Photo Gallery | Baci in $20
ATLANTA – Looking for a dressed down date night café with quality food – look no further. The creators of local restaurant, Café at Pharr, have opened an “eclectic and affordable” restaurant in the Brookhaven City Center. The restaurant -- Baci by Café at Pharr -- is the brain child of Café at Pharr owner Johnny Lui and Baci’s Executive Chef Nellie Chudnovsky.
Russian-born Chudnovsky was raised in Israel and received formal culinary training during an internship in Italy. According to Chudnovsky, she’s been “cooking since she could reach the counter.”
Liu and Chudnovsky got the idea to open the restaurant during a dinner party hosted by the chef – Liu had been looking to open another restaurant and was thinking of concepts when they settled on the “eclectic” style of this restaurant.
“We wanted the restaurant to be family-style, not overworked and affordable. We, also, wanted to make seasonal changes,” Chudnovsky says of the final restaurant concept.
The restaurant’s name comes from a phrase the chef learned while training in Italy – meaning “kiss” – according to Chudnovsky, Italian people say “baci, baci” to greet one another.
Many other aspects of the restaurant were personalized by the pair – Chudnovsky personally selected all of the wine offered at the restaurant. The drink menu features bottles from all over the world -- similar to the dinner menu and the variety of entrees.
The chef, also, handpicks all food cooked in the restaurant, every week, at the DeKalb Farmer’s Market.
“We want you to tour the world on our menu. We created a menu where everyone can find something they like to eat,” Chudnovsky told us. “The restaurant is somewhere you can bring a date, a friend or a family member.”
The restaurant, also, buys fresh flowers every couple of days to create a comfortable environment and a cozy aesthetic.
Chudnovsky says, “We want our guests to feel like our restaurant is an extension of their dining room.”
For dessert, the restaurant offers locally sourced gelato from Honeysuckle Gelato – which is owned by a friend of Liu and Chudnovsky.
Every Tuesday, the Where U Live team chooses a Metro Atlanta restaurant and with the restaurant's help, shows you how you can sample the menu without spending too much -- the chef offered three different meal selections under $20.
Chudnovsky recommends the Caprese Salad which is crafted with cherry tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella, fresh torn basil and creamy balsamic vinaigrette with olive oil. The salad is a classic take on the Caprese Salad – with a unique presentation. The salad costs $7
She, also, recommends the Lobster Mac n’ Cheese which is one of the most popular dishes on the menu. The Mac n’ Cheese is crafted with elbow macaroni, Mascarpone, Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses and red pepper flakes. The dish is baked with lobster and served. According to Chudnovsky, one of the restaurant’s loyal guests helped them get the recipe just right. The Lobster Mac n’ Cheese costs $6
The Chilean Sea Bass is another best seller --- the filet is served “hong kong style” with white rice. The filet is prepared pan-seared and is served over a bed of spinach and drizzled with a ginger and soy reduction – white rice is served on the side. The entrée costs $19
Also being showcased is the Beef Teriyaki – which is served with grilled asparagus and white rice. An Angus NY strip steak is grilled to taste and brushed with teriyaki sauce for this meal. The asparagus and pineapple garnish are grilled, served atop the steak and drizzled with a teriyaki reduction sauce. The steak costs $16