Last month I got the opportunity to fulfill a bucket list item: going to Augusta National Golf Club to watch the Masters live. It was a beautiful day and one I will cherish forever (thanks partially to the over 1000 pictures we took while there). This was my first time in Georgia so obviously I had great plans food wise for the time I would be there…. however due to certain circumstances, we were only there for 3 days including travel days so that pretty much left me with one dinner to work with. Looking for sometime in and around Augusta itself, I discovered a quirky place right off Augusta’s main strip that had some good buzz – The Bee’s Knees.
Labelling itself as a Tapas restaurant and lounge, The Bee’s Knees definitely has an eclectic feel to it. The building itself reminds you of a old store from the 50s with the recessed door entrance, tile walkway and windowed facade which has gone unchanged despite this now being a restaurant. Inside, the space is brick walls, funky artwork, concert posters, christmas lights and great alternative music. While the crowd at that moment was older due to the golf tournament, the vibe really catered more to my generation and I loved it.
Sitting outside on their terrace, we were presented the menu by our waitress and offered some drinks. I selected the Ginger Old Fashioned – Johnny Drum bourbon, sugar cube, cherry bitters, fresh ginger, cherries and an orange. A nice play on a typical Old Fashioned – the addition of ginger worked surprisingly well.
Food-wise, The Bee’s Knees goes for a global cuisine approach to tapas. For starters, we went for tequila-lime guacamole with fresh-fried tortilla chips, the house salad and the hand cut red potato fries with 2 of their sauces (dill feta and spicy aioli). The guacamole was of the thicker persuasion – the avocado not being pureed completely. The tortilla chips thankfully were thick enough to not break when scooping up the dip and the tequila addition came through just enough to add some punch. The house salad was okay – a good combination of fresh vegetables and a little light dressing – like most house salads. The fries were delicious – thick cut as I like them but with a good crunch to them. The 2 sauces were a good contrast – the spicy aioli provided some kick (likely from siracha) and the dill feta dulled that down.
Coming to the mains now, the first one was from their usual tapas menu – sesame salmon tartare with a sesame-soy sauce, sticky rice & a fried wonton. Very flavourful fish although the sauce completely overpowered the salmon itself. The sticky rice was perfect and the wonton provided a nice vessel to combine the rice and the fish.
The next dish was their market fish of the day – wild stripped bass with white wine rosemary cream sauce, garlic mash, roasted beets and lemon arugula. Just a knockout of a dish – well executed and great depth of flavours. The fresh bass was cooked beautifully and paired nicely with the creaminess of both the sauce and the mash. The rosemary cream sauce had great notes of rosemary and white wine without overpowering the natural flavours of the bass. The rest of the dish mixed nicely and brought some other elements to the plate – citrus and pepper from the lemon arugula and some earthiness from the beets. Wonderful all around.
The final main was their daily bird – chicken and waffles with yeast gravy and maple syrup. I wasn’t planning on eating this here but when I saw it was the special, I had no choice. I wasn’t going to come down to the South without trying some fried chicken and waffles somewhere! The fried chicken was on point – cripsy yet moist. The waffle was the right mix of crunch and fluffy and thankfully they had actual maple syrup….
Finally for dessert, i had their creme brûlée. Nice and sweet, it was very well executed but somewhat unremarkable.
A solid 2 hours on a terrace in April… I really couldn’t asked for more from my one real dinner in Georgia. Loved the food and the overall vibe. I could definitely see myself spending time there during their bar hours if I were a resident of Augusta. It also helped that the service was solid and quite friendly. It always impresses me how friendly and chatty American waiters and waitresses are. They genuinely want to converse with you – especially if they hear you speak French apparently! (Note to the friendly waitress whose name I have sadly forgotten since I waited too long to write this: Trust us, if you want to practice your French more, come to Montreal first before you visit France – it will be cheaper, lots of fun and an easier transition towards your desired trip to France. You won’t regret it!) Service like what we got is what makes people come back to a restaurant on top of great food. Should I get tickets to the Masters again, I will definitely spot by again!
The Bee’s Knees
211 10th St
706 828 3600