Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
The Marquis Steakhouse
Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel, Atlanta, GA
Review by SuSu, Diana, WithKing, MaceVindaloo, Ed, BunchBox, Chupathingy

Sometimes its worth skipping a meal or two so you have the money and tummy space to imbibe in something luxurious. Back in the day, roasted or seared beef was a common weekly or more often meal for Americans. But with the price of oil (thus grain) increasing, and health concerns with red meat, partaking in steak is indeed a cautious thing. To the point that it's utterly decadent!

We were all on vacation and we had all be working hard and long hours to afford the time off and money saved, and we were happy to spend it at a steakhouse. Now, we know all the cautions one hears about eating in a hotel restaurant, but that warning is really quite passé. At least in big cities, hotels compete with other eateries for the visitor's dollar, and have the added advantage of being billable to your room. Having a discerning clientele and perhaps less of a location cost to deal with, the food and pricing are often competitive.

We were struck with how polite and nice everyone at this restaurant was, even though some of us wore remnants of cosplay gear, or were hauling around bedraggled bags of sundry purchases. It was admittedly swankier than we expected, and it had the feel of a decades-old men's club, complete with wine cellar in the middle of the restaurant, which was beneath an inverted golden dome — a reflection of the fountain in the middle of the driveway in front of the hotel. The floors were cobbled like the rest of the lobby area, and large tables were nestled (for two) in the windows or alongside the periphery of the wine cooler. Larger groups of four or six were set inwards from the windows, and we saw that tables were carefully carried around and assembled for larger parties.

Everything was set with nice silver and crystal; an amuse-bouche came from the chef to start our meals. It was a smoked trout mousse set on a cucumber slice and garnished with dill snippets. It's a shame this wasn't offered on the menu; we would have likes a few more of these canapés. The wine list was not large, but decently representative, and wines were listed by grape varietal, rather than by location or some other system. A few of each type could be ordered by the glass, and bottle prices were very reasonable.

Like most steakhouses, the menu showed decent variety but was not extensive. They did not offer lobster, except as a bisque, or crab except as a crabcake. This being Georgia, they featured peaches a lot, including a hot pepper-peach sauce which was served with seafood like the aforementioned crabcakes or the fried calamari. The latter also came with a hoisin-based barbecue sauce and a tartar sauce, all of which were very good. We also tried the seared scallops and the goat-cheese stuffed morels, and they really were excellent. Not stellar, knock-me-out-of-my-seat type of show-off stuff, but very tasty and "luxurious." These appetizers were all a darn sight better than the shrimp cocktail of our grandparents' eras, too.

For the main course, we had choices of classically prepared fish, like mahimahi, or scrod, or salmon. We decided to have our seafood in the appetizer course, and some of us went for the meat that this place was named for. Some of us chose the "mixed grill" which is a lamb chop, pork tenderloin slices, and a beef fillet, all char-grilled and served with a veal stock-based sauce and a young carrot and a sprig of broccoli. Others went for a beefsteak, and for that we selected a 16 oz delmonico, which is a rib-eye steak. The meat was tender, and you could order the beef as "black and blue," though here, they call it "Pittsburgh." We don't know why, and neither did the waiter, but that's what one of us ordered our delmonico. Unfortunately, it came out as medium. When it was pointed out, the waiter did not challenge us or deny it. He readily agreed and whisked the plate away, then came back to apologize that a new steak was being prepared, and it would take a few minutes. We were busy passing our food back and forth to each other, so the delay was not really a big deal, and we enjoyed discussing the food (Hutties are nominally foodies by default, of course).

There were some pasta choices among us to help ease the delay, including a farfalle with roasted duck breast, and a linguini with a cream sauce and grilled shrimp, scallops and tomatoes. The food was really delicious, cooked properly, and served hot.

But for some of us, the real star of the meal were some of the side dishes, especially for those among us who were not meat-crazy. The creamed spinach and sautéed mixed mushrooms, classical steakhouse dishes, were really heavenly. The portions are ordered and priced separately, and they are big enough to share around the table. Also noteworthy was the stuffed baked potato, but we weren't impressed with the "truffle-scented potato soufflé" which was dry and didn't smell or taste of truffles at all. In fact, one person made a substantial meal out of the mushrooms, spinach, and potato.

And though we were so full that we were lowing like the cattle we'd just consumed, we had to try dessert, even it was only two of them to share among us. We tried the chocolate marquis, as it was the namesake of the hotel and the restaurant, and the peach cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream, being that we were nearing the end of peach season in Georgia. Both were served prettily and though small in portion than the steaks and sides, a spoonful of each was enough for us after the big, rich meal. We also ordered coffee, which came as a French press brew. It was very good, too.

On the way out, there is a bowl of what looks to one of us like individually wrapped butter chips, but they were chocolates, and they were tasty. Instead of ordering a turn-down service at the hotel, we took a few of these and put them on our pillows before going out to enjoy more Con goings ons for the evening. We were very well fed, and thus felt no need to drink or snack. A good thing in a party atmosphere!
The bill came out to about $100 per person, including taxes and gratuity. It was worth it as a one-time thing, and they did handle the overcooked steak in a good way. When it was brought back out, it was "Pittsburgh" as desired by the diner. The meat was flavorful and really tender, not at all greasy or fatty (rare for a delmonico!), and the sides complemented the dish, as did the garnish of yellow or orange carrot, etc. The service was not overbearing, and they all behaved grateful and gracious for our patronage — a rarity in less rarified atmospheres. We'd do this again, but we'll budget money and stomach space again.

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