Atlanta >Food & Dining > Soho Cafe Llc
4300 Paces Ferry Rd SE, Atlanta, GA | Directions 3033933.864804 -84.465681
Lunch: Mon - Fri, 11:30am - 2:30pm; Dinner: Mon - Sat, 5:30pm - 10pm; Sun, 5pm - 9pm
Roll back the clock to 1997. It was the year that DVD players became commercially available for a mere $1000, Celine Dion won album of the year, and SOHO opened its doors in the Vinings Jubilee complex as a neighborhood gathering spot, a place to go for a great meal and a good time. Today, DVD players have changed to a Blu-Ray format, Mumford & Sons won this years album of the year, and SOHO has remained true to form for the past 16 years as the “Cheers of Vinings” where the staff and patrons are on first name basis basking in the moment. Named after the artsy SoHo District in New York City, owners Frank and Susan Smith have brought that New York-like classy, hip flair to their highly popular restaurant where newcomers are quickly treated as regulars. The cornerstone of SOHO is its outstanding Pan Asian-Nouveau American menu that is managed by the multi-talented Executive Chef Joe Ahn. As an equal to the food is the instant gratification from SOHO’s welcoming hospitality, and if I didn’t know better I would have thought its name was derived from Southern Hospitality.
When a dish is listed on the menu for 16 years, I guess you consider it a house favorite. One of these “don’t you dare remove it from the menu” is the Chicken Tortilla Soup; yes a soup. No matter if you feel a bit sluggish from a cold or simply want something warm and comforting, Chef Ahn’s recipe is packed full of vigor and umami with chucks of shredded chicken in a rich homemade chicken stock that’s loaded with crisp tortilla chips, sweet corn, spicy chili peppers, zesty cilantro and tangy limes. If this doesn’t liven up the palate then the General Joey’s Calamari surely will. This is a throwback to the days when Chef Ahn worked in his family’s eatery, Fuji-Ya in Gettysburg, PA. Tender morsels of squid are flash fired then tossed is an exhilarating ginger- soy glaze with diced Serrano pepper, garlic, and scallions - yum. Equally as savory as the calamari is the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio. The paper thin slices of eye of the round are drizzled with a housemade creamy Dijon sauce that adds an enticing tingle to this ultra tender melt in the mouth meat. It’s topped with field greens, shaved asiago cheese, shallots and capers that are fried, and a wedge of toasted Parmesan bread. This is a meat lover’s dream come true.
So-called banquet room? – For the second year in a row my organization booked one of their banquet rooms for a teacher's retirement dinner. Truthfully, we had been there last year with no problem, but this year was totally different. We weren't even done with our meals when a group of men just outside our room became very loud and disruptive. What really ruined the evening was when they sat down to dinner at the banquet room next to us.! The problem was the only thing separating the rooms was a curtain! I have never been to a restaurant where a curtain separated two banquet rooms!!! We had to yell to do our tributes to the retiring teachers and when I spoke to the manager she shrugged it off!
We will NOT be having another dinner there next year!
Worst experience ever – Have you ever had the owner of a restaurant yell at your waiter in front of you? I did, and it was one of the best waiters I have ever had. In addition to ownership lacking common decency the food was just mediocre. The crab cakes tasted like mayo cakes. I will never go back to this restaurant again!
Great food, service, atmosphere – I had the chance to eat at SOHO for the first time a few weeks back and it was a very enjoyable meal. The food selection was diverse and featured plenty of choices for all kinds of diners. I started with the BLT salad – the cucumber dill dressing was light and delicious. Next, I tried the chicken tortilla soup which, according to my server, is one of the restaurant’s signature dishes. It is popular for a good reason – it was very flavorful and had a bit of spiciness. Finally, my daughter and I split the chocolate bread pudding for dessert. Decadent without being heavy it was the perfect way to finish the meal. In addition to the food, the overall dining experience was excellent. The restaurant is modern and airy. Plus, the service was quick and attentive. Can’t wait to go back!
What are they complaining about? – I really don't understand where the negative reviews are coming from; every restaurant has an off night and maybe that is what happened in these instances (although I think atlantagirl33 suffers from ageism, can't wait til she's in her 40s!; maybe she would be happier at Chuck E Cheese?) I have been a regular customer of this restaurant for 5 years and have always found the food to be excellent in quality and consistent. If you are unhappy with your food or drink, let your server know immediately and it will be corrected! But to say nothing then complain about it later is ridiculous - the owners and the staff of this restaurant are there to make sure you are happy and have a good experience. If you have a problem with your server, then you should speak up and tell the manager on duty. Personally, I love this restaurant, the food and the service! Everyone of us has had a bad or off day and when it happens, we all appreciate a little empathy and the chance to do it better next time. SOHO is a Vinings neighborhood favorite for almost 12 years - you don't get that distinction by serving bland food, with snooty service to old people!
