I adored Richard Blais on Top Chef and always got excited when the liquid nitrogen busted out – “what crazy concoction would he create now??” So imagine my excitement when Blais opened his first restaurant in Atlanta (post Top Chef), it was a must for me! As a matter of fact, he now has 3 restaurants here and I’ve been to all. I wanted to taste the creations of this culinary genius I’ve followed on tv. I imagined my mind to be blown from one bite of whatever he makes. Unfortunately, I don’t even know why I continue to hope for these expectations now.

The first 2 restaurants he opened, FLIP and HD1, were the more casual/gourmet place you’d go to get an atypical, non-processed burger or hot dog. Both restaurants were fine and the quality was good. I’d go back once in a blue moon but it was far from meeting any of my expectations. However, the alcoholic liquid-nitrogen shakes were very tasty! So that was already 2 strikes for Blais but then I heard he opened a higher end restaurant (The Spence)…and I knew, if there was 1 restaurant of the 3 that would do justice to his cooking, it would be THIS.

Much to my disappointment and disappointment to our wallets, this was strike 3. I recommend sticking to the starters if you come here versus ordering your typical 3 courses with an entree – the entrees were the most un-climatic part to the meal and pricey. No doubt the dishes were filled with good culinary technical skills but overall the dishes were lacking in flavor. The flavors were there but it just never seemed to cross the finish line.

I’ve never been shy of spending money for good food but The Spence was just not worth it for me. The oysters with pearls is a must if you do go.

3 strikes are enough for me.

Disclaimer: The menu changes daily at The Spence.

Oysters with Pearls
Bone marrow with “hamachi” and fried eggs
Pork belly with parsnips
Braised short ribs