Restaurant Decon Atlas Shucked

By MARTHA THOMAS



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Loch Bar oysters by the ocean.

 

The Atlas Restaurant Group—they brought us Greek-inspired Ouzo Bay and the elegant Japanese Azumi—has claimed the former Lamill space on the ground floor of the Four Seasons in Harbor East as Loch Bar, a traditional seafood house. The 80-seat restaurant, with its 30-foot bar and 10-foot raw bar, has seating for more than 100 on the terrace overlooking the harbor. Loch Bar books music Wednesday through Saturday nights, with small ensembles stationed in front of a small fire- place surrounded by distressed mirrors.

Location. Atlas partner-owner Alex Smith, a member of the Paterakis family, which owns much of the neighborhood’s real estate, is proud of the actualization of Harbor East. “This is part of the revival of the city: people spending money and developing ideas,” he says. Smith likes to point to Kevin Plank’s Port Covington project. “It shows that young entrepreneurs are willing to invest back into the city.”

Decor. Patrick Sutton’s interior design  creates a Gilded Age oyster bar feel, with glistening white subway tiles, a long, marble-topped bar and bare light bulbs suspended from knotted cords above tables. Globe lights reminiscent of old gas streetlamps harken back to the days when industrialists tucked into oysters by the bushel. Seating is cushy, with leather banquettes by Joseph Ibello and wide upholstered chairs along the bar.

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The 30-foot bar has a frozen rail to keep drinks cold.
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Chef Matt Oetting.
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Co-owner and beverage director Eric Smith.
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Patrick Sutton’s decor includes dozens of lightbulbs and above tufted leather booths.
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A sweet Smith Island cake.
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Food. Matt Oetting, the Atlas Group corporate chef, opened the place with a seafood-dense menu, supplemented by a smattering of eclectic dishes like crispy duck banh mi and charcuterie. The Royal Shellfish Tower, at $125, is a heaping display of shellfish, shrimp, scallop carpaccio and Bigeye tuna poke, crowned by a lobster and king crab.

Drink. Smith’s brother and Loch Bar co-owner, Eric, who had been tending bar at Ouzo Bay, has stepped in as beverage director. Loch Bar boasts 350 kinds of whiskey—likely the largest collection in the region—according to Smith. The 12 taps are dedicated to local beers, including the new Atlas brew commissioned from Heavy Seas. The bar also offers about a dozen types of vodka, as well as Champagne, paired with caviar flown in from Russia. A “frost rail” is filled with a block of ice, so patrons can keep their drinks chilled.

Dessert. Akis Anagnostou, the restaurant group’s pastry chef, is making 10-layer Smith Island cake, a gooey skillet chocolate chip cookie and boozy shakes like the Loch Bar root beer float.

Verdict. The Atlas Group has wowed with its authentic Greek and Japanese restaurants. Now the company is going local, offering an old-school oyster house with fine-dining cred.

 

Caption#1: Loch Bar oysters by the dozen

 

Caption#2: Clockwise from far left: The 30-foot bar has a frozen rail to keep drinks cold; a sweet Smith Island cake; co-owner and beverage director Eric Smith; Patrick Sutton’s decor includes dozens of lightbulbs above tufted leather booths; chef Matt Oetting.

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