Neighborhood Gem, A Bit Overpriced – I had expected a little better from this restaurant I have heard so much about. On the upside, the atmosphere is cozy and romantic. Although the tiny tables for two by the windows are a bit crowded and uncomfortable, the view of the square's Christmas tree and lights is really pretty at night during the holidays. We ordered two Flight Nights that each consisted of three champagnes and some scraps for cheese to start off. For $19 a person, it was so-so. On the downside, the food was not that spectacular. This is one of those places that you pay a lot of money for something that sounds great but taste is a different story. The calamari appetizer was good in its first few bites, but becomes very soggy as it is drenched in a super sweet sesame sauce. I got the lobster dish with black and white pasta. It was a little bland, the marinara on the pasta tasted like something you could cook up at home with a bottle of Ragu, but watered down a lot more, definitely not a $30+ dish. As for the filet mignon, it was cooked to the right temperature, however the horseradish mashed potatoes were lacking, very bland, with no flavor. For the price of the whole meal, we expected a lot more. Stop by SoHo if you are in the area and looking for some place to spend a lot.
Not as good as I hoped... – After reading reviews of SOHO and hearing recommendations from friends, I was excited to check this place out. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed. First, it seemed to cater to an older 45+ crowd. Even though my husband and I are in our 30's I felt the hostess (who was in her 40's) gave us a chilly reception when we entered the restaurant. We were seated right next to a loud table when there were several other tables available to give us a more romantic dinner experience. We ordered the tuna tar tar to start, which was very good, but the waitress seemed to be rushing us by asking for our dinner order several times before we were ready. Finally, when we did order, we were told that the kitchen was out of 3 menu items, 2 of which were ones we planned on ordering. We quickly had to decide on a different option, which was difficult because we don't eat a lot of pasta or red meat. I ended up going with the pasta dish, and it was very good, but I still was craving the Salmon dish I originally was hoping to order. All in all, I would not be going back.
Fabulous! – I ate at SOHO recently and it was great! Apparently, the original GM/owner is now running the place with his wife. I hadn't been back in a while, but what a difference! The decor has finally been updated and the food is right on point. The squash soup was silky and my date loved the fresh take on the traditional wedge of lettuce. The braised beef special was amazing as were the pan seared scallops with purple rice. We didn't think we had room for dessert, but our server suggested the creme brulee served in a small cup with a fresh cookie and it was just perfect. We will definitely be back more often!
Bland, Bland, Bland, Bland.... and more Bland. – First the good:
Soho has a nice atmosphere going on. It has a comfot to it and no kids in sight.
I LOVE that they have Boddingtons on tap. Although the other drink (a White Russian at our tables was seriously lacking Kahlua and had to be sent back)
The menu has plenty of choices for most every taste.
I rarely if ever have the need to salt / season my food at a restaurant. - until I arrived at Soho.
Egg Rolls for my partner and the Butternut Squash Soup with Mascarpone for me. BLAND! After adding about a half teaspoon or more of salt to my soup, it was tolerable and the flavor was starting to present itself. It tasted as if the soup was made with a water instead of chicken stock base. Not good at all.
The Egg Rolls were also- you guessed it BLAND! Also needed salt and pepper to season them properly. The wasabi sauce served was also BLAND! It was hot but flavorless.
The main course: I had the SeaBass. It was mediocre at best- of course salt had to be added. The fish was flavorless and poorly seasoned. The vegetables served with the fish were also overcooked and BLAND!
My partner ordered I believe the most expensive item on the menu- the Elk with raspberry and dijon sauce with sweet potato gratin.
The meat was acceptable, the sauce was- BLAND! how can you make a raspberry dijon sauce bland?? I am not certain but Soho was able to do it with flying colors.
Obviously we passed on dessert.
We might come back here for drinks but never to eat again...
Suggestion: Soho. Get a chef that knows how to season food properly. Until then, lower your prices to reflect the poor quality.
Good food, but lose the attitude – For the past year or so I've been visiting this restaurant a few times a month for weekend brunch, week day lunch and dinner, and Wed. Flight Night. Three things I've found consistent are good food, good wine, and inattentive or snooty service.
I stopped in for an early lunch today as a party of two. The hostess asked us if we had reservations and despite the fact that the restaurant was virtually empty and I'd never had to make reservations for lunch before, she paused appearing disgusted by our "no" and responded in a motherly tone "that's ok" as though she was doing us a favor by allowing us to take up one of the many empty tables. It would be nice if mgmt clued her in that a restaurant which allows a hostess to wear a tank top and have her red unmentionables hanging out of the top of her jeans for all to see, is not exactly a reservations only fine dining establishment.
When we were so graciously seated at a table, our waiter didn't offer any specials and though he passed our table half a dozen times during our meal, never once asked us how things were or if we needed anything. To complete our experience, he seemed annoyed that he had to deal with the check.
Flight Night service at the bar can also leave a little to be desired when it comes to attitude. It would be smart for them to realize that some of the patrons who would enjoy Flight Night might actually bring respectable wine knowledge with them. As "rare" as some of the offerings may be, it is very possible a customer has tasted a few before, if not even has a bottle of their own at home. Wine enthusiam and education is appreciated, but assuming the customer is a confused novice is not.
The food and wine selection keeps me coming back, but the service could use an overhaul and attitude adjustment, especially when there are so many alternatives within walking distance.
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