salad, and jumbo lump crab. What drew us to the hummus was the naan accompaniment and the truffle hummus, which we devoured. Edamame hummus and chick pea hummus were also included, but we would’ve been content if the truffle hummus was the only type on the plate.
The crab was presented like a crab cake, which I did not expect, but it was practically devoid of any filler. It was mostly crab chunks with a spectacular pesto sauce that was light and the perfect complement to the crab. This is a dish that will draw me back to Tantra.
Our waitress warned us that the “pizza” was not exactly pizza, but rather, crispy flatbread topped with lamb and bulgur tartare, onion, sea salt and shallot yogurt. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I really enjoyed all of the flavors together.
Last but not least was the cucumber and tomato salad. It may not have stood out but it was a solid dish with a tasty vinaigrette. A little too much arugula for my liking, but cilantro and mint were a great touch.
We called it quits after our four appetizers but this was strictly due to time constraints. I easily could’ve shared another appetizer or tried a dessert and I would recommend more than the amount we ordered if you decide to share multiple small dishes. Some of the sides sounded great, like the goat cheese and herb polenta or the more decadent brown butter haricots verts.
I will definitely be back to Tantra again. The prices are reasonable and with a scoutmob, it’s a steal. While I don’t have anything bad to say, the only dish that really impressed me, was the crab. Otherwise, the food was consistently good and it’s a great way to spice up your palate admist the routinely American and Southern restaurants in this town.Tab: 1 Hummus tasting 1 Cucumber and tomato salad 1 Jumbo lumb crab 1 Kibbe Nayeh pizza +2 Gigi cocktails $57 – $25 scoutmob discount = $32 + tax and tip Quickfacts Neighborhood: Buckhead Chef: Terry Dwyer Restaurant Web site