Uncategorized | April 9, 2013

A Food Review of The Velvet Note

By VelvetVoyce, Publisher/Reviewer of SoundBites

So as I was cruising through my social media outlets one day I received a message (PMs I think they’re called) from this swank and really cool jazz venue in Alpharetta, GA named ‘The Velvet Note’. I had been there once before when they first opened up to see trumpeter Mark Rapp and instantly liked the place.  And once I saw they were bringing singer Sachal Vasandani back to Atlanta, I knew I had no choice but to head back  sooner than later!

To my surprise the message asked if I could come to the show as the Chef wanted me to taste their menu. He apparently noticed I have an appreciation for good food and wanted my opinion on their selections. I have to be honest with you, the message made my day.  I call myself a ‘wannabe foodie’ because I don’t think I’ve earned all my ‘true foodie’ stars and stripes so to have a real Chef  want my opinion on THEIR food was an honor.  So I marked my calendar for Saturday night and looked forward to a meeting with my two loves: food and music.

The Velvet Note is located in Alpharetta, GA which some folks may think is  ”out of the way”-hey, I did at one point but after this night, I have to say it is well worth the trip! I got there in about 20 minutes which is really how long it takes to get anywhere in and around Atlanta.  I had reserved my “place” for the second set which started at 9:30pm (Mind you, Friday’s show and the 1st set on Saturday night was SOLD OUT). I knew I had to get there early to be sure to chat with the owner Tamara Fuller and hopefully say hello to Sachal before the show. I had MC’d a show he did in Atlanta last year and he was SO cool. Not at ALL what I had expected actually. But Sachal is one down to earth cat!

I was glad I had arrived early as folks were already waiting to get in for the second set while the first one was letting out. Once I got in the first thing I saw was Sachal chatting with some members of the audience. I told you he was a cool cat. You want to know another things that’s cool: THE VELVET NOTE! The full name of the venue is: “The Velvet Note Acoustic Living Room” and there is a very good reason why. (I was reminded as soon as I walked in). This venue is really like no other. It really has the comforting and relaxing ambience of a living room in a beautiful home. There are even a couple of couches where patrons can sit and truly enjoy the show.  You can tell that whoever designed and put thought into this venue REALLY wanted the audience to have a very special experience. And that was confirmed for me, as Tamara explained before introducing Sachal that the room was designed to provide some of the best sound acoustically. From the window….to the wall and apparently up to the ceiling, careful detail was put into the architecture of the place to guarantee that it would be the best listening experience for both the audience and the performer. (You’d be surprised how many artists don’t enjoy performing at certain places because of the acoustics!)

Tamara also explained how they serve the food on plastic plates and use plastic utensils to avoid the “click clack” sound metal ones would make. I didn’t really think about it but those little noises can take away from enjoying a show. They can be downright annoying actually so I had to give Tamara two thumbs up for even thinking that way. Again, The Velvet Note truly wants their audience to have THE best experience. Oh, another thing Tamara pointed out….because the room is so “sound proof” you may want to be mindful of your conversation. She pointed out during the last set a young lady said about Sachal: “He’s SO sexy!” and the ENTIRE room heard. I couldn’t help but laugh because ummm….Sachal IS sexy. So I made a mental note to keep all MY comments–to myself. :)

I was seated by the bar which was where I chose to sat. Why not? Bartenders are some of the coolest people and you can get some good information from them. And if you’re like me you enjoy pairing your drink with your meal and I apparently was at the right seat in the house for just that. Cory Wills-who to call just a “bartender” really does no justice-is a man that knows his wine and spirits! I introduced myself and asked if he mind that I would be sitting at his bar and he insisted it wasn’t a problem. I knew I had picked the right seat for that night.

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I had the pleasure of being taken care of by Enoch, a super cool gentlemen who, coincidentally, had met a week or so before at a completely different venue where we were both patrons. I tell you, I was feeling at home but NOT at home and Sachal hadn’t even started to sing yet. Enoch greeted me with a smile and hug and got right down to business. Before I knew it, my first dish arrived:

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Cheese and fruit. To some its still an odd combination but to me, its perfect.  (And yes, you should eat the cheese and the fruit together-it tastes great!!) This plate had fresh blue cheese (which I rarely see!) along with other fine cheese, fresh fruit and a salami and cheese roll that I fell in love with. What I loved about this plate was that it satisfied every “note” of my palate. Tart cheese, thin crisp crunchy cracker, tangy and sweet fruit, spicy salami roll. My mouth was singing.

Next came the salad-I received a smaller portion that normal since I was doing a tasting and didn’t want to get full too soon.

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I LOVE ceasar salads-but not from everyone. Some places don’t realize that every element of a ceasar salad must be right or the whole thing goes wrong.  This salad made me smile as the Chef must have read my  mind. Fresh lettuce, fresh shaved parmesean cheese, a combo of white and pumpernickel croutons (which tasted oh so fresh!) and a dressing that was just right-not overpowering.

Next up: Jumbo Maryland crab cake w/corn salsa & lemon aioli

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Delish! I love corn salsa and the lemon aioli gave the dish the right touch of flavor to help it all come together. Cory actually suggested this to me as one of his faves before he knew I was tasting the entire menu.

Next: Salmon w/ a coconut jasmine rice. Salmon and rice are actually very similar in that: it seems easy enough to cook but one “off” thing about it can ruin it all. Thankfully, nothing was off about this dish!

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And finally, the Beef with chimichurri sauce w/yellow rice and cheesy jalapeno cornbread (thumbs up!)

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Then for desert, one of my favorites: the key lime pie (I may have licked the plate)

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I have to say, it was a great night and The Velvet Note is such a unique place that I know it will be around for a long time. I can’t wait to get back there myself!


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