You might see the cast of some currently filming Netflix series parade into the discreet back corners of the Americano, the InterContinental Buckhead’s Italian steakhouse concept by celebrity chef Scott Conant. Celebrities and star chef aside, Americano is a venue that can be enjoyed by anyone in search of a lowkey setting to enjoy a quiet, quality meal.
We don’t fault them. With a dark, sleek decor, big artsy photos, and a spacious interior that offers ample room between tables, Americano feels like the place to divulge covert intel over martinis and better-than-average steaks or to share juicy office drama over wine and housemade pasta dishes like rigatoni with marinara.
Minimalist sophistication might be the theme here, from the design aesthetic to food preparation and presentation, but the standout creamy polenta with mushroom au jus is a must-order at the venue and is best enjoyed when you’re not worried about paparazzi waiting to catch you with a messy, soupy spoonful of polenta dripping down your chin. We won’t judge you when you lick the bowl clean because it’s just that good. The cocktail menu ventures down a more playful path. If you really are trading secrets with your sleeper cell, pick carefully, since many of the drinks come to your table with some sort of smoky or spritzy show—cover blown.
If you are looking for more of a social scene, the Americano Bar, near the restaurant’s entrance, delivers. Business pros, hotel guests, and an assortment of Buckhead cliches usually gather around to discuss whatever’s making news on the the bar screens. If you find yourself getting a little tipsy, use the moment to present a counter-argument as to why Lady Gaga is the real reason the Falcons blew their lead in 2017, an evergreen discussion.
Whatever you’re looking for, Americano gives you the option to choose your scenario: i.e. extroverted hotel lobby bar-goer or introverted secret agent. But just remember if you aren’t dining alone, maintain some grace when eating the polenta. You don’t need witnesses.
Be warned to guard your emotions when the bartender slips you a cocktail napkin with a number on it. It’s all part of the shtick when you order the Drunken Wifey cocktail, which pairs the sweetness of housemade limoncello with Milagro tequila.
Let’s acknowledge the polenta and grits similarities then quickly steer away before things get too messy. On its own, this creamy, cheesy dish is like a spoonful of comfort, then the savory mushroom au jus adds more depth that makes you yearn for a weighted blanket in your booth since you’ve found your happy place.
Pasta Al Pomodoro
Though Italian steakhouse is the theme, you’d be negligent to bypass the housemade pasta. Order the Pasta Al Pomodoro as a main course or shareable side; its simplicity allows all the freshness of tomatoes and herbs to shine.
Macaroni Tre Formaggi
We give the Macaroni Tre Formaggi immediate entry into our best mac and cheese bracket. Individually baked, with three cheeses, and topped with crispy bread crumbs, the noodles are a silky-yet-firm doneness.
“King crab in pasta with calabrian chili” sounds like a line Julie Andrews omitted last-minute from “My Favorite Things.” With all those favorite ingredients combined, this should be a winning dish, but the flavors don’t shine like they should. The crab, butter, and chili flavors disappear behind a mountain of bland pasta.
The steak arrives at your table on a big wooden cutting board, accessorized with a big bundle of fresh rosemary and paired with your choice of sides and sauces. It’s another simple preparation, but perfectly blackened on the outside and done to your preference. They do you the favor of pre-slicing off the bone into a few thick chucks but still give you the bone to gnaw on or take home.