I was interested in going out for dinner and live music. I called my friend Kim who I knew would be down. As we were thinking about where to go I casually mentioned Dante’s. She was excited about it and said it was a place that she always wanted to try. Dante’s it is!
I had been there once before more than 10 years ago although it might have even been as far back as the 90’s. At that time I thought it was just ok. I don’t remember anything about live music. I remembered the fondue and I wasn’t a big fan of that just because I just don’t find that style of eating interesting or satisfying. However, I am one to give things a second try. I didn’t mention any of this to Kim because I didn’t want to taint her experience.
The food. Well, this second visit to Dante confirmed that I’m just not into fondue-ing. Kim does not eat meat outside of fish. There were few options for those in her condition. Chuckle. The theme of Dante’s is that of an 18th century ship tied to the wharf of a Mediterranean village. If that were really true, then shouldn’t there be some fish around somewhere? Kim ordered the Imported Cheese Fondue. Per Kim, the cheese fondue was amazing but other than that the vegetables for dipping and the bread were just ok. I ordered the Chinese dumplings which were decent in taste and in texture. I did not fondue them as they came with a sauce for dipping. I dipped a few pieces of bread in Kim’s cheese fondue and I agree that the cheese was very good. I will say that if bread croutons are provided as part of the fondue experience that the bread should be high quality and unique. This bread was neither. It was rather generic and didn’t seem very fresh. In terms of eating, Dante’s is mostly geared for fondue- eating carnivores.
The Jazz. I made reservations ahead of time to make sure that we would be seated by the jazz trio. This also means a $9 cover charge. I have no problems with that at all because musicians gotta get paid… right? Live music is available every night of the week. Monday’s there is an acoustic guitar and vocalist. The remaining 6 days are reserved for jazz which Dante’s has been doing for 33 years. On Fridays and Saturdays, the jazz trio plays until midnight. The John Robertson Trio was there when I visited last Saturday night. The trio included John Robertson on piano who is also a vocalist, a string bass, drums and a female vocalist. There was also a 13 year old guest artist playing alto saxophone and he did not sound like a 13 year old playing alto sax. His last name was also Robertson so I’m assuming it could be the son or a relative. It was so nice watching this young man, dressed up and fitting right in with these professional musicians. In fact, if I was just listening to the music and not seeing the kid, I probably would have thought it was another adult playing. He seemed so talented, earnest and unaffected. That was very refreshing to see. We had a blast! It was more of a casual and cool kind of blast. I really enjoyed the music. The style of jazz is kind of like a modern take on Ella Fitzgerald or Joe Williams. I’m not a jazz aficionado but that was my impression.
Other observations. The restaurant is huge and has many levels to it. You can hear the music from anywhere in the club. We were sitting one floor above the jazz trio and were able to look down and watch them play. We were initially seated at a tiny little awkward table. After I realized that this just wasn’t going to do I asked that we be moved. Our server happily and graciously moved us to a much better spot. The service was good.
The club is located off of Peachtree Street in the affluent Buckhead area amidst high rises. The restaurant and parking lot were full when we arrived around 8 pm. The entrance to the club is entered through the back of the club. There are these antique cars along the back and the side entrance to restaurant as if we were entering into an antique car museum. I wondered what in the world that had to do with an 18th century ship or the Mediterranean.
We were dressed nicely as if we were going out to a classy jazz club. Although I saw signage about appropriate dress required, I saw a few jeans and a flannel shirt or two. However, we supposedly are on a ship tied to a wharf bereft of fish so that would not signal to most people that they should look nice.
I would definitely go back to Dante’s. I would pay the cover charge to be near the musicians. I would look nice and go with a friend who would do likewise. I would have dinner at home or elsewhere first. I would order dessert and coffee. Then, I would sit back and enjoy myself.